Generally our tours are couples and small families traveling together. This means that on any particular night or day there is a “getting to know each other” on the vehicle or boat. Sometimes there are a few families that travel together. When these families reach St. Lucia the parents and kids are pretty well acquainted. Parents engage in the usual dead rooted conversation, whereas their kids are in a different level of conversation. Conversation that I can only describe as social media induced verbal discourse. Conversation seems constantly updated and fired up by each and every kid that is on the web- Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and any other trending social media tool.
In August we get half the world visiting St. Lucia and in this case we had four families on our vehicle with a lot of social media bonding that had taken place. Kids sat at the back of the vehicle and their parents in the front section. Silence lasted for part of my introduction, with intermittent glows from the back of the night drive vehicle as each and every kid connected to the Internet and harvest 'to talk about info'. Once my intro was done the verbal gates opened and social events of the world were verbalized and laid to rest or whatever happened to such information. It often didn't not seem the quality, “just talk about it”; eventually someone would say something and back to the phones they went. Well I could see there was a little challenge coming up and possibly the largest generation gap ever experienced by mankind was like 'now!'
Fortunately parents managed to exert some control over the banter and chatter at the back of my vehicle; serval, buffalo, hyena never made a difference. Even the amazing stars had little or no effect. Finally silence arrived, but then for everyone, silence was essential and close to being a situation; if anyone did not concentrate on the events outside the vehicle, they would not have been able to post anything on any social media or post the event to the point that they may have missed some critical points. This was during an amazing night drive that produced some really noteworthy sightings and at every sighting - parents attempting to shush their or collectively the children at the back of my Unimog.
Well, as we drove down vlei loop, a very productive section of the Cape Vidal game tracks on the Eastern Shores, we chanced upon a female white rhino about ten meters from the road. “Nice”, I thought, good sighting, but not so nice as the “social media chatter” went unabated. Suddenly to the right of me I heard a crunching and munching barely meters from my Unimog. Swinging my spotlight to the right I discovered a black rhino barely three meters from us. Silence was immediate and everyone seemed to realize how important it was to be quiet. I thought, “Yup, all the kids were formulating social media posts.” Dead silence filled the back of my game drive truck.
There I found it, an interim cure for social media chatter; sandwich yourself between two rhinos in the middle of a dark night, in Africa and the results can be quite astounding.
The Knait Whrydah