As narrated by Maariah-
Knysna…if anyone ever wanted to see local untouched beauty at its magnificent best..they would have to come to Knysna! There was even something else about the air here…everything about everything in Knysna was just too awesome!
We were going for the Elephant Back Safari at sunrise,have breakfast and leave for Cape Town. The night before, as dog tired as we were, we still had a good tour of this beautiful place, courtesy of Zia, who by the way is accompanying us to Cape Town and back. It was so much better to have a driver, because we were such a hyper active group and with all our activities none of us could bear to handle the wheel on those loooong drives!
At the Elephant Park, we got onto one of these farm tractors and held on tight as we moved further into the bushes. It was still dark, I was petrified…this was the closest I’ve ever been to the “wild”. It had a raw and dangerous feel to it, yet also at the pit of my tummy an electrifying feeling of excitement!
Not long thereafter, we were standing infront of these HUGE animals…we were astounded! I’ve never seen elephants in this way before….and well I only ever did at the circus when I was much younger. Our guide asked us to feed them, setting off warning bells in my head! Is it safe???? What if they bit my hand of??? Or crushed me????
Uncle Irshaad: there we go big guy….( And he fed his elephant) come on kids…do it like this
And he coaxed Laeeka and Maariah into feeding the elephants while the rest of us just stood there!
Nemo: oh well how hard can it be? ( And he too moved forward and fed one of the elephants..and it lifted its trunk…Nemo stepped back in surprise….but the elephant hugged him with its trunk!)
O my word!!! That was just too cute and it broke the ice for the rest of us to come forward and try as well.
Now that the elephants seemed to like us, the guides made them sit and asked us to sit on them in two’s.
Riza and Laeeka- naturally
Aunty Sawleha and Uncle Irshaad- like duh
Zoheb said loud enough for Aunty Sawleha to hear…” Arshad you go with Zainab…she’s so scared ”
ℓ☺ℓ well done Zoheb!
And there I stood, I could see very clearly what was going on so who do I choose…do I go with Aara or do I go with Zoheb or Nemo…coz definately Zoheb and Nemo wouldn’t go together…two guys together on an elephant would look damn weird! I’ll be a coward and leave it to Aara *hide*
One of the Guides: you four are left…come one guys…its not such a hard decision…okay hang on…you and you together and you and you together (this guy was an old but fit Portugese guy who reminded me of my Nana)
So I sat on my elephant with Nemo and Zoheb and Aara climbed onto theirs.
Woaah! I thought I was going to fall off when the elephant lifted its huge body of the ground! And so began our first ever and most memorable elephant ride!
As narrated by Zoheb:
Me: what goes down and never comes up?
Aara: seriously? This early in the morning?
Me: come on…answer what goes down and never comes up?
Aara: errr I dono
Me: an elephant in an elevator!
Aara: (chuckling) Zoheb!
Me: okay another one..why doesn’t an elephant use a computer?
Aara: because its feet would smash the keyboard..and the chair??
Me: (laughing out loud) because its afraid of the mouse!!
Me: I have another one…what does an elephant and a tree have in common?
Aara: aah that’s easy… A trunk!
Me: good girl! Okay another…what is the difference between an elephant and a grape?
Me: no…ℓ☺ℓ…grapes are purple!
Aara: (hitting me) and green!
Me: how do you put an elephant in a refrigerator?
Aara: why would you put an elephant in a refrigerator?
Me: answer the question Aaraaaaa
Aara: I dono…with a forklift?
Me: (busting) open the door put the elephant inside and close the door!
Aara: uuurrrgh Zoheb!
Zoheb: how do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?
Aara: open the door, put the giraffe inside and close the door?
Zoheb: no (wide grin)
Zoheb: take the elephant out first then put the giraffe inside!!
Aara: ay man you’re making my head spin now!
Zoheb: okay last one…all the animals in the jungle were having a meeting…all of them attended except the giraffe…why?
Aara: I dono maybe it died!
Zoheb: no! Because it was still in the refrigerator! (Ripping profusely)
Aara: you! You! Riiiiiiizaaaaa
Riza: yebo yes what’s up?
Aara: send your friend back to London please!
Riza: (laughing) why?
Aara: he’s irritating me with these stupid elephant jokes!
Zoheb: ohhh so I’m only Riza’s friend now?
Sooo nicely I memorised those friendship words from that movie for you ( and I pretended to be sad)
Aara: yeah yeah…throw up*wink*
Zoheb: aah well a man can only try…I noticed you were distracted and tense last night so I thought I’d try to cheer you up
Aara: by memorising all these elephant jokes?
Zoheb: aha…google is K_I_N_G…but silly me
Aara: (smiling to herself…even though I was sitting behind her- I could see it from the side)hmmm
Zoheb: so did it work?
Aara: (laughing) I think so ( and she laughed again)
And she turned around and looked at me..
Aara: you know, you’re lucky you’re so cute-it sort of amplifies your attempts
Zoheb: oooh so you think I’m cute?
Aara: don’t get a big head now…yes you are cute..and more so because of those dimples
And I smiled…
Aara: yeaaah those ones…I wish I had dimples
Zoheb: its okay…I’ll smile big enough for the two of us! ( And I stretched my smile as wide as I could)
Aara burst out laughing!
Aara: okay now you look a bit mad (raising her eyebrow)
And suddenly our elephant stopped and lifted its two front legs and let out this…whatever noise it is that it makes and lifted its trunk!!! Thank heavens for this seat thing we were strapped into! I impulsively held Aara tightly and she too held on and screamed….this was so frightening!
And then the elephant was back on all fours, took its long trunk, plucked a flower from one of the trees and handed it to Aara. Weird.
The old guide smiled and said:
“Don’t be scared, she will never hurt you..she does this when she’s happy…she probably likes the two of you or whatever it is you’re talking about- animals understand us much more than we think”
Aara patted the elephant on its back and put the white flower in her hair.
See Aara even the elephant knows that we are meant to be! *sigh* but it was going to be a long road before we got there…