The Day Venessa Got Shat On By A Monkey

Today we went on safari.  And a Colobus monkey shit on Venessa’s back.

Wild Animals Next 50 kms

It’s been a week of haggling for Venessa and me – roommates here at the convent, and this week’s Entertainment Committee.  We finally decided on a tour operator and came to a satisfactory price for our safari in Mikumi National Park.  This morning we gathered the troops at 4:45am (Okay, I admit, I had nothing to do with the gathering. I was the last one out the door).  Venessa informed me it was the earliest she’s ever gotten up, excluding all-nighters, and proceeded to start singing “In the Jungle”.

We rolled into the park a little after 6:30 and immediately saw giraffes, zebras and impala.  It was a sign of a sweet day to come.  In our “enhanced 4WD” vehicles, we had roofs that lifted, which completely made my day.  I was able to perch on the roof, binoculars and camera handy, squealing like a little girl especially when we saw: 1. baby animals 2. zebras 3. animals running.  Unfortunately I missed the ultimate “animal running” moment – a full-grown elephant charged the second vehicle in our group!!!  No harm done.

Griaffes at Mikumi

Zebras in Mikumi

Lunch was burgers at the restaurant near the park gate – also near a watering hole where, as we ate, we watched elephants, water buffalo, impala and zebras drink and bathe.  It was incredible.  The elephants splashed water up over their backs, then moved to a sandy area and threw sand on themselves as well!  The zebras interested me the most (anything that resembles a horse, of course).  The small herd (about 7) approached so carefully, the male coming first while the rest waited some way back.  He checked both sides of the pond and did a retreat-return before deciding it was safe.  One slow step at a time, he came up and drank.  I was close enough to see the birds roaming on his back, neck and shoulder, and to make out a deep scar on his right butt cheek.  One female stayed directly behind him, alert, while the herd grazed, and one more stayed further back surveying the scene.  Only the male, one female and a younger zebra drank, then they moved off and took turns rolling in the sand.  Although I’m sure I would have been nearly as happy watching a herd of riding ponies, stripy wild equids with elephants and buffalo in the background were super, super cool.

Elephants in Mikumi

Me in the hugest baobab

After lunch we drove to the hugest baobab tree I’ve ever seen and climbed it.  I love climbing trees, I love baobabs, and I was outrageously happy.  Then, to top it all off, someone on the ground yelled “there’s a monkey at the top of the tree!”  The six of us in the tree didn’t believe it, because we’d just been joking about a leopard being up there or a lion lurking at the bottom.  You guessed it… there actually was a black and white Colobus monkey up there, not appreciating our presence so much, and as Venessa was climbing down he released the nastiest smelling slimiest shit… which landed on her.  Then it leaped wildly from branch to branch, to the next tree over, and catapulted itself what looked like 2 stories to the ground.

What a day.  Too much sun, zebras, water buffalo, hippos, crocodile, wildebeest, elephants, warthogs, two types of giraffe, impalas, baboons, eland, giant hornbills, lots of colourful birds, a few geckos, baobab trees, good company and beautiful African savannah… perfect.  I won’t begrudge the lack of lions, hyenas or African wild dogs (my ultimate fav – but sadly rare).  It was worth the haggling, and the stench of monkey shit.

Mikumi National Park

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