An African safari teaches life lessons.
Capricious game instils que sera sera zen. Zebra melding stripes to form a giant predator-rebuffing entity speaks to the power of community.
A mother elephant taking on any danger to protect her suckling calf strengthens my maternal instinct.
At night, listen – really listen – in order to allow less audible wilderness sounds to soak apparent silence.
But it is the roads in Africa that teach the best lessons. On a backbreaking 11-hour transfer between the Mara and the Serengeti, the roads test both our landcruisers’ mechanical tenacity, and the group’s budding safari zen.
Grinding to a halt in yet another crater-sized depression, we tumble out to breathe, stretch, and observe from the roadside. Women walk miles for a gallon of water balanced precariously on their heads.
Curious children crowd around T. as she gets out her book. Mopeds scurry past, laden with entire families.
Most remarkable: the enterprise of young men who set up a diversion around a particularly cratered stretch of road. They wave our landcruiser through after pocketing a KES100 shilling note (about $1). Lined up along the smooth mowed path are shovels. “They dig craters to make them impassable,” says our driver. “We are forced to take their detours – for a fee of course. Everything good comes at a price.”
Day 5 and we are one day wiser in Africa.