Our bodies may have been back in the USA for a week and a half now, but my mind is still basking in the afterglow of Africa.
Full disclosure–although the trip was amazing, magnificent, exciting, it was definitely not for the faint of heart, or the stiff of joints.
We didn’t get much exercise, because we spent most of our days riding around in jeeps, but climbing into that last row required some agility. The steps up were pretty high!
The roads provided what our guides called “the African Massage”. Ruts and holes in the road? No problem. Just grab a bunch of rocks, throw them into the holes and you are good to go!
For those that saw the movie Urban Cowboy, oh so many years ago, imagine riding the mechanical bull at Gilly’s and you’ll have a good idea of what traveling in the jeep was like.
We had some experiences that, depending on your point of view, could be called mishaps or adventures. We decided to go with adventures.
At Karongwe, our first camp, we had been chasing a leopard off road, through fields of acacia trees and thorn bushes when our guide got a radio message telling him “nagalas are in the area”. At least that’s what it sounded like to me. Immediately we were in hot pursuit of this mysterious animal. Although I questioned him, Setepi wouldn’t tell me a nagala was his language’s word for lion, because he was afraid the lions might leave before we got there, and we’d be disappointed. No worries. There were SEVEN nagalas, feasting on a kill.
Our wild leopard chase resulted in a slow leak that turned into a flat, right by the lions. If we had gotten out of the jeep, the lions might have attacked, so there we sat while Setepi and Sondi changed the tire. Another jeep pulled between them and the lions, blocking the lions’ view of the activity, just in case they decided to look up from their kill.
One of the group wondered what might happen if you got more than one flat tire while out in the bush. We soon found out, because our leopard chase resulted in not one, not two, but THREE punctures. Fortunately we had a resourceful guide, who used radio and good ol’ foot-power to borrow spares from other jeeps.
Our second camp was in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Once again, we were lucky enough to encounter lions. Because this is a national park, we weren’t able to go off road, so couldn’t get quite as close as we did in Karongwe, which was a South African private reserve. Still, we were able to get some good shots. But just because we didn’t go tearing off road didn’t mean that we were adventure-free.
Although we were mired down, the bigger problem was that the shift was stuck, so we had to wait for help to arrive from camp, over an hour away.
It was a beautiful day, we had sufficient water, the company was great, so it was not tough to take.
Of course, before we got to him, we had to experience the “curse of the lions. Yep, another jeep adventure.
Mike tried to problem solve, but ultimately a tow from another jeep was needed to get us out of the sand.My grandmother was right: “things come in threes”, and in Africa, they did. No more lion curse, no more adventure/mishaps with our vehicles after this third incident.
And now, in Grammy’s honor, I figure we should have a THIRD, and final Africa quiz. You ready?
2. What about this?
3. What are these objects, and why are they grouped together?
4. Four South Africans received the Nobel Peace Prize. Who were they?
5. A famous South African founded De Beers diamonds, had a country named after him, left a ton of money for charitable endeavors when he died at an early age. Who was he?
Answers by Friday. Have fun!