Only in Africa

27 Nov

During the retreat in Worcester we had a visitor: Letaba. Letaba lives at neighbouring Fairy Glen, a Big-5 private game reserve. Big-5 in the Southern African game parks context refers to buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros.

Letaba either likes the trees near the men’s quarters or he came to meditate. The Fairy Glen people finally managed to herd him back to the reserve.

At night you could hear the lions roar but we saw no other Big-5, though we did see a large tortoise wandering through the facilities, much like the one in the picture that follows.

And a chappie like this one, a Red Grasshopper, buzzed around a lot – what stunning colours!

Of course, everyone who comes to Southern African game reserves wants to see the Big 5, but to give some of the other animals some of the ra-ra, some clever peeps came up with the Little 5: buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhinoceros beetle. And as further proof of incongruous South African humour, there’s a company offering DiveThe5, though their love of sharks prohibits them actually limiting it to 5: Whale sharks, Great Whites, Sand Tigers (affectionately known as Raggies), Zambezi’s, Hammerheads and a couple more. And even DriveTheBig5 – by which I thought they meant Minibus Taxis, Gameview vehicles, Landrovers, Bakkies (pickups) and maybe a Vespa?

To be fair, our elephant experience might be feasible at some of the Meditation Centres in India; perchance to meet an Indian elephant? But back to our Only-in-Africa note: Our friends Maryatta and Kai, having emigrated from Dortmund, Germany, to live in Zeekoevlei, Cape Town, were recently enthralled by a leaflet in their post box extolling appropriate behaviour for encountering hippos. Living on a vlei (a low-lying, marshy area, a wetland) and next door to nature reserves such as Rondevlei (see a good aerial shot here) does make for sharing the habitat with hippopotamuses and necessitates educating the public on good neighbourliness with them.

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