The Outsider: Greek god, single malt and a dung beetle
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | March 1, 2018|
Never be surprised by what is around the next corner, that is what I have come to learn in my years on this planet, and on my recent sojourn to South Africa I wasn’t to be disappointed.
The wedding of my lovely wife’s best friend, the reason for our mammoth trip, was a splendid affair set on the very tip of the continent, in Cape Town, and, if we were going to travel half- way around the world we certainly were not going to miss the opportunity to take Little Z ‘up-country’ on a safari. Oh how he’d marvel at the
lions, elephants, rhinos and other huge beasties, so we thought ... but I should have known better.
We arrived at our safari lodge following a flight north from Cape Town toJohannesburg and a gruelling six-hour
drive north into the wild. A quick lunch, freshen up and then we hustled to be ready at our open-sided jeep for the game drive, “because we’re on a mission to find cheetah,” so Andre, our guide, told us.
The day had been a blur so far and so when a Greek god ambled up and introduced himself as Adonis, I almost took it in my stride. Six-foot-four at least, hair and beard whiter than snow and skin as deep gold as the semi desert we’d just driven through, he stood every inch his namesake.
The flip flops let him down a little, as did his baseball cap that read ‘Greeks do it mythically’ but hey, no one’s perfect. And then, as we climbed into the jeep the rest of his party rolled up, each with a tumbler in hand, ice clinking merrily. “Hey, when on safari do like the South Africans,” said Adonis as his glass was charged with a
large dram of single malt scotch. I took a slug of my bottled water and felt a
little sorry for myself.
Soon we were speeding through the bush in pursuit of the fastest animal on earth. No, not literally! We were speeding to where we hoped to see them and the scotch-swilling sightseers had turned into supercharged bird
spotters. Andre was doing his best to get us there but every minute or so someone would call “stop!” On came the brakes and we’d be scanning the trees for the lilac breasted roller or shaft tailed whydah that they thought they’d seen. Not an elephant, nor rhino but tiny, tiny birds. Really!
Adonis looked at me and shrugged. “I have to, I’m married to one of them,” he said with a laugh. Eventually, we got to see our cheetahs, two majestic males who sat bolt upright surveying the horizon for dinner, and completely ignoring us. I could hardly breathe with excitement as we sat not 30 feet from these supersonic freaks of nature.
Then, Andre leaned back and whispered to Little Z, “cool, eh. Wanna see some lions tomorrow?” My own little quirk of nature smiled sweetly at him and replied, “how about a dung beetle?”
Adonis roared with laughter and made the cheetahs jump. They padded off grumpily. Andre said so be it and our scotch-swilling companions poured us a glass.
It wasn’t until the next afternoon, when we screeched to a halt beside a large pile of elephant poo, which was moving rather suspiciously, that I realized Andre was good to his word. He lifted Little Z down and they picked
through the poo to find a big black shiny beetle and his prized ball of dung. Little Z was delighted.
“Time for a celebration,” said Adonis and out came the single malt again.
Now that’s what I call a safari.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider