The first item at hand on our final segment is a big thank you to our interviewee – Chris Collard. Chris had an incredible experience and took the time to share his tales of adventure with us. Thank you, Chris.
In this last part, Chris talks about some of the amusing parts of his trip, along with some of the harsh realities that come with war-torn African nations, and his final thoughts.
HUMMER H3 African Adventure Part 1: The Beginning
HUMMER H3 African Adventure Part 2: Driving in Africa
HUMMER H3 African Adventure Part 3: Africa at Night
HUMMER H3 African Adventure Part 4: Scenery and Safety
What’s the story behind the monkey food burglars?
I was camped along the Luangwa River at the Flat Dogs Camp in Zambia, just across from the South Luangwa National Park. The wildlife in this area is amazing. The river has quite a hippo and elephant population and they tend to roam through camp at will. They also have a significant vervet monkey clan that raises quite a ruckus. Like the bears in Yosemite, the monkeys know where the food is, and that is in your rig. I had just had an elephant walk through camp and very near the H3. I moved away from the rig and behind a tree. The monkeys though, they’re not worried about elephants, and made a beeline for the open doors, my food boxes, cooler and a bag of sugar I had bought in a local village. By the time I got back to the rig to chase them off, they’d swiped a box of cookies, a papaya and the sugar. They scampered up a tree and had a great feast while seemingly laughing at me… as monkeys do.
What was the craziest thing you saw?
Mozambique pulled itself out of civil war in 1994. War is hell and Mozambique’s was no exception. Land mines continue to take lives and limbs each year, and you don’t want to wander off-piste in some areas. I met several men who were missing the end of one foot. I thought from a land mine but later found out that during the war, if they refused to fight when recruited by one of the factions, they would have the end of their foot shot off. These were stark reminders of the brutal reality that many African cultures have lived with.
Anything you’d like to add?
One of the most amazing things about our modern world is that you can be any where on the planet in a day. Just drive to the airport. I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities, and HUMMER’s offer was one I’d be crazy to pass up. But, you don’t have to drive an H3 through Africa to find adventure. It is often waiting just beyond the city limits, the next county or state line. Just talk to other adventure minded people, get out your maps, and go find it. Some of the most interesting and historic treks I’ve been on were out in Nevada, just a four-hour drive from my home, and did it on a three-day weekend.
The natural world is awe-inspiring. The thought that a thousand generations of Africans were born, stood on my same rock at Victoria Falls, gazing semi-mesmerized into the mist puts me in my place. They too lived life, produced offspring, aged, and then died. This thought really brings me back to reality. The reality of how short life is and how insignificant our existence is in the big picture of things. I suppose it’s these internal ruminations that drive me to grab the most out of life. You never know when your candle is going to go out.