Almost an African Accident

16 10 2011

Glenn Roseberry

Here I am on my last trip to Africa!

Clearly we were horsing around light heatedly in this picture.  Just a few minutes before I had first startled some hippos and then was scared to death by a large monkey. It all started innocently enough.

I was told all along that the guides in the Serengeti would NOT let you out of a vehicle under any circumstances.  Right away I was a bit curious as to the bath room breaks schedule.  Before the day was done our guide let us out three times.  The first time was to smell some truly putrid hippos swimming in their own secretions.  Not pretty.

 

Phew Dr. Brawner!

 

The third time was the charm.  We exited the jeep and went across a swinging bridge.  Just narrow and wobbly enough to make a tourist wonder about their safety.  As we crossed over we could see crocodiles leering up at us from 30 ft below.  They looked huge.  Maybe 18 plus feet.  Dirty  and nasty.  After reaching the other side everyone stayed together and looked around.  But our guide wandered off and to a guy with a lot of  “little boy” still in him, that meant that I was officially free to go it on my own.  And that is what I did.

From the bridge


I took off down a trail.  I looked over my shoulder and no one was following me nor trying to get me to stay.  So onward!  I glanced back one more time and saw my guide tippy toeing around like he did not know what would be behind the next giant leaf.    It did not occur to me that even HE never got out of the vehicle and that one of our sponsors had bribed him big time for this opportunity.  He seemed as scared as anyone walking around.  Now don’t get me wrong I was not scared, not yet.

As I came to some trail heads I noticed that 4 separate trails all came together where I was standing.  Wow this area is heavily traveled by someone or something.   I knew that the next 25 feet of my trail adventure would be blind, meaning I would not be able to see anything in any direction until I hit the top of a small knoll through some high brush.  About that time I heard low menacing grunts and the pounding of feet.  Everyone knows that the most dangerous animal in Africa is the hippo.  More people are killed by being trampled by a hippo than any other animal.  They are fiercely territorial and fast.  However, they also can be startled and run AWAY from you and that is what happened.  However, just as my heart started to slow from 300 to 200 I was attacked.  A huge man killing creature from high in the tree tops was bearing down on me in a display of ferocity hitherto never seen by this author.   Well almost.  It turns out a monkey about half my size was startled during all the hippo commotion and had fallen several feet towards me.  He began to screech loudly as he was certain I was a monster, or more likely a predator, out to eat him.  I began to run determined that he, the fast approaching monster in the sky, was out to get me.

I escaped and my guide who was running my direction by now due to all the commotion, told me that it was some sort of tree dwelling monkey that never touched the ground and that I had startled him.  As we walked back towards the swinging bridge I remembered that the crocs were sitting on that sand bar just down the hill and I thought I would break away one more time and get a sneaky close up with my cheap digital camera.  I went down a steep trail that I calculated would bring me about 25 yards from where the crocs were sunning.  I got almost to the waters edge and pushed back the foliage that would block my view.  No crocodiles, bummer.  Where were they?  No worries, while I was quietly sneaking down the bank to get my clandestine picture they were listening to my every move and had strategically positioned them selves to be right at the point that I would come out of the trail.  I saw something move below me and there was a monster crocodile just 10 feet away staring at me.  We had both made our calculations almost perfectly.  Mine to come up just to their right about 25 yards away from where they were before and his to be waiting on me right as I exited the brush towards the water.  Praise God what we neither realized was that where the trail came out was at a little 6′ bluff.  meaning that while the predator was just feet in front of me he was also way below where I had appeared.   I was safe, snapped my picture and left the frustrated crocodile alone to mourn the loss of the fat and tasty snack that seemed surely within his grasp.

Too Close!

One of my companions said, “your mom would really be fussing at you right now”.  How true.

I lived to see another day.


 

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