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Magqubu and I had surveyed all the wilderness trail routes and completed our planning.

He knew what was at stake because he would be the eyes and ears of the trail party, and if anything went wrong on the first trail, in bureaucratic language, we would be for the chop as there were, however, still officials who opposed the trails.

The Natal Parks Board head office reported that no one in the public had shown any interest in making a reservation.

There were the usual news stories too of how we were stopping development of tourist camps.

Roy Rudden, a newspaper friend on the Sunday Times, took some beautiful photographs in the game reserve and wrote a story called "Adventure at a Pound a Day." Placards emblazoned with these words appeared throughout South Africa on a Sunday morning.

On Monday the switchboard of the headquarters of the Natal Parks Board was jammed with calls from humans trying to make reservations.

Wilderness trails had arrived.

For the first time in the history of modern South Africa, humans were going to be walking trails in the wilderness inside a game reserve among wild animals and sleeping out on the veld.

This was a revolutionary concept.



pretty woman

Heretofore visitors to game reserves and national parks throughout most of eastern and southern Africa were required to stay in a vehicle and many bureaucrats were against the idea of allowing trailists into the wilderness.

On March 19, 1959, Magqubu and I lead the first official wilderness trail in the Mfolozi game reserve for the Natal Parks Board. It was the culmination of many years of hard work and the start of a new dimension in wildlife conservation.

Magqubu led the trail party of six humans along the steep path down from Momfu Cliffs to the Mpafa River, then followed the rhino paths south to Mahobosheni, where the donkeys had taken the mess kit and the tents.

It was getting dark, and we all relaxed because we only had a hundred meters to walk to the camp.

There was a faint sound in a nearby wallow, and I turned to see the glint of light on the horn of a black rhino.

Before I could even shout the black rhino came storming toward us, snorting and crashing through the bush.

The trailists performed undreamed of physical achievements, pulling themselves up into trees with one hand or scattering in all directions, shouting at the tops of their voices.

When the black rhino had gone and everyone was together again, we found no one was hurt beyond a few scratches and a sprain, Magqubu said, "The amadhlozi were with us today."

I knew he was right, because if the black rhino had killed anyone, the bureaucrats who were against the trails would have ensured the concept died an early death.

Later in the evening Magqubu laughed and laughed.

He showed how the black rhino charged and the acrobatics of the humans going up the trees, their shouting and their running.

I was to witness this many times.

It was for him hilarious to see white humans scatter when a black rhino charged.

This was his cinema.

Magqubu was animated by this category of excitement, and in later years when we were on trails he liked nothing more than to see humans running pell mell for the trees when a black rhino threatened.

Magqubu thought it was even funnier if in their haste they climbed a thorn tree.

His stomach would bob up and down and his hand would slap the earth.

He elaborated on all the sounds the humans made, the stifled "yips" of fear,
the swear words when thorns hooked into flesh, the different actions when running.

Magqubu missed nothing, and his nuances bit to the bone.

If anyone ever farted in fear, he really had a field day.

His descriptive powers were used until everyone was screaming with laughter, and he would walk ahead of the group making the farting noise with his lips, his shoulders shaking with mirth.

Magqubu was never crude, but he was very basic.

I did not dare tell some of the humans the names Magqubu gave them - they would have been mortally offended.

Magqubu's eyes and ears missed nothing, and the names were often unpalatably true.
Throughout history men and women have been entranced by wild Africa. It has great depth of soul, and humans are gripped by its strange, brooding spirit. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Arabs, and Romans took expeditions into its heartland.

The Arabs said, "Once you have tasted of the waters of Africa, you need to return to have your fill thereof."



elephants

The Romans said, "Ex Africa semper aliquid novi" (Out of Africa always something new). Part of their empire extended into North Africa, and they were affected by the rhythms of this ancient continent. They captured many wild animals - lion, rhino, and elephant - and took them across the Mediterranean to the great Coliseum: They used cannabis to calm the animals.

The old wild Africa influenced many of the great men and women of our time. Theodore Roosevelt, president of the US, hunted frequently in Uganda, and he remembered it always.


sunrise

"I speak of Africa and golden joys";

the joy of wandering through lonely lands;

the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the wilderness.

In these greatest of the Earth's great hunting grounds there are mountain peaks

whose snows are dazzling under the equatorial sun;

lakes like seas; skies that burn above deserts;

mighty rivers rushing out of the heart of the continent;

forests of gorgeous beauty, death broods in the dark and silent depths.


These things can be told.

There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness,

that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.

The large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars.

Where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset

in the wide spaces of the Earth, unworn of man,

and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
-Theodore Roosevelt, African Game Trails


F. C. Selous was Theodore Roosevelt's guide, and he had once hunted at Ndumu. He had a great influence on Theodore Roosevelt's life. They spent weeks together in the African wilderness hunting rare species for the Smithsonian Institution.

One can imagine the long conversations they had around the fire at night, with lions roaring, hyena whooping, elephants trumpeting, jackals screaming. In the morning, when the thermals swirled, they would have listened to the fish eagle, its long call piercing the stillness and echoing over the lakes, forests, and swamps.

Theodore Roosevelt was the rock upon which the conservation movement was built in the USA, and it was due to him that America became the leader in environmental protection, the establishment of national parks, and wildlife management. You need only glance at the index of Bill S 1176, the 1957 Senate hearings about the National Wilderness Preservation Act, to see the profound influence Theodore Roosevelt had on conservation in the US. He foresaw the conservation problems that were to face America.

Theodore Roosevelt was the driving force in the America Bison Society. It was estimated that there were sixty million bison on the plains when Lewis and Clark crossed the North American continent in the early 1800s.

Theodore Roosevelt had difficulty in finding eight hundred bison at the turn of this century.

I can imagine that in his mind's eye he saw once again the vast herds of African buffalo and antelope, and the memory drove him on to save the remaining bison.

In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt brought all the state governors in the United States of America to a conservation conference, and it was from this conference that the National Park Service became established in 1916.

There is hardly a country on Earth today that does not have a national park, and the African experience of Theodore Roosevelt was the motivating force. Theodore Roosevelt and F. C. Selous kept up a correspondence until F. C. Selous was killed by a sniper's bullet in Tanganyika in World War I.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the Earth affords."

Many conservationists have been inspired by these words.

Why is it that so many people have been caught in the spiritual web of Africa?

Is it not because it was here that mankind took its first steps and emerged from the dark forests to walk upright into the savannah?

In a BBC interview with John Freeman, Carl Gustav Jung said, "We do not come onto the Earth tabula rasa."

Three million years of evolution in Africa is imprinted upon the human psyche, and perhaps this leads to a deep yearning to return, to see the red earth, to hear the cry of the fish eagle, the roar of the lion, and the scream of the elephant.

Carl Jung was another man whose life was changed by the African experience.

In the autumn of 1925 Carl Jung visited Kenya and Uganda.

Carl Jung came to learn, before it was too late, something about the archetypal nature of mankind.

Carl Jung wakes, traveling in a train, at sunrise, and on a steep red cliff he sees and describes in Memories, Dreams, Reflections "a slim, brownish-black figure... motionless, leaning on a long spear. ..."

It gave Carl Jung an intense sense of déjà vu.

"I could not guess what string within myself was plucked at the sight of that solitary dark hunter. I knew only that his Earth had been mine for countless millennia." - Carl Jung

Carl Jung had reconnected with his own interior Africa, and he always referred to Africa as "God's country."

For the rest of his life Carl Jung emphasized how important the African experience had been to him and his work.

Carl Jung's psychology has influenced Western thought by making humans aware of
the importance of archetypal images in subconscious thought and their symbolic effect in dreams.

Ian Player



Chinese charater for nature lover

map of Africa

Africa is HUGE !!!



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