I looked up from the desk to see a 5-foot-tall baboon sitting on the other side of the room looking at me a bit puzzled. He wasn’t alone, I had failed to close the door to the deck of our chalet overlooking the South Luangwa River, and while I was looking at my computer screen he had crept in from the wooden deck outside. The staff had warned us the day before to keep our doors closed, but it was such a nice day, the river scene was beautiful, a number of zebras were drinking water nearby, hippos were enjoying the warm waters nearby, the breeze felt so good, well … you know!
Now I was faced with what could be an angry baboon attacking me while everyone else was away. No one would hear me call out for help. What to do? What to do?
Well, in that situation I did the right thing, I guess. Rather than get up, and try to get out the door, or shout and hope it would scare him away, we just stared at each other. For a very long minute or two we stared at each other. All other sounds faded away, and there was only him and me. Him and me for what seemed like a very long time. Then, after watching me ever so closely he got up, turned toward the door, and was gone. Now I could breathe, again.
That was earlier today, and now it is 10:30 PM. We are safely inside our chalet overhanging the river. The doors are closed and locked, but … but … there is a rattling sound against the folding door leading to the deck. There it goes again. Rattle, rattle, rattle. What is it? Who is out there? Could it be the baboon has returned and wants to come in for a visit? Or to offer me a proper good-bye after our chance encounter this afternoon? No way, I’m not making that same mistake again. Whatever is out there is staying out there. Rattle, rattle, rattle. I waited. Then again, a third time. Rattle, rattle, rattle.
My curiosity grew with each rattle of the door, but I would be wiser this time. I would block the door from opening more than just a crack with my foot, then hold the camera against the crack in such a way that I could snap a picture and close the door tightly in a near-perfect movement. I held up the camera. Three, two, one, flash! The camera lit up the deck. A mad scramble ensured that shook the entire chalet. I jumped back into the room. What was it? What kind of monster could shake the entire two-story chalet?
As soon as we could catch our breath I looked down at the camera and turned it on so we could see what the lens had captured. WOW! The camera had captured a massive elephant standing at the deck rail. He had been using his trunk to rattle our door. What a moment. What an experience!