An African Safari. October 2012

So the day had come to experience wild Africa. My fascination with Africa revolves around the people, the culture, the food, the traditions, the architecture, the history and the idea of stalking animals is way down on my list. I’ve went on safari drives in Europe where you drive around a park and animals come and wreck the car windscreen wipers. I’ve saw an elephant before, and zebras too. So what motivates people to fly to Africa and then go camping for days on end hoping to see an elephant? Couldn’t you just go to a zoo in your local town? Call me mad but I just don’t get it.

 My best safari photo, the summit of Kilimanjaro is in the background.

I sat up for nights on end watching Animal Planet, forcing myself to feel some sort of addiction to animals in the wild but it never happened. There was no click.

The morning of the safari was a disaster. We had to wake up at 3.30am as our driver was picking us up at 5.30am. The bizarre thing about our hotel was that you have electricity during the day but as soon as night falls bam! electricity blackout. Optimistically I tried the light switch at 3.30am but there was nothing. I stumbled around in the dark. When there is no electricty there is no hot water. Amazingly I managed to get dressed, packed luggage and even put a bit of makeup on. Anxiously I checked myself in the mirror at dawn and I looked just fine.

safari boyThe son of our Safari driver

We drove for hours. Our driver couldn’t find petrol. He told us the gas stations have fuel but they don’t sell it. A shortage of fuel means the government can charge more. It seemed ironic. I thought governments want their countries to be economically successful, the more fuel you sell the more tax you can deduct…but not in Kenya.  Comparing Kenya to Tanzania there are alot more modern looking buildings in Kenya and the people seem amazingly streetwise but Kenya seems alot rougher too. Tanzania is more rural and the people far gentler.

So the safari. There was a rush of excitement seeing the first elephant, a lesser rush of excitement seeing the second then repeat unil you can’t be bothered looking at elephants anymore. The zebras were…well zebras. The giraffes were something else though. Majestic, different. The most bizarre thing on the road was seeing an ugly black European crow in a cage at the side of a village road. I wonder if they think our boring birds are exotic while we find their giraffes awe inspiring. The grass is always greener.

That was that. The safari, animals walking around while eating grass or bathing in mud pools. I’m glad I can say I went on safari. Between elephants in fields or monkeys and exotic birds in rainforests i’d chose the rainforests anyday.

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