VOLUNTEER TRIP SOUTH AFRICA – DAY 1
It’s the end of day 1, and I’m staying the night in Zululand Rhino Reserve as it’s another 2 hours to Tembe camp. It has been 25 hours ago since I left Malaga, Spain, but I’m glad I’m here.
All my flights were delayed, a good thing there was enough time between them, as one of the volunteers missed their connection flight. The flight from Johannesburg to Richards Bay, took only just over an hour, in a rather small plane. After I managed to knock a gentlemen in the head with my backpack, I found my seat near the back of the plane. I can’t say I was feeling very comfortable with the noise this plane was making, but then I’m not a hero when it concerns planes, and to test my courage, we had a very rough landing due to the wind force, for a split-second I was sure we were veering off the landing strip.
We were welcomed by smiling faces in this very small airport. After meeting the 6 other volunteers, off we were, an hour and half later, we arrived at Zululand Rhino Reserve, where we all will be staying the night and then tomorrow morning at 7 AM they’re picking us up to drop everyone off at the other camps, 4 of us are going to the Elephant reserve, called Tembe.
Whilst entering into Zululand, we got lucky and got greeted by giraffes, it’s all a bit surreal, these gorgeous majestic creatures in the middle of the road.. I’ve seen giraffes before, in captivity as most people, but this is different, in their normal habitat just roaming about, they seem to go in pairs, at least that’s what I’ve observed.
They saw us coming ran past us and stopped, gazing at us.. Inquisitive bunch they are. I already managed to get some shots of them, and we didn’t even arrive at our destination.
Just 50 meters further a warthog and her 2 little ones were wandering on the road, they were not lingering about and sped off, they are really cute.
We arrived at camp, which is a big house, with different bed- and bathrooms, a communal area with kitchen, big table and outdoor area, surrounded by a fence. We are not under any circumstances allowed to go beyond that fence.. and we have been warned that once night falls, which is around 19.00, to be careful as the snakes come out. I’m not really afraid of snakes, but as I don’t know what kind we are talking about, there is no need to aggravate them. Camp is basic, no luxuries, but it’s clean, that’s all that matters.
Whilst the Canadian lady, Heather, took care of dinner, by the way we all take turns to cook, we saw some action just outside our fence, a whole herd of impalas playing hide and seek.. unfortunately they were obscured by the plants and trees to get some decent photos.
It’s a lovely bunch of people, a small group and tomorrow we’ll be divided over the different camps.
The people that will be joining me in Tembe for the next 2 weeks are a Heather, Canadian lady who has spent the last 2 months volunteering in the different game reserves, a Norwegian young lady Alisa and a young lady from Switzerland
Talking with the camp manager about poachers, she told me the sad fact that every full moon at least 4-5 rhinos are slaughtered. Most rhinos that are here, their horn have been removed, but there are still some left who are intact. They have tried dyeing them, but that didn’t make any difference, so now they are removing the horns, so there is no reason to kill them.
A little scream just got me off the computer.. well it wasn’t little, it was a full-blow scream and 2 woman running backwards in the kitchen from the night department, the poor animal got probably a heart attack, it was only a monitor lizard, ok it’s not small, but it’s harmless. It crawled in the cupboard and hid himself under a load of blankets.. bless him. He just pretended to be death, we decided to leave him in there. Nothing better than a lit bit of excitement to end the day.
I better check all my luggage and shoes tomorrow. Keep everything shut.
Time to get some sleep as we’re being spoiled tomorrow with a lie-in…
Internet is either really slow or non-existent, so uploading blogs will be when it happens.