A Cell phone on bush trip

How to not be "that guy"

Text Pompie Burger

From the Winter 2022 issue

This might give away my age or ignorance as far as modern technology is concerned. If you want to sort out your emails from the last six months, or catch up with your broker on the latest on the stock trends, think twice before going on a bush trip. Unfortunately, nowadays everyone has a cell phone and it is easy to keep it charged in your vehicle.

Imagine sitting all tensed up near a group of leopards in the Mahango Game Park, getting your Nikon camera in position to capture the moment of a lifetime. The silence is palpable, the final settings on your camera have been done, the car’s engine is off, window wound down to the perfect height for your 2000mm lens to rest on, even Springsteen has been silenced. Everybody in the car sits in utmost anticipation. A small Monarch butterfly lands on the nose of the male leopard, the leopard’s head (and the butterfly) fill the screen of your full-frame digital camera. A short prayer slips through pursed lips, you have already stopped breathing long ago, thanking God for this once in a lifetime opportunity. For once in your illustrious photographic career, you are at the right place at the right time. Your daughter’s cell phone goes off with the beautiful sound of Kurt Darren Kaptein span die seile.

Or listening to aunty Mavis screaming on her cell to her daughter in Joburg about the horrible food she had to deal with this morning on the game drive, the stench of fresh elephant dung hanging in the air while she was trying to wurg in (force down) yet another croissant. The guide even had the audacity to stop under a tree to show the guests some or other Pell’s bird.

My last effort to take my cell with me on a trip was between Rundu and Divundu where I “accidentally” dropped it under a Manketti tree trying to explain to my Sanlam broker that I do not have any money and, no, I do not want to buy this wonderful new policy that can earn me thousands within two months. I hope one of the inhabitants of Omega 2 can use the cell to beat some sense into the head of a snake. 

A few tips on how to have a phoneless holiday. Feed it to an elephant, accidentally drop it in the hippo-infested river, stand on it or just throw it against the wall. A more subtle option is to give it to one of the locals for a present. As they say, giving is always better than receiving.

Advantages yes, although they are few and far between, like being kept up-to-date on the latest cricket score, especially when your team is on the brink of a victory (again potential disadvantage, when they are getting a hiding from the Aussies). When you get lost in the bush, the GPS on the cell might be extremely useful. I even heard of a lady from the USA who, when they got stuck in the sand, phoned 911! It can also be used as a decoy: telling your wife you got a call that the road back home is washed away and you very, very unfortunately have to stay on holiday a few days longer.


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