As a safari guide one is very fortunate to spend almost 10 months in the year out there in the bush. If there was a collective noun for a group of safari guides perhaps it would be a "brag" of guides? We are given to telling lots of stories after all, and given the time we spend on safari, we have PLENTY of tales to tell!
Sometimes, the bush Gods look down on us with favour and reveal something truly special. And guests will know exactly when that happens as the guide is either up on his feet pointing excitedly, accompanied by whispers of 'look look look there', or his hat gets thrown off as he reaches for his camera. Normally able to explain everything in minute detail with a calm smooth voice, this time the guide is focused on making sure all his clients see this fantastic sighting. Look first, explain later. And perhaps he'll even be reaching for his book to try to make sure he gets it spot on – in the case of some rare sightings a guide may only see them once in his lifetime.
This season, our guides at Authentic Tanzania Safaris had some moments like these. They found a giraffe with a mane hair on the side of her neck. Perhaps a fault in the gene pool, or just one of those things? (we humans also have hair in odd places every now and then!)
We got very lucky seeing an African Wildcat, it jumped out onto the track and just started walking ahead on the road for a few minutes. It then jumped back into the grass and was nearly impossible to see.
The first rain also brings its share of funny sightings. We found a hippo with a terrapin on its back. Perhaps the terrapin thought the hippo was a rock; the hippo wasn't bothered in the least though. Perhaps he wanted the company?
We came across a water monitor lizard trying to eat a crocodile. This is something none of us had seen before. The crocodile did not even fit in the monitor lizard 's mouth, but that didn't deter him! We didn't see whether it was already dead or whether the monitor lizard won a huge battle! And that is when the guide's wealth of knowledge kicks in. They piece together the snippets of stories they stumble across, and use their years of training and research to help it all make more sense for their guests. In this case, the guide's sensible verdict was that something else had killed the crocodile, and it was an opportunistic find for the monitor lizard. Whether this monitor lizard now has a taste for crocodile though.... well time will tell, and we'll be there...