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Leaving Africa on a wing and a prayer

If I hadn't witnessed the baboon trying to unzip the bottom of my tent in broad daylight, I wouldn't have believed the warnings from my guide about their shenanigans.

Baboons are notorious for sneaking in unlocked doors and through unsecured tent flaps to steal food and carry away underwear left out of a duffel.

I yelled, "Hey, stop it." It fell on deaf ears. My afternoon nap was over.

Little good did that do, for the baboon and his partners in crime came back in full force that nighttime howling in the trees making sleep relatively impossible. Boy, they were a noisy bunch and worse than the commotion from firecrackers going off in a residential street.

Often what eludes you finds you in the end.

Camping in the Okavango Delta region on flat ground with its broad vista where herds of zebras or elephants would pass by in the distance to enhance the scenery was an ideal ending to that portion of my trip to Africa.

As much as I went to Africa to view the animal and bird life, I became intrigued with the incredible sunsets basking everything in globs of golden glitter.

On the last day of safari, our guide, Oris decided we would try one more time to find the nearby leopard just before heading to the grass strip runway for our flight out of the bush in a single-engine plane.

We found the leopard rather easily, and he was awesome when he turned full-face to look back at us. Of all the animals on safari, the leopard was the most elegant and stylish in his movements in my opinion. Perhaps it is because I am a cat lover and I observed identical behaviors to his little cousin at home in America.

By then, I had had so many experiences with animals right near me that I had no trepidation and took photographs of the leopard as fast as I could get him from my vantage point.

That would have been enough excitement if we hadn't punctured a tire on the way pushing back out of the brambles and thorny bushes.

Oris saved the day with his quick tire-changing skill - the six of us stood on the side and posted guard duty, although I would suspect the animals kept their distance out of respect.

Once underway again, our truck raced along the side of the runway with a cloud of dust flying up covering us from head to foot as our plane came in for a landing with a new set of campers.

There were a lot of cheers and clapping for Oris when we hopped out and collected our duffels. We made it with no time to spare. Well, we didn’t have a bustling terminal to get through, annoying TSA security checks or tedious gate lines.

“I suppose you do that grand finale for every group that comes to camp,” I quipped trying to say something clever.

Oris looked at me and smiled with sweat pouring down his face.

Humor is best even in this situation.

Minutes later I was up in the sky looking down at the broad flat expanse of African land. I checked my watch and it was only 9 o’clock in the morning. #Africa #safari #tentedcamp #internationaltravel

Observing a leopard in his natural habitat

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