All and sundry are back from a week off, straight back into business, and noses on the grindstone.
Lectures for the week covered the topics of Biomes, Weather & Climate, and Astronomy.
Practice for rifle handling is now on the menu almost on a daily basis.
A practical focused on botany, geology and birding around camp proved to be interesting, and especially insightful into the lifecycles of ticks… We have these arachnids around us all the time in the bush and they simply become `part of the deal` after a while. It is quite interesting though, to see them grow from millions of minute 6-legged larvae ( pepperticks), to slightly larger, and luckily less numerous, 8- legged nymphs. Needless to say, some of our learners are `way more` well acquainted with, and oddly less fond of, our persistent friends, the ticks.
Game drives this week have been great, the highlight being watching a herd of almost 40 elephant feeding out in the open. This was unfortunately just after sunset, so no photos were taken, and we avoid using lights/spotlights on these herbivores after dark, but the sounds and interactions between such a large group of these facinating animals, was priceless. With preparations for the upcoming Level 1 ‘Mock’ assessements well under way – the general game animals have played along nicely. Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Wildebesst, Kudu, Waterbuck, Warthogs….you name it and they have been seen and spoken about numerous times this week. Porcupine & serval were also seen this week. Flap-necked Chameleons are out and about now that the temperature is rising as we head into summer. Along with this, of course comes all the creepy crawlies and our students are getting well-acquanted….fast! All part and parcel of the Field Guiding package and quite facinating one the intiail fears are eliminated.
After an atronomy focused Night drive, a walk at the end of the week was in order, and so it started… yet what was to come we could not have anticipated. The air was thick with smoke from bushfires in Kruger National Park and surrounding areas as the roar of lions set our course for the walk, and we were optimistic, bumping into two other big game sightings too! Finding only the stripped waterbuck carcass by the river’s edge, with numerous tracks all over leading off into seemingly different directions, certainly dampened our initial optimism of encountering these lions on foot. We had to adapt our plans and choose a course. Some distance upstream, constantly getting up on the bank, and back down into the river in order to avoid the thick riparian vegetation, we came to a well-worn hippo path cutting through a section of large feverberry and reed brush, onto an elevated sandy patch. From here on there’s not much to say, apart from, you had to be there. In that bubble where time slows down, air becomes viscous, sounds tangible, and your mind crystal clear…
Lionesses with cubs, textbook encounter, Africa!
Photo Credit: Francois Malan (Ufoto Africa)
Until Next Time,
Cobus & The Bushwise Team