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    Hello again from the Lowveld. I hope you are all well and looking forward to the 2nd semester as much as I am. Just to recap as it has been a while since our last blog, we are all back at campus and the first week of the 2nd semester has come to an end. Our students have all enjoyed a lovely week off after a hard semester and while most visited the world renowned Kruger National Park, a few travelled a bit further to the likes of Johannesburg, Freestate and even Somerset West close to Cape Town. They all had a good time and sightings in Kruger were spectacular as usual. Most of our foreign students also wrote their learners exam for a South African drivers licence and passed. Well done boys and girls.

    We started the week with a game drive and the groups on Makalali had good general game sightings as well as an elephant sighting. Apart from the two lectures, grasses and geology, covered during the week we also had a guest speaker come in for a presentation on photography. I would like to thank Albie Venter for making the time to do this with us. We all learned a lot regarding photography and how to guide photographic guests.

    On Wednesday half of the group enjoyed a full day game drive on the reserve while the other half had a full day in the Kruger Park. By full day I mean leave campus at 04:00 hrs and get back at 22:30 hrs. Yes I know that 4 o’clock in the morning most people are still asleep but early bird catches the worm. Both the groups had very good sightings and one that really stands out is the pack of African Wild dogs found on the Kruger trip as these carnivores are endangered in Southern Africa. There were so many other sightings, too many to mention but they include lion, buffalo, elephant and variety of birds. The group on the reserve had great lion and elephant sightings, and learnt a little more about river crossings!

    Thursday afternoon we were all geared up and ready for the sleep out of semester 1 that was moved due to rain and with the land rovers packed we set out to the reserve at about 3 o’clock. Roughly an hour or so later it started raining and fortunately we were not too deep into the reserve but deep enough to get soaked and cancel sleep out, again. We will try and squeeze one in next week and I’m hoping that the weather will play along this time. Friday mornings optional activity was a game walk and with the upcoming exam on geology and grass most of the emphasis was placed on these topics, until relatively fresh lion tracks were found. After some time was spent trying to track them the opened their wings and flew away. Yes that’s right flew away! Suddenly the tracks just disappeared and left us all amazed?      

    Well that’s all I have time for this week, but with another busy week ahead make sure you don’t miss next week’s blog.

    Conraad and the Bushwise team. 

    Photo: Hamish Mitchell