Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kings Camp


Today, I flew out with my group to the Timbavati game reserve. Most of my group is staying in the spectacular Kings Camp lodge, which consists of eleven cabins, along with the dining room, etc. I was slightly surprised to see on the reservations list that I had been placed in a room together with Rabbi Yoni Isaacson, the tour operator. But I figured that since we are both here without our wives, it would be cheaper to house us both in the same cabin.

Upon entering my cabin, I was in awe of the decor - see the picture below. I was simultaneously horrified to discover that it was the honeymoon suite - with a king-size bed, and a bath that had already been filled with hot water and bubbles and candles placed around it, with a sign next to it saying "Natan and Yoni - Rejoice!"



To my immense relief, R. Yoni informed me that he would be sleeping elsewhere. 

In the evening, we headed out on our first game drive. I've been on numerous game drives before, but this one was my best yet. We saw impala, steenbok (not the steenbok mentioned by Rashi in Chullin, which is an ibex, but rather a type of tiny antelope), nyala, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, vervet monkeys, baboons, civet, genet, warthog, hare, elephant, hornbills, vulture, zebra, leopard, and lion! Here are pictures that I took of buffalo, vulture, and lion:
 


As I told my group, if you want to see the animals of the Torah today, Africa is the place to see many of them!

(It's also amazing to be writing this post on a wi-fi connection in the middle of the African wilderness!)

8 comments:

  1. Any chance you can milk a giraffe there?

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  2. Your wife isn't with you? No wonder you fed the Hyena!

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  3. Temujin apologizes for the somewhat off-topic question, but among the local helpers, guides and workers in the parks and lodges, has the Rabbi met-up with any of the remnants or descendants of the San people, Gikwe or !Kung, commonly (and unflatteringly) referred to as the "bushmen"? Their incredible, once pristine hunter-gatherer culture, with its unbelievable survival skills in desert and scrubland and their knowledge of animals was already breaking down in the days of Richard B. Lee and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Today, it seems, they are scattered as pastoralists, ranch workers and park employees, having lost much of their skills, language and local knowledge. and this man wonders whether there is anything left of it...even a few stories. One imagines that even a modernized, settled San may provide Rabbi Slifkin with valuable hints on some of the biblical animals.

    To witness a San hunt with the poison arrow and days-long tracking, and to watch a group of women gather barely visible roots, tiny berries and bitter melons in the bush has been one of Temujin's foremost dreams. He knows though that he is too late.

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  4. That lion has a smug, self-satisfied look about him. I can't help but be reminded of the old rhyme about another carnivore in a different part of Africa (yes, I know, you won't really find any tigers there):

    There once was a lady from Niger
    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
    They came back from the ride
    With the lady inside
    And the smile on the face of the tiger.

    Enjoy the rest of your safari!

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  5. That honeymoon suite story is too much...has the gay marriage movement spread to Africa or are they assuming that most Westerners are gay?

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  6. Did buffalo ever live in Israel? I know aurochs did.

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