Gotta Catch 'Em All - Real Life Pokemon Safari

Going on an African Game Drive is like playing a game of Pokemon – you gotta catch ‘em all!

Who knew that going on game drives in Africa would take me back to the essence of my childhood. Back to the days when I thought I could take on the world with my Level 99 Charizard. When I woke up every Saturday at 9AM to watch that cuteass Pikachu on the WB Channel. When I would play countless hours of Pokemon on my Gameboy, which most likely contributed to me being the only person in my family with glasses. Those were the days…and driving around game parks looking for these animals felt exactly like a real life game of Pokemon.

Now that I think of it, the inspiration for Pokemon may very well have been contrived as a result of a few guys who went on a game drive in Africa while high on shrooms. And I really couldn’t help but hallucinate a few Pikachus or Bulbasaurs lurking in the bushes. In fact, I had to catch myself one time on a game drive from laughing out loud while high on my imagination as I saw a field of Pikachus while everyone else merely saw a bunch of trees and shrubs.

On a game drive, you set off with your team on a 4x4 inside a national park in hopes of spotting animal sightings like the ones you’ve seen on National Geographic. In Pokemon, you are on your own or if you’re lucky, Misty will accompany you. You search and explore with your eyes peeled wide open, through the endless array of trees and shrubbery, in search for animals or Pokemon to “capture.” While your aim in both games is to try to capture the rarest and strongest, you will without a doubt see the occasional impalas or pidgeottas. You may brush them aside after a while and decide they are not worth your time because your ultimate goal is to capture the Big 5.

The Big 5 animals (lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo, and leopard) were deemed by hunters as the hardest animals to capture, and they are the 5 most prized animal sightings on a game drive – you gotta catch ‘em all but you will most likely fail. Similarly, your Legendary Pokemon are the most rare and unique Pokemon known to all Pokemon kind. Only the luckiest and bravest cartoon souls ever get a chance to capture a glimpse. And while we humans do not have Pokeballs, most of us have modern day cameras we use to catch or capture these animals. But let’s just say I’m still waiting for the moment some idiot throws out a red ball in hopes of catching an elephant – that would make my day and affirm my hypothesis. 

What about Team Rocket? Take away the unsightly haircuts and shrieking voices and you have your modern day poachers. These guys are never up to any good but strive for world domination in their own devilish ways. Unfortunately in real life, the poachers are never blasted sky high “up, up, and away.”

I’ve yet to Wikipedia the origins of Pokemon but now I’m even more certain that the idea originated in the African bushes. Pikachu looks like an obese cheetah baby. Bulbasaur is essentially a hybrid of a buffalo and plant mating. Squirtle is a fit turtle who goes to the gym My childhood all makes sense now.