Well this past Friday the 15th was the halfway point of the expedition, which was a very sad day. All of us ten weekers had to say goodbye to not only the Venetia Reserve and Safari Camp, but on an even sadder note had to say goodbye to half of our group. This was quite a sad day to say the least, I made such good friends with the entire group and to say bye with the prospect of more than likely never seeing most, if not all of them ever again was a very difficult thing to do. So below before I get into the other cool things that happened and are happening I will say a quick word about the six that are gone. (There are however 6 new very cool people here at Karongwe though)
Haha I don’t even know where to start with this one. Me and Charlie had somewhat of a love/hate type of relationship. In the first few weeks we bumped heads on a few occasions, probably a culture clash. He is as British as they come and I am pretty much as American as they come. But once we got over our subtle differences we become very good friends. He is a ex-British military officer and now he is a public school teacher (which in the UK is like our private fee based school system). Then you have me all crazy and American so it took a little adapting on both of our sides to get along, but I tip the hat to both of us. He was actually a very interesting rather worldly type who has been everywhere and done everything so he was great for those philosophical conversations. Plus we both constantly cracked jokes on each other which was always good fun. I will definitely miss him which sounds kind of weird to say, especially to the rest of the group. But perhaps we will meet up one day when I visit the UK.
Joe and Danielle
Well me and this awesome couple got along very well right from the start, they are both from NY lol (even though you are a Jets fan Joe haha). Danielle was kind of like my big sister the whole time, always giving me pointers on when I am acting up and what not lol (she’s awesome). And me and Joe were basically the only football fans there and are both sports obsessed, Joe R you would love this guy he is infatuated with baseball. They are both high school teachers and both extremely smart people so they made for great conversation as well, and when we drank Danielle got a little wild with the other girls (not to wild lol I don’t want Danielle killing me next time we meet up). These two were both on my team with Charlie as well the “Buffalo Soldiers” what a cool name haha. I will be missing them a lot, however I will most assuredly be seeing them again they do travel to Florida and I will most likely be going up to NY pretty soon.
Amy the “human hyena” which has nothing to do with looks at all, it’s just this woman would laugh hysterically at everything making me feel like a comedian. She is one of the coolest ladies I have ever met. Amy is Australian, but now she lives in London, she as well was on my team and helped make for such a great time. She almost egged me on to get really crazy and do a strip show haha. But she wasn’t that persuasive or I wasn’t that drunk lol. She as well will be very missed and hopefully I will see her again someday too.
Kim is the “most awesomest chick ever” haha. Ah where do I begin with Kim, she is probably one of the nicest most genuine girls I have met in quite some time, truly beautiful from the inside out. She is Canadien and an all around cool girl. She made for such a fun time, she was very intelligent and mature but had a very fun child-like spirit, which could always put a smile on your face even when you weren’t in the mood. She will be greatly missed and hopefully one day I will get to see her again.
Oh man LouLou, she was quite the interesting character. Me and her got along like brother and sister, one minute I wanted to ring her neck the next I wanted to hug her (don’t worry Dana she is not as cool as you lol). The first week we as well had a few battle of words, but at the end she become one of the people I become closest too, she would share with me some quite interesting stories. She is exactly my age plus another Scorpio and she lives in Salt Lake City. So possibly we will meet up again which I hope we do, she will be missed greatly as well.
So the last few days at Safari Camp were so magical but depressing at the same time, almost to the point where it kind of detracted from the excitement of the next phase. But the memories are great and I have plenty of pictures to look back on it with. Anyway enough sad stuff and onto the next phase.
First Experience at Karongwe
At this point now I am at the next base and reserve and this place is amazing. It is actually a house with couches and normal bathrooms with showers, plus the room we sleep in is warm and not freezing. It is not as rugged as Venetia but quite a nice change up.
Now for the wildlife. On my first drive we saw so much, rhino, ellies, cheetah, we got Tilo the perfect leopard on a minus five, but no visual (like I said perfect leopard, stealth is their middle name). And the coolest thing about the base is hyenas come to the house every single night. They literally come ten feet from where we hang out, its absolutely nuts. The night before we arrived they were chasing a Kudu around the house and almost made the kill and last night they cornered another Kudu, but we interfered and let him escape in fear he might run into the vehicles. So maybe one of these nights I will be sitting back with a glass of wine and get to enjoy a hyena kill, keeping my fingers crossed.
Upcoming Leopard Focus with Discovery
Well we have a very interesting and busy next few weeks planned for us here. You see there is this male leopard named “shiluweni”. He has made some noise in the conservation world, enough noise to attract Discovery to come and do a documentary on him. Supposedly he is a very laid back and chilled out leopard that is very habituated to the vehicles. However his story begins when he was once caged and tried to escape and lost some of this canines in the process. So ever since they have been doing surgeries and have now given him titanium teeth. This procedure is a first for leopards or any big cats for that fact. This Saturday he will be released from the boma back into the reserve, which will start our leopard focus.
This will mean that from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for two weeks straight we will be following him. So all night long we will be on his tail tracking him and seeing what he is doing. Hopefully I will get the chance to see him hunt, leopards are nocturnal. The even better part of this focus is that the Discovery channel’s film crew will be sitting on the back of our vehicles with us filming his story and release back into the wild. This is so cool that means I will be telemming for the Discovery channel to perform their work, and who knows there is always the small chance maybe I can even get on the documentary. I will be updating with more info on this when it happens over the next few weeks.
Well yesterday me and four of my buddies did a day tour of the mighty Kruger National Park, which is probably one of the greatest and most popular game parks in the entire world. We spent twelve hours driving through and got some great sightings. A huge breeding herd of Elephants surrounded our car, they had about ten little calves with them and they were extremely relaxed around us.
I also kind of got quite the scare myself. At one point we ended up at a dam and I couldn’t resist going down to it to try and get some closer croc pictures. When I got down to the dam I scared one of them right in and the rest of them submerged. At this point I turned the corner where there were a bunch of reeds and BAM ten feet from me was a giant hippo staring right at me in the water (they are the most dangerous game in all of Africa). So I instantly froze up realizing how close I was and that I was alone with all my friends up the rocky hill. Then it started to get out of the water but thankfully it was walking out the other side of the dam, which helped us all get some good pics. But it was pretty scary, I just didn’t even see him until it was right there. However I had a good escape route had he decided to charge, there was a very steep rocky hill right behind me that he would not have been able to scale.
Then we had lunch which was so cool. At the lunch spot there were hundreds of beautiful bird begging us for our food and monkeys that were actually stealing our food lol.
However enough for now, hopefully next time I update the blog there will be many more interesting things to talk about.