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Kian Barker
Shakabarker Tours

Kian Barker



Teaching Einstein the Alphabet

Greetings and Salutations,

With every night we head out into the darkness of iSimangaliso, a small ceremony takes place. This is apart from the big one. The big one is giving a detailed run down on the ecological importance of iSimangaliso garnished with a little history and the future plans for this remarkable area. It is vast and complex. A night safari merely scratches the surface. Some return for more, others tell other to visit.

This anecdote is about the shorter ceremony, a quick one that can make or break a night safari. Essentially after the ceremonial intro and history I need to choice a person that will help with the back spot light. This briefing is one on one and entails the most effective use of a spot light, signaling to me when an animal is spotted and switching off the night when it is not needed especially when looking at stars and any surrounding light tends to interfere with natural starlight. Fairly easy, but it usually takes a while before a spotlighter becomes competent with the effect art of spot light operation. The whole process when done properly can appear choreographed.

A couple of nights ago we were all set to go, I had completed both briefings and we fired up the mog and headed towards the Cape Vidal gate. Well each time I stopped the vehicle the back spotlight went off at the perfect time, the person operating it managed to follow all my interactions and suggestions. What a pleasure I thought. Could not be easier. Plus, and this was a big plus, there are stacks of buck in our Park. In fact the most densely populated population of bush buck in the World! And often is the case that an appointed spotlighted signals every bushbuck. Enthusiasm is one thing, but after the 35th bushbuck it becomes a little too much. So after a well executed first half of the tour, we stopped for hot chocolate and I asked the blue eyed blonde (I kid you not), where she learnt to operate a spotlight and it turned out that she was a guide in one of the local game reserves!! I felt a bit of a klutz, especially since I had gone into great detail when explaining spotlight operation. I was like teaching Einstein the alphabet when he was already formulating theories in quantum physics!

Hasta la vista

The Knait Whrydah

Posted by Kian Barker

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