Here is the thing, really no amount of running through Florida forests, albeit with snakes, alligators, flying things that could carry a newborn, and the horrid Flannel Moth Caterpillar(no it does not hide in lumberjack clothing rather hangs out in Oak hammocks and packs a wallop of a sting when it drops onto ones saddle and is covered with a gripped thigh) can come close to preparing you for what lies-in-wait in the Serengeti.
Let me just say now, the organisers of this event had to walk a very, very thin line of giving us adequate information to not walk into the mouth of a lion, on the one hand and on the other hand, keep our spirits buoyed for the spectacular sights that would unfold before us every day. It was the first time I ever thought ADD would come in handy.(and I apologize regarding the use of commas two sentences ago, re-read at a pace that works for you).
Perhaps the most apt analogy for those of you that are more urban, North-American dwellers would be… you know when you have folk over for dinner, and they help wash-up the dishes, then they dry them, and then they look at you bewildered as to where each piece of cutlery and flat ware should go? And you patiently direct them to cupboard after cupboard, drawer after drawer, until you realize it would be easier to do it yourself…however, in the bush if one inadvertently puts the soup spoon in with the forks you just might find a near-sighted, olfactory enhanced buffalo pinning you to the ground(no joke, it happened, just not on our trip). It is not possible to underestimate the importance of following directions in the bush.
Enough of my ramblings, let’s watch some video of the Friday night sundowners chat by the handsome Stephen Cunliffe(yes, the charming husband to the Rodeo Drive worthy Ms.Cunliffe). Here he is – in silhouette no less- politely encouraging those of us who heretofore considered the bush to be either blooming or non, not to hesitate to tell our elite scouts(who have spent every moment of their lives out-maneuvering the game of the Serengeti) when we feel uncomfortable with the herd of buffalo tickling the hairs on our necks. (And at the risk of losing my readership of 2 altogether, let me just say I have video proof to come that not one person in our merry band ever hesitated to seek the shelter of a scout or vehicle in the presence of lion, elephant or buffalo). Stephen the Diplomat.
OK, so maybe that video was not so clear here is one the next day at our pre-run briefing.(and this I captured in light and color!) Katherine briefing Part One. And if you are itching to know what other two animals round out the big three to watch out for… Katherine briefing Part Two.
And after this briefing we went out and saw lions with a kill and then snoozing, hyenas come in and stand in line for leftovers, a bird only its mother could love queue up behind the hyenas, and of course the warm and fuzzy zebras, wildebeest, and Topies. On the way home we hung out with the Ellies for awhile, however, my feelings for them had changed ever so slightly in light of my new found knowledge.
And with good reason, here is the morning briefing before our Day 1 run in full color and sunlight! video. Now, as we are heading towards the end of the post, and as promised, here are the slightly rough videos of what actually happens when the danger situation occurs. Please note how well everyone one of us follows directions!
The merry and clueless band heads out. This was shot about 1km in to the 90km run. (hence my words of proclamation may have been a bit premature…) video
The confirmation that the earlier briefing was spot-on. Step One – Get close to each other. video
Step Two- Get in. video
Step Three – How to pass elephants when out on your next run. video
And because it is the end of a post here is your silly out-take. Just making sure I answer everyone’s questions… video
Oh wait, here are some pictures of the evening drive. I do hope your synapses are starting to fire on the somewhat hilarity of this all. In the afternoons we take in all the animals that we will run by the next day. Sort of like, ‘hey see the lions with their kill?’ and someone asks ‘how often do they kill?’ and the answer, ‘oh every three days or so’ and I think perfect, there are 4 lions I do not have to worry about, now can we see the other 984?