Day 16: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
-Today we check into Buffalo Ridge, where we will enjoy hot showers, giant beds, and all the electricity we can eat. No internet, sadly. Maybe next time.
-Entering the Madikwe Game Reserve, you pass through a gate. You might think of Jurassic Park. When it opens, you definitely get the sense you’re entering dangerous territory. When it closes behind you, you know there’s no messing around here.
-We did our first safari session tonight. A sunset safari ride. Listen, you go on safari, you need to know when to [observe silence]. That’s 90% of the time out there, got it? If you shout at your driver to stop for every kudu, zebra, or stump you see, you ain’t gonna get to see no elephants.
-Lions at night are even more frightening than lions in the day. If you look at them and you REALLY think about it, that is. There’s nothing between them and you. On the truck, however, you seem to be part of a large creature. Until you stand up. If you stand up, the lion thinks, “Hey, that’s not part of a big creature, that’s a little monkey-thing! I can kill that easily and eat it at my leisure!”
-I asked the driver to stop and shut off the engine on the way back to the lodge. Everyone stopped talking and listened. The African bush at night is chilling. You don’t know what’s nearby, what’s hungry. The stars are fantastic – bright and indifferent. Nature is beautiful and frightening. Hey, just like me!
-Had a lovely conversation after dinner with Jack, Sandy, and my roommate John. I can’t remember every word of it, but I’m pretty sure they elected me their chief (or “kgosi”).