“Come look quickly!” Gareth called quietly, but urgently, from our porch at the Chobe Safari Lodge where I was taking a respite from the heat by reading my Kindle inside our air-conditioned room. I put my book down and went outside to be met by this:
A troop of mongooses were cavorting on the lawn, joined shortly thereafter by a mischievous group of monkeys and two warthogs snuffling the ground in search of tasty titbits. The mongooses were running back and forth, playing with each other, seemingly unafraid of the people who came out to watch and take pictures of their antics. I sat down to watch the spectacle, a huge grin on my face.
I kept a close eye on the monkeys. Earlier that morning, a disgruntled neighbour with a German accent had knocked on our door and told us not to leave any windows open, because the monkeys had gotten into his room and stolen some food. We assured him we would be careful. After all, we’ve had a run-in with long-fingered simians before and were well acquainted with their kleptomaniac tendencies.
While most of the monkeys were dangling from the treetops or grooming each other, one of them was sitting quietly watching the mongooses, who at that point were all bundled together in a big group. It took a tentative step closer to them, sat down and watched them for a bit, then moved closer and closer and then suddenly darted in and cheekily pulled the tail of one of the mongooses. The offended creature hissed loudly, but could do nothing but try to blend into the bundle better. This soon turned into a fun game for the monkey, who darted back and forth playfully pulling tails left, right and centre, while the mongooses squirmed and roiled and tried their best to maintain some semblance of dignity. It took quite a while before the monkey got bored and decided to leave them in peace.
And this is why I love Africa. Where else does one get the chance to watch these animals interact, sometimes in the most unexpected ways, right on your doorstep?
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