Walking home from work today, it struck me: perhaps there isn’t that much difference between the wildlife in Africa, and the wild life that swarmed towards and past me.


There were the herds of commuters, heads down and armed with determined expressions and the sure and swift steps of people with somewhere to go that was other than where they were at that moment. In their typical dark clothes and en masse, they reminded me somewhat of the herd of buffalo that we had seen not long ago, stubbornly on the march and grazing energetically.

Then there were the more scattered sets of tourists, family groups, bachelor herds and such, craning their necks upward, around and everyway to get a better look at a landmark or, if lost, a street sign. This species is easily identified not only by this behaviour, their ever-present photo and video devices, but also their colourful livery.

Inevitably in New York, you must pass the signature folks; people who don’t fit into the crowd, who, while physically the same as the rest of the herd, will choose to stand apart and possibly adopt unusual behaviour. This ranges from trying to instantaneously convert passersby to any number of brand of religion (Christianity, Scientology, the Muslim Brotherhood etc), to converting passers by into cash donations.

Such people reminded me strongly of three Black Wildebeest we happen to make the acquaintance of during our amazing stay at Amakhala Game Reserve. Speaking of which, if you’re going to South Africa and a) want to have a fabulous game experience and, b) wish to do so without experiencing the potentially liver-taxing, psychotic state-inducing anti-malarial medication side-effects, then Amakhala you *must!*

But back to the beasties. Each had taken it into their head that they did not wish to roam around with their wildebeesty kind. Two had decided that they were in fact, a different kind of animal all together, choosing to join up with and act exactly like the herds of red hartebeest antelope they took up with!

Ahh yes, my safari through the heart of Manhattan turned up so many familiar game animals, from the aggressive ostrich types coming at you with their shopping bags and finery, to the slower browser/grazer variety. The only thing missing was the sun, the sounds and that indescribable smell of the plains.

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