I'd eaten yogurt for a late breakfast after my morning game drive in the Kruger National Park. I put the yogurt container in the trash bin on the porch then dived back into my novel. A sly and very quiet vervet monkey crept in and grabbed the yogurt container out of the trash bin before I even knew he was there.
Since he found one treasure on my porch, I knew he'd be back to seek more and would probably bring reinforcements. From years of going on safari solo and facing off many a monkey, I knew they feared snakes and hated water. This trip I came prepared for just such a showdown.
I went into my hut at Satara Camp. From my bag I retrieved two rubber snakes: one replicating a black mamba, the other an anaconda. I placed the mamba strategically on the rail just above the trash bin. The anaconda went into the doorway of the porch. I sat down in my camp chair in between the two snakes with a fully loaded super soaker water gun feeling like John Wayne at the O.K. Corral; ready for the showdown.
I didn't have to wait long before two monkeys came rushing back for a sneak attack on the trash bin. They jumped, one behind the other, from the water heater unit onto the balcony rail just where the rubber black mamba was. The second monkey was in the air already when the first redirected his footing as he saw the snake and immediately popped back up and then dropped in front of me on the rail with his mouth open in full scream and his eyes bulging out of his head in a panic.
Boom! I squirted him with the water gun just as the second monkey fell on the mamba then did a back flip off the rail screeching the entire way.
The first monkey - now thinking he'd made a horrible mistake coming back to my patio - leaped away from the stream of water coming at him right onto the rubber anaconda then - when he regained his footing - he was gone in a flash.
The entire event took place in less than ten seconds. I bet it's ten seconds those monkeys won't soon forget.
They went into their tree that night and told their mates how they survived two snakes and being shot at. They'll be heroes in their story; legends for years to come.
But I know the truth. And I bet they won't be back.