I am just back from a two-week safari (Swahili for “trip”) to South Africa. What can I say? It was impressive and I learned a lot.
Yesterday I pulled aside the curtain of jetlag and looked at my pictures. Animals in Kruger National Park, flora and scenery in Cape Town, and the craggy southern tip of Africa that forms a dramatic end to the continent. Here are a few.
I know there is something déjà-vu about all this. You’ve seen it on nature programs and in National Geographic–there is even a yellow National Geographic metal rectangle framing Cape Town’s Table Mountain so you can pose in your own National Geographic cover.
The pictures help me remember the experience. Being stared at by teenage giraffes; waiting for hippos to surface; watching the elephant family parades, the herds and herds of impalas, the mamas and babies of all species; and driving for hours through the majestic vastness of the habitat dedicated to these glorious animals–all of this was awesome. Impressive. An incredible privilege. This is me posing at the legendary Cape of Good Hope, rounded first by Vasco da Gama at the end of the 15th century.
Pictures can only show what you see, not what you experience, unless you are a really talented photographer (which I am not) or the pictures tell a story.
Here are two story pictures. They are of bull elephants in musk. The first one is striding purposefully down the road, oblivious to the cars or maybe defying them. He is peeing constantly, like the elephant in the second picture is doing. Both of them are emitting a strong odor, like a whole zoo full of animals. (We saw many elephants up close and only these two stank.) Our guide told us these were dangerous elephants. You don’t want to be facing these critters, who are out looking for mates. In the first picture we were parked next to a T-road so we could make a quick escape if the elephant took a notion to charge.
But most of what I learned on this trip had little to do with animals or even South Africa. It had to do with disability travel. More about that in another post.