Good morning and happy Friday. Oops I lied. It is Saturday, but it takes too much to delete that line and re-write it. Plus, it actually is a good representation of my current mind – aka I have no clue what day it is. This past week, er really two weeks, actually this whole year has just seemed to flash by in a blink. Right now we are going on a full week of cold, cloudy and rainy days (Ryno is actually sitting outside “guarding” my office in his yellow rain slicker right now).
It is weird to me to have cloudy days in winter. When I lived in Namibia and North West in SA, we could easily go from March/April to November without seeing a single cloud in the sky. I am used to dry, cold winters. Not this rainy damp stuff (Cape Town can keep their wet winters). But even worse so is that my house is solar powered, including my hot water geiser which means I have no had hot or even warm showers ALL week. But as the sun was rising this morning, I saw a peak of orange through the thick cloud cover, so hopefully that means the sun will start showing its face around these parts again soon. I am very much solar powered myself, if you could not tell – haha how did I ever survive freezing, snowy dreary winters in America?
This week has been primarily office-bound work for me working on a few different projects and some content gathering driving around finding things to photograph or video. I did drive up to the new community lodge being built in the northern part of the reserve (about a 2-2 ½ hour drive) to take progress photos of the construction. The goal of this lodge is that it is being built as a partnership between Karingani and one of our neighbouring communities, Cubo. It will be advertised mainly as a nice stop over for people travelling from Kruger and South Africa on their way to the stunning beaches of Mozambique. That is until people realise what an incredible gem Karingani is and then people will start making Karingani their main destination. But speaking of travel, it sounds like (holding thumbs here) that borders might start being opening up very soon! South Africa is down to ‘Stage 2’ already and I have heard lots and lots of rumours that borders might open to their regular capacity by even next month! Mozambique announced the other day that they are opening borders on their side to people with valid work permits so that is definitely a huge step in the direction of open borders. And have you checked out flight prices yet?? A roundtrip flight from Washington DC to Johannesburg is only $600 USD for December – who wants to visit me for Christmas??
The wild dogs have been typical wild dogs lately and eluding me every time I set out to find them. There have been lots of incidental sightings lately by our rangers and fenceline staff showing that the pups are all at a mobile age and are no longer den bound. Also this was confirmed last week for the Mbilu Pack when I walked in to their most recent den site to set up camera traps only to find that the pups were at the follow-the-pack age and I got only camera trap images of shadows and tree branches blowing in the wind and one side-striped jackal checking out the abandoned den. I am waiting on our telemetry receiver set to come back from being borrowed so I can catch up with the packs more easily. I have been dying to see the new dynamics with the puppies and to find out exactly how many puppies are in each pack!
I have touched a bit on one of our wild dog packs before in a previous post, but I think I owe you guys a “meet the dogs” post to describe the current wild dog dynamics at Karingani. Actually, yeah that could be really fun. I will get on that for you! 😊
But I will make that a separate post so you can refer to it later without having to sift through the latest weather update here. Until then, here are some recent photos that I am obsessed with on my early morning mist walk to the den site the other day. (And some from a little Hedwig photoshoot I did recently).