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Hello intersectional thinkers 👋
Greetings from the Okavango Delta 🐘
“The African bug will catch you!”
On my first ever safari, a British couple in their 60s warned me about the African bug - a bug that’d make you itch to come back to the continent.
6 years and 4 more trips to the continent later, I can tell you with confidence, there is no cure for that African bug.
5:30 am wake up:
The sky is bursting with the stars of the Milky Way as the first glimmers of morning sun dye the horizon an energizing red orange (find name of color). Birds sing your morning beats. No playlist is as good on Spotify.
6:30 am check the news:
The fresh tracks of the animals on the road tell the tales of the night before.
Sturdy hippo footprints leading to the lagoon right in front of camp explain the grunting we heard late last night.
Two young male lions, new to the territory, are headed East, towards where the female and her two cubs were seen last.
A drag mark plus some leopard paw prints big and small replay the drama of a kill for leopard momma and her 2 cubs 🐆
Our guide skillfully maneuvers our windowless Land Rover Discovery so we don’t distort the delicate facts on the sandy Kalahari road. I wonder who we will meet today.
9am meet the boss:
we tracked down the 2 young lions heading East. Their gaze humbles even the proudest of humans.
But stare long enough at these magnificent kings, and one realizes the fragility of power.
Others might not be able to bring you down at the top of the food chain, but rivalry within the pride is deadly.
Fathers and uncles will ruthlessly kick out young males when food gets scarce.
These young males then form a bachelor coalition to roam the land in search for females they can build a new family with.
But unlike Lion King, available females aren’t always going to be the coalition’s childhood friends. In real life, females typically come with their cubs of a previous marriage.
Seen as competition, the coalition will do all they can to kick out the cubs. But the cubs aren’t the only competition. The members of the coalition must now challenge each other for mating rights.
The downfall of the powerful often comes from within.
Reminds me of this Reddit thread on the woes of the ultra rich. [Scroll down to a1988eli’s reply!]
During the hottest time of the day, we nap like the big cats:
5pm visiting a tourist attraction:
Overhearing different languages at a touristy spot happens on safari too. But it’s not so much human voices that overwhelm:
The monkeys are complaining about the leopard on the tree.
An impala ram is impatiently hooting at the ladies.
A pair of husband and wife African Fish Eagles are calling each other across the floodplains about dinner.
In the middle of the delta, the world is alive.
10pm time to sleep:
The Milky Way reappears and hippos begin to grunt near camp.
It’s been another full day away from the internet, but I feel more connected than ever.
This daily routine barely scratches the surface of the human experience of going on safari.
The behind the scenes is arguably more dramatic. But that’s a story for another time.
I highly recmmend exposing yourself to the African bug if you haven’t! It’s euphoric without the side effects. And if you’ve been, please share your experience!
Have a great week,
P.S. Where’s your favourite bush? Let me know in the comments!