Many of us can probably remember drives into the countryside with young kids in the back seat and pointing out to them the moo-cows and horsies grazing in green pastures next to the road. If they were lucky they might even have seen an heehaw or a ba-ba-black sheep.
These were informative days for our kids and unfortunately for most, this education was limited to farmyard animals. There were the fortunate few whose education continued into the wilder parts of Africa and if they were really lucky, their parents would know the difference between a springbok and an impala or identify a lilac-breasted roller from a sparrow.
One should never underestimate their eagerness to learn, but I’m afraid my dear wife’s education ended at the farmyard stage and although proficient in all verses of “Old McDonald”, she isn’t able to distinguish between a chicken and a crow.
To this day, we still have “little furry things” running across the road in front of the car or “LBJ’s” around the campsite in the morning. There are times when the name of a particular species eludes me, but over the years I have learned to improvise.
Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with her improvisation skills especially when excited. On one occasion, as we made our way along the Cunene River towards Epupa Falls, we rounded a bend and disturbed an enormous Monitor Lizard* sunning itself in the road. Almost before I could react, she had snatched up the radio microphone to warn the vehicles behind us of a huge “Gecko” in the road.
I’m rather pleased that we don’t have this variety at home, scurrying across the ceiling and defecating on the walls!
* See picture above.