Last month I had 6 photographers on the project, and on our very first game drive we had a wonderful sighting of a lone impala at the brow of a hill. It’s very rare to see impala without assorted grasses, twigs and branches either in front or behind them, making any photographs quite ‘busy’ and distracting. This was a wonderful opportunity for a ‘clean’ shot, and we made the most of it.
We’ve had regular sightings of rhinos and were close enough to one of them to very clearly see the tracking chip inserted into its horn.
One close encounter was very close though – one of the rhinos had a wound on its side and was rather grumpy. It came stamping and snorting towards us and we had to sit very still and make no noise at all.
However, the month has been the month of the elephants – we’ve seen them so many times, and at close quarters too. It’s often been the case that one of our guides will point to a distant hillside and say ‘elephants’, at which point we all squint and gaze in vain at trees, trees, and more trees, wondering how our eagle-eyed guide has spotted them whilst driving, when we can’t even see them when they are pointed out!
My volunteers planned and conducted a lesson for the Grade 7 students from a local school who are aged between 12 and 15. The big age span is due to how much school they’ve been able to attend and at what age they started. Some of these kids walk for up to 90 minutes to get to school each morning, and then walk back again afterwards. For their lesson they came here to the lodge, and afterwards they had 30 minutes free time before returning to school. Many of them made the most of our swimming pool – jumping in partially or fully clothed, and drying off on the return journey to school!
We’ve rescued at least 6 tortoises with a death wish too! They amble over towards the fence line and get stuck underneath the lowest electrified wire. We’ve all been on the lookout for them and carefully extract them, sending them on their way back into the bush with strict instructions not to do it again!
The impalas are starting to have their babies – they all give birth within a few weeks so there is a huge explosion of cuteness sightings on our drives now 🙂
The giraffes have been necking each other – that’s not anything to do with love – it’s the males thumping each other to determine dominance!
As usual, our Friday afternoon game drives have lived up to their reputation as being the best of the week. For some strange reason we always have great sightings, or find whatever we’ve been looking for all week. This month the lions have been hiding, but we’ve managed to find them on our ‘fantastic Fridays’ 🙂 Here is a sequence of the lionesses out hunting.
I’m pleased to have made an impact with 3 displays of photography in the lodge. Each month the photographers submit 5 photos to be voted on by their successors. The winning shot is printed, framed and displayed in the lodge. When I arrived, the winning images were in mismatched frames on a bit of wall that had a partial area of orange paint on it, just like you’d do with a tester pot. Some of the frames were broken, and some of the photos had slipped. I put my October volunteers to work and they did a great job of marking out a rectangle and painting it grey, and our business manager bought and put up some spotlights and new matching frames. There is now have a fantastic display of our photography volunteers’ work.
I also overhauled our photography pin-board by taking down a variety of messy bits & pieces of information. I introduced an ‘art’ editing session into the schedule and put up images from these sessions instead. Finally, whilst clearing out a store cupboard, we found some old frames, and these now contain some other great images right by the entrance doorway.
Only two weeks left now, before I return to my office job back home! I will miss lots of things here, but not the explosion of bugs and spiders we’ve just had.