A Week in the Bush with Bushwise
Not the typical blog, rather a glimpse into the week in the Bushveld with Bushwise…
Sunday: There is a buzz at basecamp Mahlahla as learners and staff, trickle back from far flung corners of this most exquisite southern tip of mother Africa after a well deserved break after completion of term two at Bushwise.
Monday: early morning start as there is a camp and campus to be cleaned up and re-aligned with operational standards after the relaxation of a seven day break. A lecture shedding light on, and facilitating understanding of, the nine biomes in our biodiverse country, is covered before brunch. Iris’s cooking serves us well and we all keen to get back in the bush for a game drive. The `first flux of the season`, so to speak, as we discover remnants of an Iron Age Smelting kiln on Makutsi. The flushing foliage and vibrant buds of Tree Wisteria and Weeping Boer Bean heralds the return of migrating birds and sightings include long lost friends the like of Purple Roller, Walberg’s and Tawny Eagles, Klaas’s Cuckoo and… It’s only just starting. There’s no doubt, this season’s gonna buzz!
Tuesday: Sunrise greets us as we drive into African savannah, what a life. Yes, we have not had enough, we want more, and we want as much us we can get from these precious times. More geology, arthropods, botany and.. Persistence delivers with Cheetah and Lion. ‘Muhle!’ (Awesome) sightings. OOPS.. We need to get back for a lecture on Southern African Weather and Climate phenomenon…ok fine, we’ll clinch it after brunch – cool.
Wednesday: Something between Anna’s birthday and just an excuse to get out there on another drive gets us up well before sunrise- say what you wish, it’s a super time of the day to be ferreting around in the bushes. Fresh tracks! (A mentor by the name of Collin Patrick once said `my boy, if you ever see tracks like these in the bush.. follow them!), and so we did. Not long, Lion, mating. Score1! The drive meanders into a coffee break, and soon after the comment from one of the students nonchalantly- is that an Elephant? Sure Enough, across the Makhutswe River, calmly feeding – Perfect! A glimpse from Charles confirmed my suspicion, we are going for a walk. Minutes later the group is crouched on the Northern bank, with two ellie bulls comfortably going about their business on the southern bank, 25 metres away. Now that what I call Africa! Happy birthday Anna. The afternoon was allocated to rifle practice and preparation for assessments coming. The early evening was ‘engulfed by a water pistol shootout, turning unauthentic with individual learners targeting certain trainers. This is war! The rest speaks for itself.
Thursday: The morning is absorbed by rifle handling and walks with rotating groups focussing on tracks, medicinal plants, venomous spiders, birds and geology, the small stuff (that can very often make up the majority of game drive time). There is restlessness in camp. People are fidgeting even before brunch, what’s up? We get going as the mercury drops below 40, meandering our way to the most easterly boundaries of the reserve, further than we usually venture. OOH, almost forgot, its SLEEPOUT tonight, and we scouting for a camping spot. A dry riverbed seems ideal, and we have to off-road upstream until we get past the major elephant crossings. Perfect. On the way we just had to stop for some ellies. We have smoke, we have glow, and, we have…fire. The women made fire. This is the authentic way. Uhm, you got some catching up to do, boys.
Friday: A man wakes up at dusk, seemingly surprised that all individuals are still present, and, quite chirpy at it. It’s Erik, all the way from the mother city based renowned online travel magazine “Nightjar Travel” . Erik joined us yesterday, and chose to take part in this experience. Bushwise has been nominated by Nightjar as an authority on matters Bush-Wise, and we are happy to oblige with weekly blogs, so- watch that space. Ok, let’s quickly fix a flat tyre in soft river sand, and get going. Done. Ellies on the way back kept us busy with calf, mother and protective aunt showing interest in us. Lioness rehabilitating in holding boma showed surprising interest in one of our trainers tracking along the fence line.. Puts new perspective on ‘Free Lunch’. Sublime, all three vehicles back at camp after a fierce water fight on the way…
Saturday: Weekly test is due, so last night was door mousey. 12 pm. off time. Rocking for Rhino’s is what it says. A music festival where income generated is channelled toward \Rhino protection in Southern Africa. Cool.
Sunday: At ease
Until Next Time,
Cobus and The Bushwise Team