Wednesday, September 15, 2010

World Cup Diary - Part 3

The World Cup fever hadn't quite gripped Rustenburg. We went to the FIFA Fan Fest one day. We'd been to the one at Darling Harbour before leaving Australia. I was turned away because it was too packed. This was at 4am on a Monday morning, in the freezing cold of winter in Australia. People were packed in to see Australia get smashed by Germany!
Here we were in the heart of the World Cup, at a reasonable hour, watching Chile play Honduras. We only counted about 15 people there. The DJ was fantastic, he played great music sets at half time. The game was amazing, Chile play some wonderful, expansive, direct football with players like Alexis Sanchez, Vidal (Sasoon), Isla, and Jara combining so well.

And so we travel to Nelspruit in the hopes of finding more festivity and welcoming a change of scenery. I have used Google Maps to book our accommodation and found some difficulties in getting places in Nelspruit. We end up at our hostel and it is about an hour and a half from the stadium. Koomatiport is right on the border of Mozambique and near the Crocodile Gate to Kruger National Park.

We get to our place and then taken up to our rooms. My face turns ashen. I definitely asked for a double room, I'm sure of it. It's a honeymoon room. It is a loft style, there is a king sized bed, a desk, a small 2 seater couch, and big windows that overlook the living area. We can't change the room. I look pretty angry, there's nothing we can do about it though. Ray suggests putting a line down the middle and making sure we face away from each other. After five minutes, he's crossed the line and facing towards me. I creep away from him in terror and try to fall asleep. My night is fitful, I can't sleep too well. At one point, I do fall asleep. Then I wake in the middle of the night, sore, and find myself curled up trying to squeeze into the 2 seater couch.

We got to go on a safari which was pretty amazing. The safari started at 5 am and by 10 am we had seen all of the big 5 (the most dangerous animals to humans: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino). The leopards were the hardest to spot, even when it was pointed out to me I couldn't quite see it. All I could see was a series of spots swiftly disappearing into the bushes away from us. Kruger is amazing and you feel so much at peace there.

I don't know why people want to see the most dangerous animals. Fear is pretty interesting. I wonder what would happen if a lion attacked me. Would I freeze up? Would my survival instincts take over? It seems we live today so far removed from these instincts but every now and then we are reminded of them. Sometimes it actually makes you feel alive.

From our guide we learn that:
Leopards are the most dangerous animals. They will attack from the side and you will not see or hear them coming. They leap and will aim for your neck, killing you instantly.

Lions will give you a chance. If you go on their territory, they will growl and roar and mock charge you. If you are still stupid enough to go through it, they will kill you. Lions mock charge because they are interested in self-preservation. Most lions don't have the taste of humans quite yet, but she says that some are learning the taste and figure them to be a good, easy prey.

Ostriches will go for your belly to disembowel you, so if you are attacked by them, curl up in a ball and then you will only have a cut back.

Hippos have bad eyesight. Zebras are colour-blind. When I asked her how they knew this, she didn't have a clue.

A few years ago in Kruger, a rangers wife was killed by lions. She used to do a regular jog during the day. Lions don't really ever attack humans or come near the camps but they do pick up on routines. One day they attacked her and for a few years after that, they did not have any more guided walks in Kruger because it was too dangerous.

1 comment:

  1. Praveen Kumar DuraisamyOctober 8, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    wow, safari would be amazing! and it's interesting to know that Leopards more are dangerous than Lions and Tigers! :)