WISH LIST – Looking for Geladas in the Western Cape

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The following is a copy of an email, which I have sent recently, to my sisters in South-Africa, Ursulla and Zenobia.

Subject: Autovilla – small Autovilla trip – unfinished business // Geladas location

No point in re-writing what I wrote to them about my “unfinished” business

_____________________________________________________________________

GOOD MORNING sisters


THIS IS IT…..the picture is the Geladas location…


You know Zenobia and Ursulla, I often thought to myself… it can’t be… there are no Geladas in the Western Cape…never mind South Africa.


But I stood maybe 10 no more than 20 meters away from them, no vegetation between us, just around us… on a smallish but wide long patch of “open” area, 6 or 8 of them, medium man size in height, maybe as tall as me, around 1,68 m, and shrinking with age.

We were just eyeing each other, silently for a few long moments…. until they just turned around and walked away slowly….they were more orangiee…   than the Gelada in the picture in my previous email..which I copied from Wikipedia…more… but not quite the color of orang-utans…more reddish-brown or brown-reddish. Longer hair than Baboons, on the head too. And what caught my eye the most…is the “split” of the hair on their torso…I don’t remember it being “red” like you see in National Geographic pictures, but the distinct “split” of hair, is what made me think of “Geladas”.

Even Cappuccino, my Chihuahua, was quiet just looking at them…no sound…no movement…total stillness…


These were VERY peaceful and beautiful few moments…


I remember, immediately afterwards, when walking slowly back to the Autovilla, I shook my head in disbelief, which I still sometimes do…like right now, when I am writing this email to you.

I had to “digest” in my mind what I have seen… and I remember saying to myself….it can’t be….I had no camera on me at that moment.


And still sometimes, I think to myself…it can’t be… but I have a photographic memory…I can’t remember names…but PICTURES are what is imprinted in my mind.

There is a good chance I could be wrong too…but WHAT-IF I am not…


I expect my sisters, that you UNDERSTAND…. that – if for no other reason, other than for my own “sanity”, I need to revisit that place one day…


How about the 3 of us together? If there is room for 2, there is room for 3 in the Autovilla. That would be a dream.

Mind you, with Satelite Technology, theoretically…we don’t even have to go there…I could just tell the world were to LOOK.

But when you look at the picture…  don’t you wish you were THERE !

Geladas or no Geladas…


Baboons never turned and walked away from Cappuccino and me. 

In fact, the opposite is true…they were always very interested in having Cappuccino for breakfast, lunch or dinner…depending on the time of day.

We had 2 very scary “lucky escapes” from Baboons… and believe me, I know what Baboons look like…I still shiver, when I think about our lucky escapes, Cappuccino’s and mine.  

If there is one animal in the wild, I am fearful of, its the Baboons.

I once grabbed Cappuccino..and ran to the Autovilla, maybe 20 meters, faster than USAIN BOLT for sure…being chased by 5 or 6 man-size barking and teeth flashing Baboons…

Who I initially managed  to keep at bay…by shouting and barking at them, like I remembered I saw in a National Geographic documantary… one should do…

But then ran for our lives…when after their initial “surprise” of me barking and shouting at them, instead of turning away…they went for us…

I just managed to throw myself and literally dive into the Autovilla thru the side door, feeling the hand of the baboons grabbing my back side… and me and Wynsome, my friend, violently kicking them somehow back…and just managing to close the side door.

What an END to a nice Sunday Picnic with my friend Wynsome, at the nature reserve, at the very most southern TIP of Africa. Wynsome ran first, and opened the door to the Autovilla, while I was barking at the Baboons, and keeping them at bay for a few seconds.

Back to the Geladas

So here you have it.


If I am right….it is a scoop….and if not… THAT PLACE…is one of the most stunning and untouched nature locations I have visited during my Autovilla Journeys…”untouched” for a very good reason, and for a very very long time, and it is certainly worth exploring and documenting.

Geladas or no Geladas….and as far as I am aware THAT PLACE…is like the Galapagos, in terms of isolation, right there, near Cape Town, no more than 100 KM and “undocumented”…as yet… what other possible survivors from way back, could possibly be living there…or other rarities…also in terms of vegetation…


For that location, you need no more than 5 days on location. No real big preparations needed, just one good self-sufficient camera woman, with me, who is happy to camp for a week in the Autovilla.

No further crew… as this was also a place where the SILENCE was amazing…


When I stepped out of the Autovilla in flip flops not jumping…when I hit the gravel-like ground where I parked the Autovilla, my steps sounded as if an elephant hit the ground… even cappuccino’s steps were LOUD…

So its a place of NO UNNATURAL NOISE… the less people the better…
And it is safe…no bodyguards needed…

BECAUSE it is SAFE, I could do it on my own again….

However, I am a good amateur photographer…as I have a GOOD EYE, but know nothing about filming videos, or talking really good pictures, as I don’t have the equipment. Just a decent Fuji.

OH and for context… I just remembered, what I did right after I came out of the Geladas location and back to civilization at the nearest beautiful little town.
 I booked a room in the poshest hotel, a Michelin Star Hotel, a room with the biggest bath tub…and before going to the room…Cappuccino and me went out to the Hotel Veranda…still dusty and roughed out after several days in the bush…my face marked with cuts and bruises… you can read about it in the 2 big boobs stories..


WHAT DID I DO NEXT


I ordered a glass of cold champagne…and fois gras and toast….I had the Champagne… Cappuccino did not share the fois gras on toast …. 

LIFE WAS GOOD … I was wandering for a year, between roughing it and collecting stories, and a few days in between, of real decadence and indulgence….cleaning the villa and preparing to go back on the road again…


Have a nice Sunday my sisters

Love

Olivella

Emoji

P.S. To Zenobia… I hope that you will find the needed funding for the first documentary titled “Looking for Geladas in the Westrn Cape” sooner rather than later…

Anyone out there, with any idea how to get funding for a documentary… please get in touch with me via the CONTACT link

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