Amazing Kids! Magazine

My Amazing African Safari

By Devan Dhillon, age 13

The waterfall was as blue as the bluest sky, and it fell in a veil of tears into a lake that disappeared into the horizon. The sun blazed in a relentless burning flame, cracking the earth into a giant puzzle. We sat in the Jeep in awe, our hearts bursting with the beauty before us. I live in a suburb by the sea, but nothing could compare to this kind of beauty. There was an untamed wildness to the African jungle that inspired wonder, and I felt lucky just to witness it.

Our safari guide revved the motor, and we bumped along in the golden grasslands to where a mother elephant was standing with her child who was the size of a motorcycle. We stopped twenty feet away from them, and my breath stopped in my chest as they approached us. She towered above us, staring at us, and then charged. But when she came within five feet, she abruptly turned and sauntered away.

“Whoa!” the guide exclaimed as we sat frozen in our seats. “Hah! She was just playing around,” the guide laughed.

Suddenly, she charged again. It was not a heartwarming sign that the guide looked scared. When she was a couple feet away from hitting us, he slapped the side of the truck hard with the palm of his hand. She screeched to a stop, heaving, and then turned away. We picked our hearts off the ground and continued on our way.

We rumbled along to a huge baobab tree where a leopard was dragging an antelope carcass up into the branches for his treetop feast. The silence was broken by the crunching of teeth against bone, and I sat there in jaw-dropped amazement. I had never witnessed, so close-up, the concept of survival of the fittest, and I felt vulnerable because I lacked razor sharp claws and teeth.

We returned to our wall-less hotel, a beautifully carved wooden structure that melted into the landscape. Under the stars, a chef was preparing a South African feast, tossing a yogurt-soaked antelope-like kudu on the grill until it sizzled. After rubbing the meat with salt and pepper, the chef gently lay bacon strips on top so that the flavor of the bacon melted into the tender meat. For a side for this succulent meat, a sous chef scooped melon balls into a large bowl, in which he sprinkled salt, pepper, muscatel wine, lemon juice, ground ginger, and mint. The table groaned under the weight of curried minced beef pies and baked custard, brandy pudding and roasted ostrich. We staggered back to our room, only to find the baboons pounding on our windows. We just laughed, because what else could you expect in Africa? We crawled into our cots to the chirping of crickets, safe from stampeding elephants and the crocodiles in the swamp.