Monday, March 2

a break from Safari work

Wild Fox glove

I woke up in the early hours of this morning with a familiar anxiety attack, “where AM I?”,  and then, “where am I picking up my clients….. have I over slept?”  A regular part of my safari routine, is the sleepless night in Johannesburg before leaving for the Kruger again… it doesn’t matter how organized and familiar the pre-trip routine is now, I just can’t get a good night’s sleep. It’s a whole different matter once I am on safari – I sleep like a baby for the 5 hours I usually get in a night.

Spotted Hyaena with cub

Whenever I am back “at home” for more than a couple of nights, I often wake up disoriented not knowing where I am and what I am supposed to be doing in the morning. Overall though, a very minor inconvenience….. I really enjoy being on the road, living out of a suitcase and hardly ever spending more than 2 nights in a row in one place. I used to think that in my previous lives I was a marine animal or a bird – now I am beginning to think that I must have been a gypsy or nomad of some sort.

Well, once again I’m officially unemployed. I left Outlook Safaris at the end of February, mainly to get a decent break from the road and to catch up with my family and diving. I’m worrying a little about how long it will take me to find the next job, especially in this economic climate, but I hope that it won’t take too long, and I’m going to enjoy the next few weeks anyway! I spent last weekend assisting on a Diving Rescue course at the Dive School and I will be camping at our local training quarry/lake this next weekend to assist instructing the “open water” component of the course. Then on Tuesday 10th I leave for Sodwana Bay for 4 days diving, then straight from there to join the Dive School at Ponta Malongane in Mozambique for another 4 days diving. I am soooooo looking forward to getting back into the sea again! Then I will return to Johannesburg via Durban where I will spend a few days catching up with all my extended family in that part of the world.

The last week of March will be crunch time for really looking hard for some more work. At the moment, after 6 days in Jo’burg I am already missing the bush – guess what? I am definitely not considering going back to a desk job in the city!!!

Sabie River at Skukuza

Kruger is, as always, absolutely spectacular – it is now late summer and on every trip new flowers have made an appearance and the grass is getting longer and longer. Luminous green has made way for gold as the overall background colour in the bush. Flash floods are now regular occurrences when thunder storms blow through – the ground is so saturated – particularly in the south, that every drop of rain immediately runs off down into the water courses. The Sabie River was roaring over the low level bridge close to Skukuza a couple of weeks ago, quite a sight, and as we made our way out of the park on that morning it was evident that many of the smaller streams had come right over the bridges during the storms in the night.

Wet, miserable baboons
The funniest sight that morning was the troop of baboons huddling together with hands, feet and heads buried as deep in their fur as they could get, looking so absolutely miserable in the drizzle.

The exception of course is the north of Kruger. Once one hits the central plains around Satara and drive northwards the grass is short, dry and gold brown and many trees are already looking autumnal. The pans and waterholes are still full but food will be in very short supply this winter.

One of the real pleasures of the last 12 months has been experiencing the bush through the full cycle of seasons. As a visitor I avoided the bush in summer, too hot, too wet, too few animals etc. etc. The experience of the last few months has shown me what I have missed for so many years – the lushness, the bird life, the flowers, the babies…….

I’m sure that I am not going to be away for long!

Pale-phase Tawny Eagle

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

Leopard in Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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