An out-of-this-world experience
My second game drive began shortly after lunch, and this time I was ensconced in a private SUV with Cindy taking the wheel. It was a fruitful endeavour: we chanced upon tortoises, dung beetles which we gave right of way to, and even a Cape buffalo.
The buffalo was relishing the blades of grass, looking every bit docile and unimposing despite its size. Yet, a cautionary tone crept into Cindy’s usually-dulcet voice, and I became very mindful I was only a guest in the beast’s home. Persona non grata perhaps, but for now it gave me leave to stay.
Shortly after, we left the buffalo to its sustenance and arrived at a vast expanse of open land. Yonder, a family of elephants treated themselves to a pool of water. Cindy manoeuvred the car so that we stayed on the left side of the pebbled road.
And then, the elephants came lumbering towards us, the thudding of their footsteps pounding louder with every heartbeat. I felt my fate hang in limbo: gaining in speed they were with every stride, and speed augmented their already-massive strength. This herd of ten elephants was headed in my direction, and whether their intention was malicious or not I could not guess. I was now at the mercy of these wild creatures.
Suddenly, a smaller elephant — but still dwarfing our vehicle — broke rank, went right and passed the front of our SUV. Its floppy ears, short tail and wrinkles against a grey hide were in full sight. It paid no attention to us, driven only by its motivation to head forward. Mere seconds later, the rogue elephant reunited with its family. Their heavy limbs whipped up sand as they moved, like wind stirring up dust.
I had survived the charge of the Mûmakil. Very fleetingly I was one with the gargantuan creatures, and the visceral experience was something I had hitherto never felt before. It is a feeling I will continue to chase for the rest of my life.