Who watched who

Who watched who

It was April 2016. My wife and I were lucky enough to travel from France to spend our honeymoon at Rhino Walking Safaris.

We started walking at sunset, like everyday there. The weather was cool and dry. Our close experience with a leopard the day before made us all very excited to discover what this new day had in store for us.
We were in the bush only for a few minutes before crossing the path of a lonely white rhino. Bernard, our guide, was as happy as usual. We moved as quietly as possible and we approached the huge beast. It was peacefully grazing. We watched it in silence. After the usual explanations and pictures, we resumed our walk. But the rhino wasn’t keen to leave us. He started to follow us. From the far at first.
We changed direction, moved a little quicker, without rushing. The rhino carried on following us. It came closer. Too close for us to feel comfortable. Then, our guide decided to find a safe spot. We climbed on the top of an abandoned termite mill. Being up gave us an advantage that discouraged our curious friend.
But he was soon replaced by a group of other watchers. Being in plain sight, we attracted the attention of an elephant bull. The liquid dropping behind his eyes indicates that he was in rut. He started to raise his trump. He was soon joined by two little ones and another adult. Soon, all their trumps were raised. They were all wondering what curious beings we were. After being spotted, watched and followed, we were smelled !
We waited there a few minutes more, feeling a little helpless on the top of our little koppie. “There’s nothing more to do”, said our ranger with his great smile. He was right. The elephants examined us from the far for a little while more and they left us.
If we had any doubts before, these animals confirmed that we were definitely the strangers in the bush. It didn't stop us to carry on enjoying walking trails.

Philippe and Diane Ratinet


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