When I brought Security a cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast on Christmas Eve, he told me that he had seen a snake at our toilet (but on the side of the men’s restroom) that night. He promised to call me if he saw it again. Shortly afterwards there was a big shout: “Onjoka!” Snake! One of the children from the neighbouring campsite had seen the snake in a hole in the wall about 10 metres from our tent. Suddenly there were ten people in front of her hole, so she withdrew. The neighbours were talking about killing the snake. I tried to identify it, and I took out the snake books again. She was cross-striped – a bad sign because puff adders are also cross-striped and very dangerous. But then we talked about the shape of the head. She wasn’t the usual otter form. It’s more like a mole snake or egg snake that is utterly harmless to humans. I showed the boy who had seen her the images, told him that snakes only bite when they feel attacked and that she was probably without fangs. So I hoped that no one would speak of “doodmaak” any more. “I am dreaming of a white Christmas” sounded from the family CD speaker next door. We had about 30 degrees Celsius. The German radio service of Namibia played a big Christmas concert with Bach and Handel. This music fitted better into the landscape than “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland”. Two German tourist groups came to the campsite on Christmas Eve. A family of four used the roof-tent on their car for the first time in their life and had to try everything out. Everyone was very excited about the coming adventures in Africa. We had a nice chat with them. Then there was another couple who spent their last two days of their vacation in the Daan Viljoen Game Park. They had been in Botswana for three weeks. They pitched their camp after a six-pack of beer. In the evening the woman came to us very agitated. The money belts with money and papers had been stolen from the car while they had been in the restaurant. They hadn’t locked the car because there was security at the campsite.
“Darling, this is Africa, not paradise,” I wanted to say to her, but I kept quiet. We, who had been on the campsite for over a week until then, found this unbelievable. Not only had we not seen anything, but there were also a lot of camping guests that evening and thieves are more careful. Besides, we had often left our tent alone, and nothing had ever gotten away (but we hadn’t left valuables lying around either). Once I had thought that we’d been robbed. But both my Zippo and the Leatherman tool were found again. So we first suspected that the bags had been misplaced. But this was not the case. The next day, the woman searched the bushes around the campsite in the hope of finding at least the papers again. Passports and tickets – everything was gone. Also, it was Christmas, plus long weekends and summer holidays. The embassy in Windhoek would not be open. She didn’t find anything. In the evening we met her again. They had reached the embassy’s emergency service and would be able to leave the next day. The security officer who had been on duty was arrested the previous night. That wasn’t the friendly Snake Security, but his colleague. I guess too much circumstantial evidence spoke against him. Snake Security also came in while we were talking. He was pretty shocked and said it was stupid to risk his job for something like that. His job was also in danger because the company would probably not get another contract.