One of the fun things that happened last week was that the deaf couple who we met at the Robben Island contacted us and wanted us to organize a safari. A safari in Sign Language in the Kruger Park!! How cool is that?? Arun, the Legend Safaris guide in Kruger is fluent in many languages and so happens worked with the deaf community for over 25 years and is fluent also in Sign Language, so naturally he was quite excited to be able to take deaf people on safari.
Our guests, Maryann and Daniel (names changed) wanted to have a real full on Kruger experience and opted for our “Open to closing” safari days with an overnighter in the park. “Open to Closing” just means that we start safari when the gates open and come out/back to rest camp when the gates close. In December that means 14 straight hours in the bush.
The first day was simply amazing despite the rain with all the Big 5 and the Ugly 5 as well. For those of you who are wondering, the Ugly 5 are the hyena, wildebeest, marabou stork, warthog and crocodile. Needless to say, Maryann and Daniel, were really happy to have a fluent signer taking them on safari. It was also Daniels first time in the bush and the range of game he saw just blew him away. Started the day with impala and herds of elephant, then just past Tshokwane rest stop there were lions in the river bed. Then a tusker came, up close and personal, a heart-stopping moment for him, to use his own words. Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, martial eagles, kudu and steenbok were some of the other animals and birds we saw. When they heard the swallows came from Germany and Holland they were so amazed. The migrants are in and they are all over the park nowadays, including the European roller.
“It was a real pleasure to meet and work with deaf people in the park for the first time for me in Africa” says Arun. He has taken deaf people on safari in India before but this was his first experience in Africa and he loved it. “It’s always fulfilling to be able to communicate my passion about the bush and if it is sign language then well, so much the better” he says.