We started our week with a workshop on photography. This included how to make use of the light and find new perspectives when taking photos. With a few avid photographers in our group, we quickly became familiar with the specific terms and how to use the camera to capture that perfect shot. Unfortunately, we had to be patient before we could put our new knowledge in practice, as we continued with lectures about taxonomy and birds. The lectures provided us with even more new knowledge, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to using this knowledge during our first practical guiding exercises.
On Tuesday afternoon we went on a bushwalk through the reserve and did some birding along the way. Our goal was to slowly walk from our game vehicle to Kirsti’s Dam and back, but the moment we reached the dam we got a call to head back to camp as soon as possible. As it turned out Trevor had heard and seen some lions right next to our camp and was urging us to come and see them. Unfortunately, they were gone by the time we arrived.
On Wednesday it was time to pack our bags for our first sleep out under the stars in the dangerous game territory. Just down the road from the Toro campus, there is a beautiful lookout-point where we decided to stay for the night. After settling in, we started the fire and had ourselves a nice braai. As night started to fall, we spotted a pride of four lionesses coming out of the thicket for a drink, down by the Makhutswi River. As the lionesses were drinking, the sunset and the sky turned pink, orange and purple, with a small white moon. We could not have asked for better luck.
We had set up a schedule to keep watch, with a different team every two hours. My turn was from 3:00 AM until 5:00 AM, which meant an early morning, but seeing the sun come up over the Lowveld made it all worth it. After some coffee and tea, we packed up our things again and headed back to camp.
We ended the week with two more game drives, done by two of my fellow students (Andi and Sophie). Both game drives resulted in some great sightings of mammals, birds, plants, reptiles and arthropods; which we by now know how to place within the taxonomic tree of life ;).
We are now packing our bags for our first off week. Everyone has made plans to visit friends or family while some will be relaxing not too far from our newfound home for the next coming months.