Went on safari this morning – 3 hours in the bush on foot, looking for whatever was out there with a ranger and a group of about 8 people.
We saw kob, bushbuck, water buck, warthogs (it’s hard not to see warthogs, there was a family of them trying to get into my bedroom when I came back today), red-throated bee eaters, and red ducks flying up out of a thicket with a noise like a magician shuffling a pack of cards.
And crocodiles, who are always waiting for something.
Watching the elephants go about their business was like watching the G8 get together. They’re stately, they take their time, everything stops for them.
You’ve seen them on TV, but they make a huge impression when you meet them.
Again, the people of Larabanga are less impressed by the elephants, and every now and then will kill one for the ivory.
But apparently the odds of success are slim: there are a phenomenally tough platoon of rangers who work here, who are like special forces when you see them go out after a poacher, sprinting through the bush in formation with their Lee Enfields at the ready. Apparently they are considered much tougher than the Ghanaian army (not hard to believe), who salute them when they meet.
As always, the value of life here is surprising – you get 10 years in prison for killing an elephant,
8 for an antelope and 6 for a warthog, but experience shows that if you get together and kill a person in the street, very little happens.
Similarly, one of the girls staying here just came down with malaria and went down to the clinic for medication, but somehow managed to annoy or bore the only nurse by trying to figure out how she could get to the hospital two hours away where they could actually test her blood for the disease. The taxi driver the clinic contacted wanted 800% of the standard fare for taking the girl with malaria to hospital, at which point the nurse got bored with the whole affair and decided to go home. Fortunately she was persuaded to come back a while later by one of the other staff, and eventually sold the girl the medicine. So the moral is that compared to a bushbuck, you are not that important and should wait your turn.
Nurses are similar to crocodiles, it turns out: they can bide their time because in the end, you need them more than they need you. Crocodiles are all over the place here, ready to eat anyone who comes along. They are some of the oldest creatures on earth, and they haven’t had to change their strategy in millions of years: everyone needs to drink sooner or later. When you come to the waterhole, they grab you.