On Sunday night, we booked a night tracking tour seeking big game.
Big Game are wild elephant, lions, leopards, rhinosaurus, cape buffalo.
The phrase was coined by white hunters and describes the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot.
Well, the night started out when we met Fernando's match in the distracted driving award category.
Owlfred (soon to be known as Owlful Owlfred) was our driver.
He talked about what we were going to do and all the warnings about the trip....but no one could understand him. Especially the couple from Bulgaria who sat across from us.
I ended up using sign language to explain the dangers and show the escape hatch in the truck so we could hide underneath it in case we were attacked by a big one.
Next to owlfred was his 'assistant'. She was not introduced, did not speak and sat next to the drivers seat with her cell phone in hand. Throughout the trip, we couldn't figure out her role. So, naturally we started to 'interpret' the comments that she was making to him in their own language...it got a bit rowdy to say the least.
Upon arrival in the game park, Owlfred took on a large spotlight in one hand and the radio in the other hand, driving in standard needing to shift, he managed to manuever the HUGE open game truck over bumpy dirt roads in the pitch dark ....perhaps using his feet to steer? Of course we made many editorial comments about how he was pulling this off and the various appendages he could have been utilizing.
We sat right behind him and I offered to use the spotlight, seeing as I was the first and main spotter of eyes in the bush.
He seems downright pissed about my success at seeing the game.
There was one point where another truck saw lions, so we zoomed off to connect. I'm talking ZOOMED and remember this is in the dark and with 'look ma, no hands" at the wheel.
In the first hour we saw many impala, large owls, impala, gnu, impala, bunnies, impala, zebra, impala, hyena, and of course impala. A highlight was several HUGE rhinos who crossed the road. At that time, we noticed that owlfred did put his hands on the wheel because these guys were not planning on manuevering around us. Regarding elephants, we did notice what trackers look for and it was BIG and fresh. but no elephant. So I enclose a picture for those who may be so inclined to know what it looks like. (see below)
After the first hour, Fernando decided that this was not the trip he had hoped for. So he slept. When he woke up, he was angry that it wasn't over yet. So, he asked the guy how long this was going to last. Poor owlfred told him that we should stay out for at least 2 1/2 hours. As if owlfred was not distracted enough with his ADD skills, Fernando insisted that he tell him the time because he didn't have a watch. A discussion about what time it was escalated. The final words being Fernando yelling "I don't have a watch" Needless to say, it was time to turn back.
We really needed a visit to the Shebeen after that ride.
Shebeen is a local workers pub on the resort where they go to unwind after their shifts. We had heard about it and found out that we were welcome even though we were outsiders. We took a Palace car past the cultural village into a long dark road. We heard music in the bush and walked up a path to find a great little shanty with pool tables and dart boards and people mixing it up with the workers. Here we entered a pool game pitting Maritius, East India, South Africa, England, and Namibia against us. Maritius were sharks who turned out to have brought their own cue. The two rand entry (30 cents) was quickly lost.