The Time We Shook Hands with the Elephants

And now as I promised, I want to tell you about the safari I took together with two of my grandchildren’s  in South Africa – a wondrous adventure that happened five  years ago.

Luck had it that a gregarious, gifted and warm industrialist named Tim Driman with his lovely caring wife Yvonne living  in South Africa – both now dear close friends – invited us to be their guests, myself, and grandchildren Igor and Zoe . It was for two weeks to go on a safari in his private jungle of nine hundred thousand acres named Zuka.  So, we traveled from – Raleigh, NC, south by south east for 12,000 miles by plane for 22 hours!  It felt like a life time . 

Africa is actually the same size  as the moon!!  Tim called his enormous reserve, “His Bush.“  It was actually an immense expanse of Savannah made up of rollings meadows, thickets of acacia and other thorny bushes and small creeks.  The landscape had a strange beauty to it.  In it there lived free and roaming, everybody who was somebody in the animal kingdom – sharing, contributing and being contributed.  There were no cows, ducks or sheep there. Enormous elephants walking slowly together with dignity in groups that followed their leader; an aging matriarch dropping a tree down, here and there to munch for their snack as they went along.  Laughing hyenas full of a readiness to fight, prides of lions lurking in the tall grass, troupes of cunning, curious and conniving baboons munching anything, a berry here and small deer further down. There were immense herds of forever watchful Elands – a kind of deer with enormous curved horns and ears shaped like horns that scanned the sounds on the alert to run, after all, they were the main staple for all predators. Thousands zebras that looked like lovely striped ponies along with wildebeest – a kind of strange, ugly animal with a body of a horse with high front legs and a head of a buffalo with rounded horns, thundering as they ran.  Ourselves, we  perched in a special vehicle right next to them taking all in, in wonder and awe, Igor and Zoe sat silently with astonishment on their faces.  The tall giraffes towered over us as they used their long necks to eat from the top of the trees.  The Rhinos ready to charge at anything and anybody.  The hippos opened their enormous mouths menacingly, while a lonely leopard sat secure on a tree branch waiting for the opportunity to bounce.  There were warthogs – a nightmare pig aggressive and knowing with enormous curved husks.  At night we eat “monkey ” meat actually lamb around the fire listening to the sounds – endless dialogues of the animals talking to each other throughout the night while birds singing without of the world sound were keeping the hours.  

On our long return trip home – grateful to the Drimans and forever friends – we endlessly talked about what we had witnessed.  I talked to my grandchildren about biodiversity and what the word  meant.  And this will be the subject of my next write up .

Oh! And another thing.  Tim Driman is an award winning photographer as well.  Google his blog.  There all there and then some :www.timdrimanphotography.co.za

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