Monday 15 October 2012

The Elephant's Ear

We took some good friends who were new to Africa on their first camping safari to an area in the Eastern Cape, South Africa called Addo National Park. It is home to some two hundred elephants who roam totally free to breed and live as families - which is something they are so amazing at that we could all learn a lesson or two from! 

The guy, John, I have known all of my adult life and he is a born comedian - never serious. The Lady was, shall we say not at home in the wild, and in fact had not experienced nature any closer than the National Geographic channel.

Deciding between us that elephants are a safe option for their first venture into the wild (well, everything is relevant) off we go. We spend the day driving around the park and observing the elephants from a safe distance, watching them help each other out, and the hierarchal respect that they have for each other.

Now it is time to 'make camp' and supper. We pitch a tent for ourselves and sacrifice the security of camping on top of our vehicle to our increasingly anxious friends. Nothing I feel that a good meal and a few drinks won’t sort out!

Now in Africa there is no gradual descent into the night. The sun goes down and it is a black out but the sounds, oh the sounds, are magnified a thousand fold! The monkeys laughing, elephants trumpeting and all manner of nocturnal wild party life.

Supper over and after a great deal of leg pulling and lots of laughter we retire. We settle our friends in their double bed on top of the Land Rover and climb into our very small one man tent on the ground. We snuggle up and look forward to a much needed good night’s sleep, we hope.

At first we were laughing at the noise which had started in the ‘luxury accommodation’ on top of the Land Rover but soon realize that in spite of the laughter there was a potential war going on next door. We could over hear: 
"You go!" 
"No you go!” 
Do you think I am mad?” 

The voices were becoming louder and louder. 

"What kind of a man are you?" 
"A very scared one! - What kind of a wife are you, you want me to get killed?"

Realizing that this was getting past a joke Marcus was elected (there is no democracy in these situations) to go sort them and the problem out. He tactfully asked 
"What seems to be the problem?" 
"There’s a bloody elephant outside the tent is the problem and this clown won’t do anything!"
"Too right!! says poor John who is now having his macho manhood slanted. 
"I didn't see any elephant" says Marcus. 
"Well it’s just here I can even feel its ear against the tent!!

After a quick scout around Marcus finds one of the flaps to the tent untied and flapping against the side of the vehicle! 

With the marriage saved we all settle back down again but still no sleep for us that night as we could hear them laughing and squealing till the early hours. 

As daylight broke the monkeys awoke and were checking out last night’s barbecue and throwing pots and pans around. Once more there were hysterical screams from our guests! 

We packed up and went to a restaurant for breakfast for the sake of all concerned. Driving along in silence our guests who must have been totally mentally and physically exhausted exclaim “Well that was fun wasn’t it?”. 

It was fun and a memory they will never forget and memories are the sum total of your life in the end?

Linda xx

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  1. I love your stories. Please keep them coming...

    1. Thank you Lucretia,
      I have many such stories and will write another soon.
      My children say I should write a book.
      Maybe these stories one day will be!
      Thanks again for the feed back.