Amusing Close Encounters on African Safaris

Africa

Amusing Close Encounters on African Safaris

Having travelled to many places in my travel career, the law of averages says that this would produce interesting, unusual, and amusing incidents. Two that stand out in my mind involve being on safari in Africa. 

Tanzania is one of the best countries to enjoy the real safari experience as it is teeming with every kind of wildlife imaginable. I recall the day a small group of us were travelling across the plains of Serengeti National Park in our safari vehicle. It happened to be the wet season. All of a sudden, our vehicle got stuck in mud. The driver/guide asked the men in the group if they wouldn’t mind getting out and pushing the vehicle out of the mud. We looked out across the plain and observed a pride of lions in the distance. We naturally were not inclined to do this. The driver/guide raised an eyebrow and said OK, we had a choice. Stay here all night or get out and push. We opted to push, but all the time with both eyes on the lions. Inspired by the need to be speedy, the vehicle was out of the mud very quickly with no approach from the lions.

Leopard Hills Open Air Verandah, Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Open-air verandah at Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve.

The other incident happened in Kruger Park in South Africa. I was staying at the Leopard Hills private camp with accommodation in a cabin about 100 metres from the main building of the camp. I got up one morning and was ready to set off for breakfast. I opened the door of my cabin and found myself about six inches away from a huge elephant looking right at me. My reaction to this was to slam the door shut. I then had a problem. How do I get to breakfast? 

I decided to call the camp front desk and explain my dilemma. “No problem,” they said. “Sit tight and we will send someone to get rid of the elephant.” I wondered how they would do this. Well, I observed someone from my window standing about 30 metres away from the animal and waving their arms like a helicopter propeller. In time, my friendly elephant slowly turned around and ambled off. I waited a while and then ventured out. I thanked my rescuer who simply said, “All in a day’s work, mate!”