Photo Credit: Bored Panda
After a request for photos yesterday, I thought I’d expand a bit on the wild dog story.
My first trip to South Africa was with a client who wasn’t crazy about working with my company. Her previous company had just gone through a merger and she inherited the job of overseeing the travel programs. We were already contracted for two programs when she came onboard so even though she had contacts in another incentive house, she couldn’t change suppliers at that point. She was professional about this but she never seemed happy or excited. Now it’s completely plausible that she just wasn’t a person who like to emote but we’ll never know.
We had a large group, bigger than any one safari camp could hold, so we needed to check out three different camps and decide which winners would go in each. That meant that we had to stay in each of the three camps, one camp each night. Boo hoo. These were luxury camps with incredibly nice rooms (all three camps had gorgeous indoor bathrooms and great outdoor showers), amazing food and, of course, the safari runs. You got up very early for the first safari run of the day (think 4 a.m. early) – heavy “snacks” before you left then a massive breakfast when you got back 3 hours later. Then a late afternoon safari, getting back in the dark for a huge “boma” dinner. And you’re in Africa all this time. Amazing.
It was all I could do to contain myself during the trip. (Actually I can hardly contain myself on any of my trips. I can’t think of a single time I’ve gone on a site inspection that hasn’t been wonderful.) My client was the opposite; she was doing her job by being there but she couldn’t muster any enthusiasm. It wasn’t surprising when she bailed on the last safari run of the trip. When the driver and guide came to pick up the Account Exec and me, they told us that they’d heard from other guides on the radio that there might be wild dogs up near “the cut line” (this is the edge of each camp’s territory. Guides are not allowed to take their charges into another camp’s territory). They said if we wanted to try to find the wild dogs, it would take a bit and we’d have to head straight there. The Account Exec and I immediately agreed. As we were driving up, we both acknowledged that if the client had been with us, she would not have wanted to do this.
Well thank goodness she didn’t come. The wild dog pack was indeed on our side of the cut line and it was amazing. They weren’t too worried about us so we were able to observe them for almost 2 hours. There were a lot of puppies and they were very cute. It was a defining moment during the trip, a trip with many unbelievable moments. The photo above is not mine (long story about where those photos are currently stored) but it is very similar to some of the photos I took that day, especially when the dogs and pups came a little closer to the jeep. The puppies are much cuter than you would think, with huge ears and puppy faces.
Even now, after almost 20 years, I feel sorry for that client. I hope she enjoyed South Africa, even if she didn’t show it.
What makes it hard for you to contain YOUR enthusiasm?