Another frequently asked question……… what was the hairiest thing you experienced?
A couple of things come to mind (including some clients) but as a situation I remember a walk I once did in the Selous.
This was in my early days as a walking guide. I had not much experience…….
I was working for a camp where a lot of clients would come as a two-night-excursion from Zanzibar. I think they had no idea where Zanzibar was and when they found out it was actually close to the African Mainland they said: “waddaya think love? Why don’t we quickly do this bush thing and look at some tigers?” This all being uttered over a grappa in a southern European language.
So….. here I am….. It is the evening before and I did the whole spiel about sensible shoes, sturdy clothing, subdued colours, sunblock, blah,blah,blah……….
However…….. that morning my eyebrows shot up so high they almost covered my bald spot!
She was wearing thin, white cotton trousers, a boob-tube and an ankle-length, bright pink, see-through frock to finish off this ensemble……oh, and platforms. I’m not going to elaborate on what the others were wearing but suffice to say they all would fit in well at Cirque du Soleil
Now, at the camp we did not have a license to carry a gun (yet) so we had to rely on a park ranger in the rear with a Kalashnikov which maybe could hurt an Impala and that’s about it. To give the whole thing a bit couleur locale we would be escorted by two Maasai. Anyway, I went through the pre-walk speech about the importance of silence, walking in single file and “WHAT-EVER-HAPPENS: DO-NOT-RUN!!”.
I had to adjust my route a bit because many of the garments would not be able to cope with the hooks of some acacias but we did well. I gave up hope of approaching anything worth approaching because every animal could see us from miles away. And hear us….. At the duty-free one of the husbands must have bought a video-camera and every time he wanted to film something the camera would request, in French, to set date and time, merçi beaucoup!
As we proceeded we saw an elephant a good 60 meters away, the wind was right, safe distance in most occasions but for some reason the ellie bull saw us (wonder why), turned and attacked!! It was upon us in the swift almost gliding motion that ellies use.
Now, I read somewhere that in cases like this you should pick up sand, jump and clap your hands above your head while releasing the sand (this would make you look bigger), shout your lungs out and hold your ground. And with the determination to stand between my clients and this monster (and the fact that I was empty handed), I did……. and behold the big grey beast stoppetht!!
Only four meters separated us.
I was still shouting and throwing dust at the bull and after a mighty headshake the bull turned and, probably totally confused, moved away.
Man…. I felt proud….. ,it worked!!!
And with my hands at my sides, a proud smile on my face and slightly shaking I turned around just to find that I was totally alone!!!!!
No colour to be seen anywhere…..
I had to follow the platform prints all the way back to camp.