South Africa update

Hi again.

There’s so much that has happened since I last wrote on here, I don’t even know where to start. Each week has been full of interesting discoveries in the bush and learning about different animal behaviours. We’ve also had a lot of assessments, such as game drives, observational field tests, bird call tests and exams, so I’m sorry I’ve not had time to write on here sooner!

This week alone, I’ve been assessed on my skills guiding a drive around the reserve and had to deliver a presentation on the communication between elephants (did you know that they communicate using seismic vibrations and have a whole language that we are unable to hear?).

We’ve also seen some amazing sightings, yesterday being particularly lucky for animal viewings. On our daytime drive we came across a baby puff adder lying across the road, looking remarkably similar to a small branch. We also bumped into a group of five white rhinos all lined up in a row, casually munching away at the grass with a beautiful view of the fields in the background. This was a rare sighting for all of us as rhinos are usually quite solitary in the daytime or at most seen in pairs; with a mother and her calf. What else was incredible about this sighting was that just a few meters down the road we came across a rhino calf playing with a bull with the mother standing calmly watching on. Within the usual behaviours of rhinos, mothers usually become aggressive and defensive when bulls approach their calves and the calves themselves are usually frightened by the males rather than being playful with them, so this was quite an unusual sighting. As amazing as these sightings were, the night time drive brought even more incredible viewings. We stumbled across a genet hiding in the bushes, a brown hyena running in front of us and quite remarkably a hippo walking next to our car! Hippos are widely known as being one of the most dangerous animals in the wild and they are very rarely seen out of water as they purposely avoid humans, so this was a very exciting sighting for us!

So, there’s been a lot happening on the reserve and I have even more assessments and exams coming up in my final 3 weeks. Hopefully they’ll all go well 🙂

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