Here we are again, writing our weekly blog indicates that yet another week has passed, and not just that, but the first month-long semester is also drawing to a close, can you believe it!
It has not only been a busy semester, but as always, a busy week indeed, and only a small insight of what is still to come. This week has been a little bit off schedule due to the well needed rain, and it has rained just about every day this week, a little unusual, but always nice. We decided to move all our classroom based activities for the week early on, and was hoping that the rain would pass, but that plan didn’t quite seem to work out. With the next three lectures and lots of mammal presentations out of the way, our students now know a lot more about taxonomy, ecology as well as ethology. Mammal presentations were done by students, to students, and not only on big animals, but some smaller ones too, such as bush babies, genets and dwarf mongoose to name a few.
With the lectures out of the way, what better way to get out there and see some sun, than with game drives, and the remainder of the week was full of them, although the sun part of the plan was a bit scarce! Ponchos and rain gear were a definite necessity for our drives this week, but most definitely well worth getting wet for. Wednesday morning, as we were starting to head back to camp, two gentle giants were found, happily walking down the road, enjoying the now ripe marula fruit, and in the blink of an eye, disappeared into the thick bush! Later that day, after yet more rain, we decided to rather do a night drive than our usual afternoon drive, and not 15 minutes after setting off on our drive, we were met by yet another big bull, but with a difference, he was full in musth! Musth refers to bulls that are ready to mate, and tends to be a very grumpy at the best of times, so giving them extra space is always a good idea. This bull, however, was more focussed on showing off his strength by pushing over a huge Marula tree right in front of us, and then proceeded to cross the road between two our vehicles, beautiful indeed! Later that night, and no less than 8 flap-necked chameleons later, one of our vehicles spotted some more elephants, but this time a herd. Seeing as it was dark, we didn’t want to shine lights on these sensitive animals, so they were left in peace, and our drive carried on. The weather played along perfectly, even giving us a short gap to see the amazing night sky!
The following morning, and what better than more game drives! We decided to head in the direction of last night’s elephant herd, and with fresh tracks all over the place, how could you not find them. In between little bits of rain, the ellies provided us with fantastic viewing opportunities, and were able to follow them around for quite some time, once again, fortunate enough to have them crossing the road around our vehicle. After a while, they slowed down a bit, and enjoyed the now wet sand by having a good old dust (mud?) bath! This was a sighting so special, the rain couldn’t wash the smiles off our faces! Oh, and we also bumped into last night’s musth bull again! Other highlights included Sable antelope, and Kori Bustard, the heaviest flying bird in Africa!
So all that is left for this week, and semester, is our last set of tests to write this morning and our students will be free for the week. For those of you heading home, travel safe, and those going to explore Kruger, I wish you many happy sightings!
Till next time!
Charles and The Bushwise Team