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Old 04-02-2009, 08:37 PM   #84
Douf OP
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Day 12 (am): Tembe Park

Since this morning's game drive was scheduled to leave at 6:30am, both Gary and I were up bright and early (despite my previous post ). After getting shit, showered, shaved and shampooed, we packed our bags as much as possible and then headed off for a quick breakfast. Since both of us were religiously taking the Malaria medication in our typically quaint anal retentive fashion, the main purpose of the food was to wash down the drugs as per the dosage instructions. In addition, we'd both sprayed on enough insect repellent to wipe out the entire African Mosquito population, but in reality I didn't find the local insects to be that bad (and certainly not even in the same ballpark as those little bastards in Alaska). However, they say it's the ones you can't feel that carry the disease, so who knows?

As expected our stunt driver was ready and waiting at the prescribed witching hour, but having only just clocked in for the day, on this occasion he maintained a pace more conducive to both game viewing and survival. Indeed, in the cool breeze of the early morning hours this initially moderate pace was more than welcome.

After cruising around the sandy trails for quite some time, Patrick explained that the afternoon drives often proved to be more fruitful in terms of the amount of animals typically on view, and after some further distance devoid of any wildlife, the customers were getting restless. Patrick took us to what seemed like every damn water hole on the entire property, but as far as I could tell, someone had given all the animals the day off. Trying to inject some interest into the proceedings, we were treated to the knowledgeable Patrick's dissertation on the habits of dung beetles, which up until that stage had been the only wildlife on view. The apparent interest
in their behavior shown by one of our German friends only added to the tedium, and his ability to by fascinated by what seemed to Gary and I like insignificant minutiae was beginning to piss the pair of us off. As he trotted out question after inane question, I was mentally consoling myself with having at least seen a pretty good selection of wildlife the previous day, so the whole experience hadn't been a total waste of time. However, just as we were hoping to spot a hungry lion looking for a tasty German breakfast, Patrick alerted us to a small group of giraffes up ahead and things started looking up. About half a dozen of them were grazing just off the trail to the left of our approaching vehicle, and although obviously aware of our presence, they remained indifferent enough for a satisfying encounter.







some.............................................. .Giraffes



............and the lesser spotted two headed variety

A short while after, we were heading along the trail and Patrick suddenly diverted our attention to some bushes on the right of the vehicle. 'Look at the balls on that monkey!' he exclaimed, without any apparent hint of irony. I squinted into the undergrowth and at first couldn't see the well camouflaged primate, but, on further inspection managed to focus on an animal which did indeed have a very impressive set of testicles.



'Come an' get it, bitches'

Never having seen such a specimen our group was quite fascinated with this creature - certainly much better than the pile of beetle infested crap that had previously captured our attention (at least I'm certain that's what MOST of us thought), however I don't remember Patrick having much additional knowledge to impart in this case. (I guess his PhD must be in crap).



An impressive set, although apparently needing a little touch up in places

However with a little subsequent background research, the internet scuttlebutt claims that (obtain pinch of salt before reading further): the blueness of a particular monkey's jewels is supposed to be a direct reflection of his standing in monkey society, and amongst other things entitles the owner to preferential sexual treatment with the local ladies. I came across a rather excellent college study, where (all in the name of science of course) a sorry specimen from a captive troop's proletariat, was taken from the enclosure and then had to suffer the indignity of having his obviously unimpressive set of gonads painted a shocking shade of blue by the attendant professor. After being returned to the enclosure, the academics were amazed to discover that the other monkeys were obviously very impressed with our little friend's new and improved appendages and subsequently treated him with a good deal more respect. If only it were that easy in real life (er, maybe it is - plastic surgery).

Anyway, discovering this little nugget of knowledge, has resulted in somewhat of a testicular epiphany on my part. Therefore, on the basis of the aforementioned anecdote, I can conclude that the blueness of the plastic testicles hanging from the rear of Mr. Michael Defreitas' GS is not just intended to be sympathetic with the bike's color, but also obviously supposed to convey some inherent level of super human potency on the part of its' rider. Well Mikie, old son, I hate to bust your bubble, however......



That set of balls on the GS might be impressive, but.....



....... you're somewhat compromised..........



....... by your apparent inability to......



........keep it up

Moving right along then.....

And we did; in fact we were almost having Black Rhino steaks for lunch (probably illegal I'm guessing), when the truck rounded a corner and immediately confronted an ornery looking specimen right in the middle of the road. A little collective Naugahyde sucking inevitably went on as the beast took a few quick paces towards the vehicle in what looked like the start of a full on charge. Fortunately though, he soon thought better of that maneuver and instead charged off into the woods to the right of the vehicle in classic Rhino fashion. In other words: before anyone could get a picture of him.

We got a bit luckier at the 'hide' though.

Not long after this incident, we pulled up at the custom built hide on the property which is at the site of a large water hole. They have a web cam there too: it's at www.zulucam.com Here, it's possible to view the animals as they come and go without them being aware of anything untoward. This was immediately apparent as, upon our arrival there were two of the thus far elusive Rhinos hanging around the edge of the water. They loitered long enough for us each to get a good look at them through the binoculars before finally they wandered off into the bush.



According to Patrick, these were White rather than Black Rhino's. Now I'm not much a Rhino expert and to be honest I couldn't tell them apart. In fact the only difference I could see was that the Rhino's now standing in front of us weren't blurred.



A solitary Elephant presently wandered into view and we all watched as he took a drink from the water there. He lingered at the water's edge for a while before also lumbering out of the picture. Presently, after watching some other animals and having a few refreshments, we climbed back into the truck and Patrick, apparently still being satisfactorily remunerated for his time, drove us carefully back to the lodge.



Upon arrival, there was quite a spread laid out at the breakfast area; but rather than eat, the pair of us, mindful of the mileage ahead if we were to rejoin the rest of our traveling friends by the end of the day, decided to skip breakfast and hit the road. Quickly packing the rest of our belongings, we said goodbye to staff, endured/enjoyed a farewell song as we loaded the luggage and paddled our way behind Patrick's truck back up the sandy trail to the front gate. After a brief farewell, we were back on the road.


http://www.tembe.co.za/

A short, but memorable experience. Great staff too.

Douf screwed with this post 04-02-2009 at 09:42 PM
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