Where has the time gone?? Starting tomorrow, I will begin take down of my survey and then hit the road for the eight-hour drive back to Joburg. But I am not heading straight back to Cape Town just yet, I will reload the bakkie in Joburg and then head up near the Botswana border to help set up two more surveys before heading back to CT on 5 November. I have fallen completely in love with the reserve I am currently located and the people here, I have learned so much during my time here as well. The survey went really well and super smooth! My cameras captured a decent number of individual leopards and three new species that had not been officially documented for living on the reserve – a caracal, a honey badger and a serval!
Having moved around so much in Cape Town already, this has been the longest I have stayed in one location since I have moved to South Africa. My little room in the research camp feels the most like home to me right now. I am not looking forward to leaving, although it will be nice to see everyone in Cape Town and it’ll be wonderful to be with Ryno again. It is going to be very difficult to adjust back to city life once more after living in the bush again, I already cannot wait for my next time. I will only be in Cape Town for about three and a half weeks, then I hop back over the big puddle to America, where hopefully (hold thumbs for me) I can FINALLY sort out my visa and come back to SA as quick as possible. Though, I will be honest, I am very nervous about the prospect of it not working out or it taking longer than just a few weeks. I am not sure what I will do next if the visa doesn’t come through. Perhaps back to Namibia? Botswana, maybe?
I have been enjoying my last few days before take down. This morning I set my alarm for 04h30 though my body decided 03h00 was the perfect time to wake up…. I grabbed my camera and set out to capture the sunrise.
I drove around my favourite road next to the swamp and made my way up to the northern hide where I was privileged to watch a delightful breeding herd with a young calf enjoy the morning at the spa, drinking fresh water, taking soothing mud baths and finishing off with a nice dusting. The young calf was so energetic and playful. She ran from elephant to elephant, flaring her ears and trumpeting to the clouds. She thoroughly enjoyed her mud bath. Instead of kicking the mud onto herself and using her truck to spray it on her back like all of the older eles, she simply flopped on her side and rolled all around in the mud.
And because I have been slacking at posting, here are just some fun photos of hungry carnivores from over the past few weeks … maybe I will come back and type about them next time I have a little free time and some inspiration.
I have made some wonderful new friends here and saying goodbye is never easy. Luckily the conservation world is a very small one, so it’s not an actual goodbye, more like a “I’ll see you when I see you.”
On to the next site and another new (although much more brief) adventure!