The guide told us that

by francine Hardaway on February 25, 2005

The guide told us that on the primate trail, which heads into the jungle down a gorge, we would see five kinds of primates: babboons, globus monkeys (monkeys in tuxedos), vervet monkeys (taupe, standard), red-tailed monkeys, and chimps. The chimps are hardest to see, because they signal each other when danger is approaching and go underground.

Well, we hiked for over three hours, and never saw or heard hide or hair of a chimp. And why not? Twelve novices and a guide, tramping through the jungle singing songs from Broadway shows and giggling. Even a deaf chimp should have hid. But we did get a chance to try our luck at crossing a river on a big log, and we saw the babboons (who practically came out to greet us) and the tuxedoed monkeys. And a huge African python. And a million different vines. Several times I was Jane. It was a tough hike, and at the end of it we were ready for a swim.

So our van headed off to Jacana Safari Lodge, another lodge in the park, to have a drink and cool in the pool. Jacana, opened in 1998, has no air conditioning and has been built entirely of pine and eucalytpus in designs and materials that do as little as possible to impact the environment. It’s right on Jacana Lake, and it is gorgeous.

The other van loaded up for more fun and games on a forest walk, where they entered a bat cave and saw a cobra and two pythons. In the meantime, our lazy selves saw the vervet monkeys and the red-tailed monkeys.

And on the way home, a huge (in every sense) herd of elephants off for a swim in the river. Elephants do swim.

You get such a kick out of being so close to so many animals that you have only seen in books, that you totally forget about insects, dust and heat. Sort of

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