Everyone who has ever travelled to Africa and did a game drive or boat ride will recognise this story (and I’d be pleased to read about it in the comments area).
Travelling to Africa and not seeing any animals would be a stupid decision. People who don’t want to travel there tend to say: “I can see them in the zoo, so why travel all the way to Africa for something I can see here?”. Well they are wrong. There are a lot of positive things about a zoo if it is run right. They can do a very nice job for animals. But knowing that an elephants normal habitat contains one square kilometer each, makes you rethink their live in captivity. One reasons to go and see game (what wild animals in their natural habitat is called).
An other reason to go on a game drive is that you will be able to see the animals in a natural environment, which will show you how they look with their happy face on, something you won’t easily find with animals in captivity (unless they were rescued from worse circumstances of course). Another reason is the fun in the game (maybe that is where the name “game” comes from?). You actually have to search for them, driving around in wildlife area’s, looking for the animals which wander around somewhere, not selling themselves to your camera. They are very good at hiding themselves. Yes, even Elephants are good at hide and seek. They have this grey colour which blends really well in their environment. That’s what this story is about.
Playing hide and seek leaves you very excited and curious looking around. It seems impossible to find animals within the first ten minutes of a drive, which makes you feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but then all of a sudden, there it is! Finally! You want to scream, but know you have to be quit for you don’t want to scare them! “Yay!” “SSSHHH!” “There it is” you whisper. Your first Elephant, which you first thought was a rock. A rock with ears? You only recognised it because it started flapping it’s ears. Your first elephant is finally close. Ours was so close we could almost touch it. Oops, he’s seen us. He’s leaving. QUICK! the camera has to do a good job now, moving towards the elephant, you try to take your best shot.
What were you thinking? photographing through a window never results in a good picture. Yet you are proud of your first elephant. It might be the last. What a foolish thought. At that moment there seems nothing foolish about your thought. You are so overwhelmed with this huge beast you’ve seen, that you’ve forgotten about the boat tour you planned. (Tip: always take a boat tour close to noon. Animals get warm too, having them searching for refreshment at the waterside.)
So we arrived at the water side at 2 pm (which is a better tour than at 3pm, because at that time temperatures fall and the animals start leaving the waterside). That’s when you start feeling foolish about the effort you made earlier. Yet, you tend to make the same mistake again.
From far away your camera is being set to work, making pictures with a maximum zoom. They might flee, don’t you think? I no longer think that. They are not afraid of the boat, for we were on a small one and they got used to them. (Tip number two: try to get on the smallest boat possible. It might look less safe, but it will bring you closest to the animals.) Set aside your fear of the boat (I had to do so) and enjoy the view.
Here is a (little) teaser of what you can expect! This only for the elephants. More photo’s will be online soon. Follow the blog to be the first to see them!
Thanks for reading!