Sit back, relax. Snuggle down into your chair and enjoy this special virtual safari with veteran of the South African wilds, Mike Behr.
If you've been wanting to go on safari, then you'll want this to be the man who takes you. If you hadn't even thought of it, this will make you want to and, if you would love to go on safari but can't right now, then reading through this special man's anecdotes and warm, African memories will be the next best thing.
Mike will arrange every type of safari across Southern Africa, tailor-made to suit your requirements and budget. In addition, he and his wife, Paddy, run a comfortable, well-established Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Durban North, making this a truly "best of all worlds" facility.
To get started on your African adventure, call Mike now on 031 573 1944 or send him a fax on 031 563 6763. Alternatively email him or visit his website to see everything that he has to offer.
Our adventure with the Mongoose was unforgettable. Watching the animal tormenting the King Cobra, encircling the deadly poisonous snake, darting in, biting with lightening speed, then quickly darting out of reach of the almost equally lightening strikes of the cobra. The dodging of the snake's fangs made David ask me where the small animal had learnt to tackle such a formidable foe. I explained about the highly developed instincts of the wild African animals and their total reliability on such instinct to ensure their very survival. David and the others listened with an awe that I am well used to seeing on these trips. To them this is all new, but even after a lifetime in the African bush I still feel that same awe myself. My life. My passion. The same passion that has led me to discover and become so familiar with the wilderness and its ways. I suppose you could say it's in my blood.
There is something about the African bush though. It changes people. I've been on hundreds of safaris with people from every point on the map and it's always the same. They start out with nothing on their minds but the big-5, but by the end of it, even the smallest creatures have come to have high impact. The dung-beetle adventure (that's how Paddy and I fondly refer to it) is a classic example.
We had a group of Germans with us on that trip. Hardened travellers who had been on numerous safaris before coming to us. When we started out it was the usual, "you're sure we'll see lions?" and, "can you get us close to some elephants?". Paddy and I looked at each other and tried to hide our smiles.
By the end of the trip they had seen their lions (mating, no less) and been close enough to the elephants and rhino to thrill even them, but the one thing that captivated the campfire talk on the last night was the dung-beetle adventure.
At first when I stopped the 4X4 they all started turning this way and that, trying to see why I had stopped, but seeing nothing. When I pointed to the edge of the dirt track just ahead of us, they finally realised what we had stopped for. Fifty or more dung beetles frantically scurrying around fresh elephant droppings, as industrious as the honey bees and the ant colonies that had built the towering anthills we'd seen the day before.
Their highly developed sense of smell had them into those football-sized droppings within minutes of the elephant passing by. The group actually fell silent for a moment as they watched these incredible creatures scraping, moulding and eventually rolling away dung balls four or five times their own size. I remember the one ball in particular, as big as a tennis ball, with five beetles pushing and shoving and generally all trying to claim sole ownership. Only two of them had built that ball and here were three others laying claim to their handiwork.
Almost a touch of the more unsavoury side of human nature there .... but I digress.
That trip turned out very different to what the group had arrived expecting. Nobody had ever taken the time to really help them develop bush-eyes before. Without them the African bushveld is almost meaningless unless a lion or elephant happened to walk right up and tap you on the shoulder. Nor had they ever looked at more than just the big and obvious. For the first time they actually saw the bushveld and the thousands of amazing little creatures that help make up the bigger picture and keep the African bush in natural balance. All the little un-noticed insects and nondescript small birds " little brown jobbies " (LBJs) that all of a sudden took on new meaning to this group of burly Germans.
That's the part of it I really love. Watching people connect. Seeing them see and watching them lose their sophistication and jadedness in the innocence of the bush.
Paddy has just been to the post office and interrupted me to show me a letter. I feel a thrill as I read it. It's from Alec and Roset, the honeymoon couple who were with us a month ago. I'll share a paragraph with you: "when you and Paddy promised to try and spot a Cheetah for us on our first day out, I really didn't hold out much hope. Well, it didn't happen on the first day, but it certainly happened! - Nothing could have prepared me for it and I know that if you were not with us, we wouldn't have seen any of it. If you hadn't so cannily sensed what was coming, well, who knows. I'm sure you remember what I'm talking about but I also know that you do a lot of safaris, so maybe you don't.
You got us into position to see that Cheetah mother stalk the unsuspecting Impala ram and only when it was too late to get away, did it sense the Cheetah's ambush. Roset grabbed my arm so hard her nails left imprints when the Impala made its desperate dash. Then the blur of spotted lightning as the cheetah pounced on the prey's back legs, the expert tripping of the galloping animal and the fateful lunge at the impala's neck, the violent struggle as she hung on to the throat, the panic stricken bleating of the antelope in its last struggle before succumbing to the strangling, ever tightening grip of the cheetah. It was horrible, yet beautiful. I don't think I could ever try to explain how I felt as we watched the kicking Impala slowly stop its kicking and thrashing until it was quite still. Still the grip on the throat wasn't loosened. It was only when she was satisfied that her prey was secure that she let go and stood up to observe her meal. I remember the silence that followed as she slowly looked around her, listening for any potential threat before she lay down to rest. I'm not too sure how, but in some way that changed me. I felt something I have never felt before. Small yet big at the same time. As I said, hard to explain."
The letter goes on and on, but I won't bore you. He says he and Roset want to write a book about their adventures and I hope they do. He writes pretty well, I think. His letter has certainly brought that incident clearly back into focus for me. I remember Roset had tears in her eyes because of the Impala and Alec asked me why the cheetah waited for such a long time after the kill instead of just digging in.
I explained how her body temperature and blood pressure had risen so dramatically with the exertion of the hunt that she had to wait until she had restored normal pressure and temperature before she could start on her meal.
While I was whispering this to them, we watched her expertly hiding the Impala under the Acacia thicket. Then she started her calling and ....
keep reading ...
Mike will arrange every type of safari across Southern Africa, tailor-made to suit your requirements and budget, along with stop-over accommodation in his well-established Bed and Breakfast. To get started on your African adventure, contact him now on 031 573 1944, Fax 031 563 6763. Alternatively email him or visit his website to see everything that he has to offer.