Safari Journals: Day 9: The Great Bone Hunt

I thought today would be our last day but it looks like we are going to fit in one more drive tomorrow morning.

This morning again it was just me, Poppy, and Mo in the land rover.

For a long time there were no animals so I just stared into the distance and daydreamed as we drove along. Eventually we came to a herd of 300 or so buffalo walking along, looking around, and grazing, with white birds around to collect the bugs that came up from the ground as the buffalo walked.

Although it is cool to see such a large herd together, the buffalo didn’t do all that much so we didn’t stay long.

Our next stop a while later was by a herd of the extremely common impala, called natures breadbasket because all the predator animals eat them. They are more common than squirrels back home so we don’t normally stop to look at every herd we see, but one of this group was white and it was interesting. Mo was excited- he said it is the only albino impala hes see in 18 years. I wasn’t convinced that it was albino- just pale- but I got some pictures.

Next we came across a nearly complete set of giraffe bones scattered in an opening. I was surprised that the little knobs on his head were actually made of bones. I would have guessed they were some sort of soft tissues.

I’ve been wanting to take a bone home but every time we come across a skeleton I have missed the opportunity to find a small bone and pocket it before the guide sees (you aren’t supposed to take anything from the environment: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.) So I talked with Mo about the giraffes teeth hoping I could pull one out and sneak it off, but pulling it out was as far as I could get because Mo didn’t turn his back. So alas, I placed the tooth on top of the skull and we were off again in the rover.

We came across our first group of hippos that were actually walking on land instead of laying in water, and we stopped to take pictures as they met their friends in the water. We got out of the rover and had our morning coffee break right there by the hippos, and after a while I took the opportunity to walk off and look for bones. I didn’t find any, but Poppy found a bunch of feathers.

Pretty soon after we had gotten going again, Mo heard a leak in one of the tires so he stopped to change it. I looked for bones again (didn’t find any) and Mo had changed the tire in only five minutes. Later at lunch we learned that the other group had popped 2 tires that day, and that Mos record was 5 bursted tires on one drive.

On the way back we also saw a giraffe up close and some zebras and we got some nice pictures.

We also learned one of the other guides horror story about the time his rover got stuck in a ditch- a few guests were in the rover with him when 2 lions and a buffalo came running toward him in a chase.

The buffalo was chasing the lions and one lion leapt over the hood of the rover and the other slid underneath, while the buffalo ran headfirst into the car and got his front legs stuck in the ditch. The lions took the opportunity to come back around the rover and attack the buffalo right up against the rover. Naturally the guests were screaming and the guide himself was scared.

Somehow the buffalo managed to get out of the ditch, but the lions killed him a few feet away. When the drama was over, the guide looked back and all the guests were hiding in the space underneath their seats.

After lunch, when we got back to the room, Poppy said I have something for you, and he pulled out of his pocket the same giraffe tooth I had put back at the scene a few hours ago. I don’t know how he managed to be so sneaky- I have been trying for days- but now I have an awesome souvenir to put on my bookshelf at home, along with the porcupine quills Mo gave me yesterday. (I’m not sure what the logic is in being allowed to keep quills and bird feathers but not bones.)

I read a copy of National Geographic during afternoon tea, and then we were off for our last evening drive. Two new women joined our group. There is nothing much to report from the outing though. The only new pictures are the ones that Mo took of me and Poppy.

So now we are packing and getting ready to leave tomorrow. After we go on our last game drive in the morning, we will begin the long and unpleasant process of traveling via 3 planes through 6 time zones with long layovers, plane food, and no room to move for nearly a full day until we finally arrive back at JFK at 5:00 am, at which point I cant imagine if we will be tired or awake. I hope it is easy to get back on New York time.

This is part of a series called Safari Journals. You can read the rest of the journals here:

Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4   Day 5  Day 6  Day 7  Day 8  Day 9  Day 10