Globe and Mail

It was the baboons that spoke to us first. Climbing out of our makoro, a small dugout canoe, and onto Baobob Island, part of the vast Kanana reserve in Botswana, my guide Paul Moleseng scrunched his face in concentration and looked around; left – to keep an eye on the big bull elephant that had greeted our arrival, and right – to figure out what was causing the raucous cacophony of baboon screeches. Wobbling out of the narrow boat, I asked him what was up. “Those are alarm calls,” he said, pensively. “There is something over there that threatens them.”

So I followed Moleseng as he followed the clues, a big .458 rifle slung across his shoulders. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been shown something by a baboon,” he told me, as we walked toward them, and discovered two giraffes that were acting strangely, too. The giraffes held their ground and cast a suspicious gaze the other way – indicating that whatever was on the other side was a bigger threat that we were. We continued onto a vast, arid, open plain and almost trampled by herd of impala, galloping at full tilt toward us. Beyond them, vervet monkeys picked up where the baboons had left off. “Those are serious alarm calls – those monkeys are going out of their minds,” Moleseng whispered… [read more]