The Lone Buffalo

As the countdown to my grand adventure for World Bicycle Relief begins, I find myself in a reflective, contemplative state. I question what I’ve signed myself up for and grapple with an internal tug of war between fight and flight responses as the departure deadline approaches!

Here is an example of what’s been brewing in my head today, for instance…

While on my cycling safari in Kenya with Savanna Cycling, we took game drives during the early mornings and late nights, observing wildlife too dangerous to approach by bicycle.

Most might imagine fearsome predators however even lions can be cycled past in a group – though I wouldn’t personally want to test this theory.

Having seen all of the ‘big five’ multiple times, I often found myself captivated more by the sweeping savanna than the animals themselves – unless we came across lone buffalos.

There’s something about solitary animals in the Maasai Mara that strikes a chord with me, especially buffalos. Being alone in the wilderness is usually a consequence, not a choice.

Often these animals are bachelors, too weak, old, or injured to stay with the herd.

Their solitude exposes them to new challenges, like predators, finding food alone and the pangs of loneliness.

I can’t help but look at them with empathy, silently offering a prayer from a safe distance.

Solitary creatures like these buffalos are extremely dangerous, inspiring more fear in local humans than predators do.

Hippos might be the only animals that are more dangerous, unless we include disease-carrying mosquitoes in the mix.

As I gear up for my solo bike ride across Europe, I feel an odd kinship with this solitary buffalo I photographed one morning in Maasai Mara. I too will be out there, mostly alone, navigating foreign lands.

The key difference being, of course, my solitude is a choice, unlike the lone buffalo (unless he was intentionally avoiding ‘herd beef’ – pun intended!).

Not sure where I’m going with this however I’m sure many of you will understand the parallel I’m trying to draw.

A lone man on a bicycle versus a lone buffalo…