South Africa absolutely embodies the techni-coloured Africa of fable where savage beasts roam, the venomous scuttle and slither and the birds kick off with a riotous party in the treetops every morning. Everything is bigger, the birds, the bees, the bugs, the spiders and the snakes.
I take The Cheese Thief out for a little stroll. The sun is shining, the birds are flitting from tree to tree. I begin to relax, to enjoy the fresh air, to daydream. I’m not thinking about the Wild Things until I spot this!
The first time I saw the sign I switched to red alert mode. I flinched at every rustle from the trees and every minute crackle from the undergrowth. I had an instant flashback to our safari pep talk:
“We are in the bush” the ranger explained, “and it is snake season. Nobody has been bitten so far, but there are 3 particularly nasty customers I have to tell you about.
The puff adder is the slowest of the three, although it’s the fastest striker – this fella is able to strike a balloon twice BEFORE IT POPS!
The black mamba is the most vicious and most likely to attack – his bite would require CPR en route to the hospital….which is quite a way away.
And lastly there is the boomslang (tree snake) – although fairly non-confrontation preferring to stay wrapped tightly round a branch, should this little treasure bite, your chances are not so good. If it bites your finger, they’ll probably take off your hand, if it bites your elbow, they’d take off your arm……but don’t worry, our staff will check your room for snakes and other critters while you are having your dinner.” (You can read the rest of this post here).
Strangely, since confronting a real live snake in our garage without knowing whether or not it was dangerously venomous (it wasn’t), I barely notice the sign. The only time I abandoned a walk on the Beware of Snakes Route was when The Cheese Thief became highly agitated by an unseen Wild Thing in a bush.