Such a great week of sightings...
20.08.2011 - 27.08.2011 23 °C
First week doing lots of intern stuff for Katie! I’ve had so much to do I haven’t even had time to do any studying from the FGASA book that I got hold of. It’s been an awesome week though, had wicked ellie sightings and seen Hwaqile twice!
In the evening we went out to Mahlahla, the local pub, and had dinner and drinks. Funnily enough, LEO were there too, which was a bit weird, but it was nice to see and chat to Kathrine and Tiina again, and Adam had managed to tie-die his t-shirt with the red bark an elephant had pulled off a tree! The night ended with lots of Springbokkie shots, yummmm, and we just generally had a good night. Got chatting to some Bushwise students that were at the bar, and they all seemed quite friendly and wanting advice for what sort of placement they should ask for… Garth started introducing me to people as his wife, which was a bit worrying…but other than that it was a good night out!
I hung out with Phil all morning watching films, and then got the menu and shopping list for the week finished and tidied up the house ready for the new volunteer starting on Monday.
Went into town with Katie to do the food shop and then went to Phalaborwa airport to collect Emma, the volunteer for the month. Emma’s really cool, we actually get on really well, considering we only just met!
That afternoon was her first drive, and it was amazing! We saw a few elephants running through a small clearing, and so followed them. There was a whole herd, and we got some awesome sightings of two youngsters with them, one less than a year old and just tiny! We followed them as they made their way to Ranch dam, and then as it got dark they started playing in the water, splashing, bathing, rolling in mud and trumpeting to each other! It was such a cool first sighting for Emma, even if she was terrified of the massive bull coming so close to the car!
We had quite a few lectures today and I showed Emma around the base and explained how the duty roster worked and how to do things like initiate the borehole, feed Eddie, where everything is kept and just general house stuff. Phil gave us his lecture and then he took us to see Hwaqile in the boma, the cheetah that was injured in Langa by the rogues. He’s got a nasty wound on his leg that the vet stitched up, but he’s looking so well, and definitely feisty enough to go for Phil when he went in carrying his food!
Joe gave us the fences lecture and then we went to go see the brown hyena feed! Only Gismo came out today, but hopefully we’ll get to see them all in the next couple of weeks!
4X4 driving lesson today, and I can’t say my driving has gotten any smoother, but it is still so much fun! I got a good video of Emma driving down the river bank and then driving into a ditch, might see if I can get it up on here later.
We had our wilderness lecture from up on the koppie today, and it’s still such an amazing view from up there! On the drive back down we saw the rogue cheetah boys! They’re still in Langa, which is awesome, so even though over the last year they have attacked and killed 2 of the 3 brothers that were there, they obviously did it to get onto the area and have it as their own territory, so it’s nice that they’re sticking around and we get regular sightings of them.
Rifle shooting today, so much fun! I’ve gotten better as well! Joe then gave us our first aid lecture, and didn’t reaslise how scared of spiders Emma is. Ended up shoving a picture of one under her face and she burst into tears! He got a demerit for that…
In the afternoon we went out to find Kusala, the female cheetah in the buffalo camp. Emma learned how to use the telem equipment and actually did a really good first job! We tried and tried to find her, but she must have been moving as the signal kept getting weaker. However, we did find some really rare hartebeest! I don’t think I’ve seen them before so that was really cool!
Today we cleaned out Eddie’s cage, basically meaning we scrubbed poo! It was looking very sparkly by the time we’d finished though, so hopefully he appreciates it. Katie gave us some office work to do, and I spent about an hour trying to find some journal Katie needs for her brown hyena study…I’m now not looking forward to University research projects using the online library for journals!
Garth called in a hippo sighting so we went to try find it, but instead found the herd of elephants again. We got out the car and sat on some rocks overlooking the river as the ellies were on the other bank. One was being so funny, he was right by the water rolling around in the sand and blowing water with his trunk, when a small water lizard swam across the water towards him, and he just freaked out, jumped up and ran up the bank!
Later in the day we got to do the nyala camp feed, and I got shocked by the electric fence! It doesn’t really hurt as the amps are low, but oh my word! The volts go right through your body and make every muscle just jump! I literally leapt in the air! However, we did get to see the smallest baby nyala come up to the freshly filled trough to eat! She was so cute, which made up for being shocked! The nyala are such pretty antelope!
For dinner we went to Hoedspruit to Sleepers for dinner. It’s nice to get out once a week and try some different food, plus I had a ‘Giggling Giraffe’ cocktail! Sooooo yumm!
Yet another awesome ellie sighting today whilst out on a herbivore count drive. We’d stopped to look at a tree (coz we’re cool) and we heard some loud rustling in the bush close to the car, and then a trumpet coming from a little way in front of us. Katie suddenly goes, ‘I think the elephants are about to run across the road’, and sure enough, in groups of up to 5 ellies, a whole herd just ran across the landing strip clearing in front of us, trumpeting and making such a noise! It was so funny to watch, as they’d been spooked by the wind!! One group ran across with a small 1 year old baby inbetween them all, and then another group a few seconds later ran across with an even smaller baby! So cute! Elephants are so silly; they get scared by the smallest things!
Last job of the week was to clean out the sable camps, empty the water hole, scrub it and fill it with fresh water in all 3 camps, whilst Joe raked up all the old food on the floor to clear the area. It’s hard work, but satisfying, and we knew once we were done it was time for the weekend!
It’s been a bit of a cloudy weekend, but it’s been ok, just chilling in the house and garden. Emma’s been reading, I’ve been doing the menu and shopping list, and then we’ve watched some films too. I’m really glad I get on so well with her, or this could have been a difficult month!
I hope everyone doing resits did well last week, hopefully see everyone at Uni! I finally managed to enroll online for Uni, and I'm really looking forward to going back, except that it means leaving Africa... I'm loving it out here so much...