Life as a trainee Field Guide: Amakhala Game Reserve, a hidden gem we call home
Ulovane update: This week began with awesome astronomy with Oom Ben! It blew our minds to realise just how big the universe really is. There are more stars than grains of sand, that evening we headed out onto Ulovane reserve to see for ourselves just how amazing the night sky is. While lying on the grass we saw the constellation of Orion, easily to find with the 3 kings Mintaka, Alnitak and Alnilam as the belt. Also, Scorpio and the Southern Cross were twinkling in the sky. Surprisingly Scorpio is the only constellation I know that actually looks like the name. One exception might be the Southern Cross because the name is saying what it does, pretty cool!
This week we all got an opportunity to test our driving skills, for some easier than others! We always got back to camp safely, so I guess our driving skills are improving and we are all getting used to driving Sully the cruiser!
An entire day spent out on Amakhala Game reserve, yes please! Coolerbox packed to the brim we headed out on our adventure, with Bonakele first behind the wheel. He immediately found us the family of elephants, a great sighting thanks!! We enjoyed amazing sightings the whole day, Gerhard spotted to 2 angulate tortoises fighting. 0ne of the two was slightly bigger than the other one, the boys decieded to choose sides to see who would win the fight. Interestingly enough the smallest tortoise flipped the bigger one 3 times or more whilst the bigger one only managed to flip the small one once and after the third flip from the smaller one on the bigger one, the bigger one gave up and slipped away. We spent about 30 minutes watching this interesting fight, just goes to show in nature it is not always about size but rather skill!
Juanita led us out on Thursday and showed us all four lions nicely lala phantsi (lying down), Eline took beautiful pictures of our amazing lion family. We also came across a rare sighting of two big leopard tortoises mating, we didn’t stay long on that sighting just to give them their “privacy”, Eline managed to get cool pictures, though. We were also lucky to get a chance to go and see one of the beautiful but “no longer operational lodge” anymore called Eliweni (top of the ridge) lodge, what a beautiful view from this lodge of the Amakhala Game Reserve basin. I got quite excited to share some true stories about this amazing, well placed little lodge. I told the group that my grandfather (David Nokanda) was the first man to run this lodge, he would lead the clients to this great spot, bring food, drinks & sometimes cook for the clients. Some of the group members even said they could live at Eliweni forever. While there Sam T spotted a beautiful paradise flycatcher male one of my favorite birds, unfortunately, no one got a photo, it was too quick for us
The week ended with a lovely lunch, swim and nature awareness exercises at the boat site on Amakhala. To just sit and enjoy the sounds and beauty of nature is truly special and one forgets to do this from time to time. When I was skipper for the boat trips, I always enjoyed the peace of nature before the guests would arrive and this day reminded me that we should take time in nature every day to just stop, listen and take in our surroundings it is good for the soul!
“Senses empower limitations, senses expand vision within borders, senses promote understanding through pleasure.” – Dejan Stojanovic