Life these days is so materialistic, that we believe our happiness lays in the items and things we own. Buying these things is also not enough, we need to keep up with the latest and greatest, hence we need to regularly upgrade.
We believe we will achieve happiness when we upgrade to the latest cellphone, or that new camera lens that can zoom that 50 mm extra. We justify the need for these new products by coming up with excuses why we need to buy them and how the quality of our life will increase with the purchase of these items.
A wise man once said: "Ask yourself, is it a nice to have or must have?"
Don Tour Guide, Valkoog (Hawk Eye) and I were on our way back from Satara Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park to Tambotie Tented Camp. As usual we were looking for the elusive Leopard or Pangolin, but after a very poor day of sightings in the Kruger, I would have stopped for an Impala. There were not a lot of them either…
For us any wildlife sighting is a special one, and if there is movement we will stop. We didn't stop a lot that day.
About 15 kilometers from Tambotie tented camp, we saw a Volkswagen Polo parked on the wrong side of the road. A camera lens, as big as the Hubble Telescope, was sticking out of the car's window. With a lens like that, you can look back in space-time and see the Big Bang unfold.
(Personal Note: Upgrade Camera Lens...)
We slowly approached the parked car, as not to scare away any rare sighting or to infuriate the owner of this magnificent camera lens. While approaching the car, we could see the shape of the person in the car taking form. We were all shocked to see it was a young woman sitting all alone in the car, just staring at the open savanna in front of her.
Now there is nothing wrong for a young beautiful woman sitting alone in a car in the middle of the Kruger National Park; however it is not something you come across every day. You might have a better chance to see the Stormers win a Super 15 final...
She just gave us a glance as though we are infringing in her space. It was clear that she could see what was lurking in the grass as she did not once look away. One could see the tension of her grip on the camera, ready to take the photo.
She was like a Wild African Cat, ready to pounce on her unsuspecting pray.
We clearly could not see what she saw, and then looked back at our own rare, special sighting of the day. And what a sighting it was I must add.(Personal Note: Upgrade Don Tour Guide ...)
All of a sudden we could hear the distinctive call of the "Red-crested Korhaan". At once the three off us had cameras in hand ready to take a photo. The only question was:
"Where is the bird?"
Don Tour Guide decided to start communicating with her and asked in his best Sunday English with a strong Afrikaans accent, and lack of vocabulary.
"Do you saw a Boskorhaan?" (Afrikaans speaking people just can't get those tenses sorted.)
"Excuse me..." was the ice cold response he got from her.
Don Tour Guide realized his mistake for not knowing the appropriate name of a "Boskorhaan" in English, and muster up the last of his courage which was quickly fading.
"Is it a bird in the bush?" he asked with a look of dismay.
"Sorry, do you speak English?" she responded at once with a look of amazement.
By this time Valkoog and I were rolling on the floor of the car laughing. We also tried to hide away as to not be associated with Don Tour Guide.
Why she after all this commotion still showed us the African Wild Cat, I will never know but I believe it is because she has that natural qualities a Don Tour Guide should have. Or was it out of pity...
We quickly took some photos of the African Wild Cat and decided it is time to make a run for it.
The last 10 kilometers back to Tambotie was the longest in Don Tour Guide’s life. Valkoog and I recounted the dialog that took place a number of times. We kindly reminded him of his failed attempt at courtship. We also swore that when we got back home, we are going to look for an upgrade on our current "Tour Guide" model. We prefer the new model series that was released. At least if there is nothing to see the whole day, you can look at your Tour Guide.
Later that night the three of us sat next to the fire trying to stay warm. Even with my new upgraded, top of the range cellphone, I struggled to talk to my wife, Patatjie, who stayed at home the weekend. It is always at night in the Kruger that I miss her the most.
It is then that I realized that you do not need fancy gadgets or upgrades. All you need is friends and people who care and love you for who you are.