07 October 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Khaki Fever

When you read the list of suggested things to pack that you sometimes find on the websites of private lodges, you’ll notice that neutral khakis are recommended in terms of clothing.

Since I wrote a story, many years ago, about a study on what animals actually do see, I’ve thought it ridiculous, this dressing in khaki.

Because - and here’s the bad news - they can still see you. They see khaki (especially pale khaki) just fine. You’re mostly only concealing yourself from a few other humans. Anyway, most of the time you’ll be on the back of a Landrover. Most animals in game reserves register these as weird but largely harmless things that lumber around the bush and sometimes annoyingly stop right by them while they’re trying to graze/eat/nap/drink/hunt.

It’s when you stand up in such a vehicle that you break the outline and theoretically, that’s when the animal bolts because a wild animal reacts to a human much the same way we react to snakes or spiders. They just want to get away. I wonder if that will ever change?

So by all means, wear khaki. Just see it as a kind of weird ritual of visiting the bush, some kind of arcane bush etiquette, but don’t take it seriously. Don’t think the animals are going to think you’re the invisible man.

Anyway, they can hear you coming a mile off. Plus, with all the cigarette and barbecue (braai) smoke, all the deodorants and lotions and anti-mosquito creams, they’re certainly going to smell you.

Category: Wildlife

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