Welcome to our first story addition to Afrography
Whilst staying in a magnificent resort by the name of Savuti in Botswana, I took my time, as I always love doing, to chat to some of the local guides or staff and hear their stories. These are the people that have lived the majority of their lives in the area, the ones that grew up in this wild surrounding and often, despite lacking a physical certificate, can show a lot more experience and expertise than those with degrees in the subject!
This man had been living in the area for 40 years and previously had only lived a few villages away when growing up. I pestered him to tell me some of his stories, as normally they would refrain in fear of alarming or scaring the guests away! His name was John, an adaptation of his local Botswanian name (one that I admittedly could not remember to spell!), and this is his story…
“I was scheduled to take a group of new tourists from America on a guided walk one afternoon. These guests were very nice, full of enthusiasm for the wildlife, although at time they would lack the knowledge of the place quite a lot, but this is what I was there for. Having got them all together and briefed them on the safety of the walk, keeping close together, what my hand signals ment and letting them know that they should never run unless I do (as I always say, you only need to run faster than the slowest in the group!), we were on our way in the already hot morning sun.
I was on a mission to find my guests something good, as it was their first time to Africa and I always like to make it special for each and every visitor. We had walked for a good 2 hours, and although the walk is all about the birds, trees, plants and small african animals, my group seemed upset not to have seen anything big on their walk. Being their first time this is understandable, enthusiasm for the small animals of Africa needs to be learnt. I took my group up on to a high termite mound telling them that we would have a look from high up to see if there are any big animals in the area. Surely, there was. A female lion with her 3 tiny cubs was located just on the other side of the mound. My heart, it stopped… and it stopped a little longer for my guests!
The cubs, being of an inquisitive nature, rushed up to us and began to weave in and out of our legs! The mother sat there, still, eyes locked on me but not too threatening. She made a small grunt to get her kids back to her and off they went… straight back where they came from. Slowly, I told my guests to walk backward, one foot at a time. We made out way back down the mound and once I decided it was safe to turn around an regroup, little did I know that my guest at the back of the line had reached a watering hole and continued to walk backwards! He was waist height deep! This really was a terrifying moment for my guests, but after seeing Ben in the water, all our fear went out the window and we were in fits of laughter! Never have I witnessed something like this! It is a lesson for everyone how fear can change the way you act dramatically!”
It was a charming story and one he told with such enthusiasm. Remember, when you sit down for your sundowner to a beautiful african sunset, talk to your guide and the locals, they will inspire you like no other, and it will make your trip even more memorable.