The title may be a little bit of an exaggeration, okay it is a lot of an exaggeration.
Our trip to South Africa has been one of the highlights of my life for many reasons. I have always dreamt of touching down in Africa, seeing the plains, the animals, the people, even the sun shines differently in Africa. It’s true there is no where else in the world that strikes you the same way Africa does, at least that holds true for me. It didn’t hurt that Laura and I were getting to Celebrate our Honeymoon in such a new and exciting location.
There are so many wonderful and unique stories we have from that trip but there is one and it may be a simple one that sticks with me.
With the exception of one night, we spent our entire time in South Africa at Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge in Ladysmith, which is located kind of centrally between Jo-Berg and Durban. Every morning and afternoon was packed full of Game Drives, we spent countless hours with our guide Reggie. Reggie was young, 21 and an avid bird spotter. Everyone at Nambiti had their skill, tracking, spotting, story-telling…all the usual characters were there.
We spent every waking, and a few non-waking hours with Reggie. Like clock work, at 5:00 a.m. there would be a knock at the door “Good Morning” you’d hear through the door. “Good Morning Reggie”, we’d respond, usually half-asleep…”I’ll have coffee ready in the main lodge”.
One afternoon, after our morning drive Reggie asked Laura and I if we would be interested in joining him later in the afternoon for a walking safari….HELL YES we were interested. We had the opportunity to see so many beautiful animals from the safety of our Land Rover, this was our opportunity to be eye to eye with them.
I don’t think Laura and I questioned the safety of it for a second, I mean we had spent every waking hour with Reggie foe the past 4 Days. We felt that he was in this with us, part of our honey moon, our third wheel. Why would we even hesitate…
We drove for about 20 minutes to the point where we would begin our walking safari. On the drive I asked Reggie what we were going to look for? Reggie said that some of the other guys had seen White Rhinos in this area, so we were going to try our luck at locating them ourselves.
We had reached our starting point and hopped out of the truck. Reggie grabbed his rifle from the dash and we set out. I remember the next conversation clearly.
“So Reggie, have you ever used your gun?”…”Yea, I shoot targets all the time.”…”NO, I mean in a real situation.”…..”OHHHH NO, I would never shoot an animal.”…”What if it was charging”…”Well I might use it to try and scare it, but not to kill it”…..Wrong answer Reggie! I need some Crocodile Dundee, Scar Face, Lliam Neelson type answer…I have seen these animals, they’re huge. I mean s#!t, I’ve seen lions, hippos, rhinos…these things will kill you!
We set out on our walk, obviously on edge a little, as we made our way through brush, banks of watering holes and wide open plains. Occasionally we would see signs of the white rhinos that we were pursing.
We spent hours in pursuit of the rhino’s but obviously their skill and wit in the brush out maneuvered ours. We would occasionally come within sight of giraffe, antelope, savannah hare, but they were far more weary of us than them and would scamper off before we could get a good picture.
That walk however, made for one of my most memorable and enjoyable travel experiences, never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to be in the middle of South Africa looking for White Rhinos on foot. Even though we didn’t stumble upon any rhinos, it was a lot like the saying “it’s in the journey, not the destination”.