“Take me, take me”, I prayed. The bearded stranger had suggested a trip to Namibia to his family. I had always always wanted to go on safari. The furthest I had travelled in Africa was Tangiers, and that was back in the late 1950s – not very adventurous, and certainly no animals.
They decided to go, and his wife – I was a part of her family after all - took me. Yes! It was adventurous and I saw marvellous things. I looked right into the eyes of three cheetah siblings taking their siesta; I could count the spots on the leopards; I could clearly see lionesses tearing a zebra apart for lunch. The great-grandchildren loved the babies most. Warthog, baboon, kudu, giraffe, francolin, dikdik, elephant: all were judged cute and cuddly and all were to be taken home! There were challenges like the distances to be driven on dirt roads (averaging 300 miles a day), or the heat and the cold – but none affected me at all.
I am not of course the bearded stranger’s grandmother-in-law. Nevertheless his wife felt the trip around Namibia was all the better knowing that her grandmother’s ambition to go on safari had been fulfilled through my lenses. I am a pair of Ross Stepruva binoculars from the 1930s. The catalogue which advertised me back then offered a ‘wide application to many needs and such events as point-to-point, sheep dog trials etc’. I think I did better with my African wildlife!