Lounging on the elevated veranda at the Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge, I survey a muddy waterhole and reflect on today’s highly successful dawn game drive.

Lounging on the elevated veranda at the Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge, I survey a muddy waterhole and reflect on today’s highly successful dawn game drive.

We sighted all of the big five: leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

I vividly recall the massive herd of elephants we watched at sundown at the Tlou Dam. One of the smaller baby elephants stumbling headlong into the water only to be life-saved by two mums, desperate to help, who combined their efforts of pulling and heaving to lift the youngster out of danger with their powerful and flexible trunks - a living lifeline to safety.

The sweet young zebra we saw only hours before, with a broken left leg, a death sentence in the cruel bush, was nevertheless protectively surrounded and supported by its powerful herd, whose eyes clearly showed they were less eager than me to see a lion.

The 100-strong troop of baboons I watched visiting the watering hole, only a cricket-pitch distance away, were pushing and shoving, holding and encouraging, helping and supporting their young to climb trees, as part of their lookout duty training.

The weakest to the wall? The law of the jungle? There was more cruelty and inhumanity on show in Mrs Huhne’s courtroom performance, Blackburn Rovers’ recent visit to Arsenal and ‘brother Cable’s’ threat to tax our humble mansions.

There have been no drone strikes, nuclear or chemical attacks by the jungle creatures of South Africa in an unseemly oil or land grab. These animals kill to eat - to stay alive.

Maybe I have been in the sun too long without the knotted Hermès handkerchief. Perhaps it is my age. Or could I have glimpsed the illuminating truth that life’s purpose could possibly be more than growing profits, sustaining stock turn and accurately labelling burgers?

As my column is published in this fine journal, naturally I seek to illustrate some read-across from the wilderness to benefit us in our retail jungle adventures - to discover what we can learn from those hairy anthropoids, big thick-skinned mammals with long proboscises and beautiful Bambi lookalikes to enhance our own lives, families and businesses.

Perhaps getting up early and staying sharp and alert, as if your life depended on it, might be a good start. And what about caring and teamwork? For sure, many of those alert, early-rising wild animals work together socially in groups, and they look out for each other, often literally.

They help and support their young and care for their aged, look after their infirm and less able, teach them and lead by example. I am not sure we look out for each other anymore, or for our customers enough, or for the companies we work with and for.

The recent past performance at Mid Staffs NHS casts some doubt on our will and ability to look after our infirm, while proposing to give our young the vote in Scotland at sweet 16 is no kindness to anyone.

Education and training in our schools, universities, corporations and homes does not overly impress me and most business people ‘bottle out’ or fail miserably on the ‘lead by example’ concept.

On the plus side, I know of no retail chief executives who greedily devour their young or defecate on the doorstep of head office. So maybe there is still hope for us after all.