Safaris & stories
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Shenton Safaris

I am a light sleeper. Which is why, in the early hours of the morning, I wake up with a jolt upon hearing a cautious but firm “Ah-ha” from the person lying next to me.

“What is it, Callum? What’s wrong?” I mutter, rolling over and trying not to shed entirely the comfortable blanket of sleep that I had been curled in.

“There’s a REALLY big snake.”


Every fibre of my body goes ice-cold. I pause, mid-roll, and whisper, urgently: “WHERE? WHERE IS THE SNAKE?”


SHHHHHHH?????? He’s following the announcement of my worst nightmare with ‘SHHHH’? More frantic whisper-yelling ensues, as I enquire further as to the location of this massive serpent, imagining it slithering up the mattress and towards us both. “CALLUM. Where is it!???”

“Shhh.. Stay still, it’s not near you.”

Not reassuring. I am now on the verge of tears. Callum, who is a snake enthusiast as a rule, once told me a terrifying story from his early guiding days: while sleeping on a mattress on somebody’s floor, he woke up to find a cobra lying on his chest. In a split second, he had grabbed the snake and thrown it from him. Now, as I lie next to him, I am faced with a similar prospect. Images of snakes run through my mind: we recently saw a python slowly digesting a baby impala that she had snatched from its unsuspecting mother. I had watched in fascinated horror as she closed her ever-expanding jaws over the impala’s body, and had shivered, feeling grateful for the distance between myself and this remarkable spectacle. Not long after this, we found a slow, fat puff adder underneath the steps to the office. Adders being lazy and sluggish are more likely to be stepped on and less inclined to slither out of the way when they hear something approach. Mindful of these encounters, I become increasingly panicked and prepare myself for an elaborate jump and roll mission out of bed, but as it is pitch dark I still need to confirm the position of this monster.

“Callum please, just tell me where it is.” This time I can feel how tense he is as he once again tells me to be quiet and stay still. By this point I really am in tears, and gripping my duvet in terror. As I try to brace myself and accept the possibility of the snake actually being next to me, I ask once more, where it is.

“CALLUM. I’m begging you, just tell me where it is?”

Nothing. Just as I am about to pass out with fear, I hear the unmistakeable sound of a deeply-asleep man, snoring. Yes that’s right, snoring. My life flashing before my eyes was nothing more than collateral damage from the whimsical sleep-talking of my oblivious boyfriend.

And that’s how Callum ended up getting punched by a girl in the middle of the night.

Shenton Safaris
Callum and Jemima

Meet bloggers Callum Sargent and Jemima Middleton . Take one South African with over 5 years of guiding and photography experience, add a bright-eyed Cambridge undergraduate, put them in the bush and, well, strange things happen! We are based in northern Botswana at Mombo Lodge in the middle of the Okavango Delta, where we share our love for the wilderness with visitors from all over the world. Averaging about an adventure a day, we have made the bush our home, and we have many a story to tell!