Why did the Chameleon Cross the Road?

On our first day in the Kruger National Park, on our way from Numbi gate to Berg-en-Dal rest camp, we were driving at a leisurely pace, following closely behind another car that seemed to be heading the same way we were. 

At one point, we saw movement in the bushes next to the road and stopped while the other car continued onwards. We were in luck – a rhino was having lunch right by the side of the road. We watched as it grazed and had a perfect view as it crossed the road right in front of us. Not long after, it disappeared back into the brush and we moved on.


It didn’t take us long to catch up to the car ahead of us. It was parked in a dip in the road and the guy in the driver’s seat held his hand out the window to indicate that we should stop. Excitedly, we scanned the bushes to try and find what they were looking at. Another rhino? An elephant perhaps, they’d been quite elusive so far? This is leopard country, could we be that lucky? But no, we couldn’t see anything.

After a few minutes we decided to move on. We turned the car on again and started maneuvering around theirs. The guy’s hand shot out the window – stop! Suddenly, his girlfriend who’d been sitting in the passenger seat opened her door and jumped out of the car! Gareth and I was shocked speechless. Everyone knows the first rule of the Kruger Park is to never, ever get out of your car. While she walked over to us I had visions of lions suddenly leaping from out of nowhere and dragging her off into the bushes.

“Look!” she exclaimed, not pointing into the trees as we’d expected, but on the ground right next to their car. A tiny, bright yellow chameleon was trying to cross the road. Back and forth it swayed, putting one foot down, then taking it back again, as if unsure if this really was the best thing to be doing right now. Back and forth, back and forth it went. For every one step forward, it took two steps back. We sat there, probably close to twenty minutes, waiting for the little fellow to cross the road!

As soon as he was safely on the other side, the girl got back into the car (to our great relief) and we set off again together. We would never know why the chameleon had decided to cross the road, but we were incredibly privileged to see him do it.

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