Tuesday, 2 October 2007

There is a leopard in that bush!

Earlier this year Milord and I were in the Kruger Park game reserve in South Africa.

On our first morning in the reserve we had breakfast, packed up the car, then drove to the gate of the camp to deposit our hut key and then leave the fenced enclosure. While we were at the key deposit box we realised that a few things we would be needing during the day were in the boot, and as you can't get out of the car between camps we'd need to move them within reach. We parked about 20m inside the exit gate of the camp, opposite reception, and began moving things around.

Suddenly a black man in uniform came running out of the reception building and shouted at us: "Get back in your car, there is a leopard in that bush!" while pointing through the fence of the camp. I was in the car like a flash, but milord was having trouble with the accent...

"Huh?" he asks.
"Gitbik in yorka thehiz aleppidin thetboosh!"
"GitBIK in yorka thehiz aLEPPIDin thetboosh!"
"Honey, he says there is a leopard in that bush, get in the car!"
"Oh shit!"

We're in the car, boot slammed, doors shut, staring like light-struck bunnies towards the fence. The 3m high fence. The electrified fence. At a bush 20m away on the other side. The not very dense bush. In the middle of the scorching hot morning. Several minutes pass.

"See anything?"
"No. You?"
"Ask the man if he can still see it."
"Ok... um... I can't, he's gone."
"But... so... why isn't he shouting at all the other people wandering around?"
"Since when do leopards hunt during the day?"

We sat for a bit longer watching people walk around, then shrugged, got out and continued moving stuff from the boot into the car. We reckon they were having their little joke with the stupid white tourists. I wonder how often that little man runs out and shouts at people each day to make them jump?

And we never did get to see a leopard.

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