Due to Little Garonga having no guests over a short period of time in June, I tasked one of my waiters, Aldrin, with sourcing a school local to his home in Bushbuck Ridge to come for a day visit to Garonga.
I suspect almost everyone reading this will be familiar with Sir David Attenborough and Dame Jane Goodall, but I don’t know how many of you will have come across Greta Thunberg. I like to think of Sir Dave, Dame Jane, and Greta as our wildlife warriors. Their work helps to inspire conservation and to raise awareness on a scale otherwise unseen. They open our minds to the wonders of nature and our eyes to the terrible impact we are having on our environment and they give us a reason to fight for the other creatures who share this incredible planet we call home. What has been particularly concerning, however, is that we are currently in the stage of the greatest threat to our environment and wildlife that we, as humanity, have ever seen yet our only renowned wildlife warriors are in their 80s and 90s. We are trying to fight a war without any soldiers or allies, a method that has not, historically, been wildly successful. Greta Thunberg looks like she might be starting to change this and to be fair Leonardo DiCaprio probably deserves a mention too.
Certain guest questions, like certain guide jokes, can be considered to be a staple of a visit to the bush. For a guide, watching a zebra go from one side of a road to the other we are overwhelmed by the urge to call out “zebra crossing!” and only very rarely do we successfully repress this urge. In our heads each repetition of the joke is met with raucous laughter accompanied by general agreement that your guide is a sterling human and probably has a decent back-up career as a stand up comic. In reality, the joke is often met with a raised eyebrow, possibly even a roll of the eyes, and if the guide is really lucky a polite titter. Nevertheless, I can assure you it is a joke that never gets old. Similarly, when presented with our equine pals guests’ lips start to twitch, they glance sideways at one another and finally ask the immortal question: “So, are they black with white stripes or white with black stripes?”, quick as a flash our lowveld guides will fire back, “ah but what about the grey stripes?” which are a distinguishing feature of the Plains zebra found in the area. In general this tends to stump guests and we all move on from our guilty game drive giggles to enjoy the animals themselves. Despite this battle of the comic wits zebras are a firm favourite with guests and guides alike and never fail to delight on a drive as we rediscovered on a morning not too long ago…
Along with the photo competition that guests from both Garonga Safari Camp and Little Garonga can submit their safari moments to, we have also started an annual Wildlife Photo Competition for our guide and tracker teams. The teams: Jaffet and Richard; Josia and Phineas; Samantha and Stewart; Derrick and Kaizer; and Sophie and Bongi, get to explore the bush daily on a game drive or on foot, regularly experiencing fantastic sightings, which make for great photographic opportunities.