I was bricking myself

5th May 2014

Saturday 26th April 2014

A relaxed day around camp again, general duties including stripping down the Landagreenie of the essentials. Mainly this was removing the two way radio which will be transferred to the new Landy , which from this day on will be known as Tambokie.

The Landagreenie will be retired from the Makuleke fleet on Wednesday. Its not a sad day for me, I’m not a big fan because it doesn’t stop when you want it to and the breaks squeal whenever you pull into a sighting. The only thing I will miss is the opportunity that it gives you of driving around the mighty Kruger in a vehicle that has no doors.

I had a pick up at the gate in the afternoon, two new students coming in for the Trails Guide course. As we were driving back we had an amazing encounter with a bull in musth. He came swaggering down the road at us so I pulled over to the side and switched the engine off.

He meandered down Pafuri Main right up to the vehicle, he looked incredibly relaxed with his trunk resting over his tusks. He was very curious about who or what we were and demonstrated classic signs of indecision and also nervousness about passing us by.

Obviously with a bull in Musth this could have been very different especially given his size, he literally towered above the Tambokie which he could have swept aside at any time with his trunk that must have weighed almost a quarter of a ton.

Many guides would have spoken to him as he approached, reassuring him that everything was ok. I personally didn’t think that this was necessary, instead I kept absolute silence. This meant that everybody would enjoy it, regardless he wasn’t doing anything wrong so it didn’t warrant either reassurance or a reprimand.

I believe that the silence enhanced the moment as we heard everything from the constant dribble of urine to the sound which he made as he dragged both his feet and his oversized trunk along the tar road.

He eventually moved off the road and into the mopane which allowed us to pass. We gave a very cheesy thumbs up to the SAN Parks guy who had been watching our whole encounter from behind the ele. Then we were on our way after I confidently radioed in the sighting to all stations. Importantly, I don’t believe anybody knew that I was bricking myself from start to finish.

I took a short drive in the afternoon to gently introduce the “Trails Guide” students to the concession. This wasn’t hectic as we didn’t have much light left as we didn’t want to be out after the sun went down seen as we were in the Landagreenie without the working lights. There’s always a perceived tough crowd when you’re guiding at EcoTraining especially a trails group as they all tend to be experienced guides, most of the time with more experience than myself. Saying that they’re very supportive, afterward the drive today I asked the instructor Johnna if there’s anything I was saying that didn’t ring true, he picked up on one thing which I can read up on. It’s this tertiary environment which I enjoy, you’re always being pushed and given access to some great minds.