G. Rumpy’s Travel Tips: Safari

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Most disappointing. I undertook a trip to a game reserve with my dear wife, Gladys, in order to see animals. Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to misconceive that we didn’t see any – we did. We were even quite pleased with our first morning’s perlustration of the park, which yielded several sightings of zebras, giraffes and some funny things with short legs and horns. Our day was spoilt, however, when we stopped for a picnic lunch. Although our sandwiches were, for the most part, edible (bread and chicken), poor Gladys was horrified when she bit into her apple – it was rotten! Such a lack of organisation is inadmissible. Were a replacement to be provided, one would readily excuse a rotten apple as an unfortunate incident, but sadly this was not so. I explained to our guide that although it is far from her favourite fruit, Gladys would accept a plum by way of compensation, but even that, it seemed, was asking too much. Nevertheless, we put this regrettable occurrence behind us and continued our expedition.

It was, I’m afraid to say, extremely frustrating. In five days we saw just one rhinoceros, and even then at a distance that was totally unacceptable. The hippopotami, though closer, remained submerged in mud, such that all one saw was a hump which might as well have been a log. I concede that animals have their own peculiar habits, but when one pays as much as we did, it’s not too much to ask that they be required to perform a lot better than they do. Although I am no fan of circuses, it has to be said that they spare no effort to get their charges to leap through hoops or balance balls on their noses, but because these beasts are ‘in the wild’, one is expected to let them ‘do their own thing’ (to use a barabarous expression). It’s political correctness gone mad.

At the other extreme, the elephants got too close. What good is a telephoto lens when a pachyderm of that nature is a mere five yards away? Our guide made not the slightest attempt to push the creature back, though a few yards would have sufficed for me to get it all in the frame. As for the zebras, they were far too numerous. Nothing resembles a zebra as much as another zebra, so to have so many of them is frankly pointless. Furthermore, my dear wife Gladys is allergic to stripes, which make her come out in spots, and although I had specifically mentioned this susceptibility when booking, no attempt had been made to sparsen the zebras.

Finally, the roads were not roads at all, but tracks, both bumpy and dusty. I therefore found it impossible to snooze and Gladys could not read. The admitted comfort of the safari lodges in the evening, which in all fairness I do not begrudge, did nothing to mitigate our deception. To anyone thinking of a safari, I recommend looking into an alternative. A David Attenborough DVD can be bought at a car boot sale for £2.50.

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