The Trouble with Africa: Stories from a safari camp, by Vic Guhrs
I do not know what Africa is really saying to me, but it speaks. (C. G. Jung, in a letter to his wife, 1920). If you've are nuts for safari and Africa or you just like good adventure stories, check Vic Guhrs's The Trouble with Africa: Stories from a safari camp.
The trouble with Africa,' says a truck driver with a Cape accent, 'is that it is so unpredictable. You can never rely on anything going as planned.' He points down to the water and across the river to the opposite shore where the Kazungula ferry lies stranded, its wheelhouse pointing into the afternoon sky at a crazy angle. Behind him, a long line of eighteen-wheelers stretches up the track that winds through the trees up the hill to the main road. All around us, four-by-fours and trucks are parked in the large rutted clearing in front of the ferry ramp. The truck drivers are standing around in clusters, smoking, talking and kicking their boots in the dirt; some are huddled in the cabs of their trucks. We are all waiting, resigned. The sun has crushed the fight and indignation out of us. Down by the river herons stand in the shallows and egrets swoop low in formations that look as if they have been choreographed. Somewhere upstream hippos grunt. The man from the Cape, curly haired with uneven teeth very white against his biscuit-coloured skin, rolls his eyes skywards and draws up his shoulders in an exaggerated gesture of helplessness. 'I mean, look at it. Jissis, man, that thing's been there since yesterday. When are they going to pull their fingers out of their bums and fix it?' He kicks a small stone, sending it scuttling down towards the water's edge. Ag, what's the use. Might as well try and teach a baboon to fly a jumbo jet.'
He is talking to a big white man with a dirty blue T-shirt stretched tight over his stomach and a green peaked cap with 'John Deere' labels. 'Ja, man, I feel like going back and trying the Zimbabwe route. Get across at Vic Falls. But I know the Zim guys are gonna hammer me with visa fees and insurance and stuff He hitches up his shorts and pulls a crumpled cigarette pack out of one pocket, a lighter out of the other. Jislaaik, the last thing I need is more of these sweaty customs guys crawling all over my truck.' He lights the cigarette, inhales deeply, and watches the smoke slowly curl away. I look around as another truck comes grinding down the track with hissing brakes to join the queue. Most of us have been here before, and we know that eventually the problem will be fixed, so we wait. One thing Africa teaches you is patience. Someone starts handing round warm beers. The sharp sting of marijuana smoke hits me on a dusty breeze. A card game has broken out in the cast-blue shade of a truck. I find a patch of shade of my own against the wheel of my Land Cruiser and close my eyes. In my head I find myself humming an old Cat Stevens song, 'Miles from nowhere'. I brush at an insect and rub my hand against my cheek. I am sunburned and need a shave. And some sleep. When I hear footsteps approaching, I open one eye and slide my hand to my shirt pocket for my passport, an old habit. It is the Cape truck driver. He thrusts a beer at me. [...]
This is an excerpt from The Trouble with Africa: Stories from a safari camp, by Vic Guhrs.
Title: The Trouble with Africa
Subtitle: Stories from a safari camp
Author: Vic Guhrs
Genre: Travel report
Publisher: The Penguin Group (South Africa)
Cape Town, South Africa, 2010
ISBN 9780143025269 / ISBN 978-0-14-302526-9
Paperback, 13 x 20 cm, 243 pages
Guhrs, Vic im Namibiana-Buchangebot
The Trouble with Africa: wonderful stories of life in Zambia by a German married to the daughter of the man responsible for a safari camp in eastern Zambia.