Monday, 19 December 2011

"I think I saw an.....Erm!"

I think I saw a ……

Sometimes, when normally, sane people, first go on safari to Africa, they go a little bit nuts! Expectation holds no bounds and that first early morning trip into the bush, can become, well a little bit embarrasing!

It is cold, really cold and the sun is struggling to penetrate the laden grey sky. You are wrapped up, huddled up. You curse, because you have forgot your gloves. This is Africa right? It is not supposed to be like this! But, this doesn’t dampen your enthusiasm. You are keyed up, ready for the morning to unfold and reveal its secrets, just for you.

You are off, even at low speeds, the freezing wind stings your eyes, ears and nose. You stare hard at the trees flashing by. Unblinking they stare back and appear to close ranks, to conceal the very things you have travelled so far to see. Then there is a shout! A memeber of your party says they have seen something, but they are not quite sure what. “It is over there where I am pointing! By those trees, a bit to the left, next to that rock, in the yellow grass.” The grass stares back unmoving. People start to mutter, where exactly is it?

Typical Erm country in Kruger National Park.

Erms can be found in water, as well as land
Is it an Erm? Or something more sinister?
Well its there of course, it is an Erm, I think!”
In my experience Erms are quite elusive animals, masters of concealing themselves in the bush. Unbelievably, they are unique, in that they can metamorphose from a living creature, into something much more mundane, like a broken tree trunk, or even a rock!

Sometimes rocks can move!

What is extremely puzzling, is that these creatures are not covered by the field guides. Are the authors just trying to mislead us? Do they want to keep sightings of these rare creatures just for themselves?

My own experience is that Erms reveal themselves to certain types of people: young boys; the first-timers; middle aged business men and elderly ladies, who travel in groups.

The type of people who could see Erms?
 Notice they are fuelled by alchohol!

Looking for Erms in the African bush!

The one on the left, looks like a bit of an Erm seeker to me!

So, the next time you are on a safari vehicle and someone shouts “Stop! It’s an, Erm!” You will know what to look for, or you can hit them over the back of their head with your mammal field guide!

A different kind of Erm, was experienced by our daughter, Rowan. Having a bowl of cereal for breakfast at a picnic site in Kruger, she was interrupted by a loud plop, that landed smack, bang in the middle of her breakfast! The culprit was above her head! Erm, or yuk!

Mum this cereal tastes funny!

It wasn't me! It was him....

It wasn't, honest!
Quite often, while enjoying sundowners on our verandah, one drink inevitably leads to another & before you realise, it is dark! Thats when the Spotted Hyenas like to visit, they come to enjoy the fun and be part of the gang! That's when more than one of our first time visitors have been heard to exclaim "that's an, an Erm!" I mean can't they see what it is? It is nice and close isn't it?

A friendly face, looking for fun & frolics!

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