About Roger Wynne-Dyke
Roger Wynne-Dyke spent his twenties traveling and working in 20 different countries before settling back down in his home country of South Africa. Originally from Cape Town, Roger wanted to experience the world before anything else and through a keenness for traveling, new cultures and people.
Roger is the co-founder of EDGE or AFRICA with Dayne Davey, a volunteer organization which combines visiting the breathtaking, malaria-free Garden Route with authentic African volunteering – offering safe, sustainable projects that are actually making a tangible difference in people's lives.
Latest Posts by Roger Wynne-Dyke
Starting from our first day, we have been feeding elephants, named Kidibone and Selati. When they chase the vehicle to get their trunks on the pellets one before the other. Cleaning the elephant boma was also a part of our duty, but even this dirty work didn’t put us off, especially with Corne, who was always great fun to work with! Meeting the elephants in the evenings, before they go into the boma, you really get to know their personalities when they show off their tricks for treats!
Recently, the farmers surrounding the reserve have had trouble with a caracal that has been killing their lambs and sheep. It seems that this caracal is no longer killing just for food, but it is simply killing for the sake of killing. We had to go out at night on a bucky and drive around the property to search for it. It was really exciting even though we didn’t find it. Because standing in an African night, in total darkness and hearing the lions roar is a memory that will last forever!
The other daily routine, a bit more frightening, is providing the cheetahs with dinner. At first they look like cute little kittens, but as soon as they smell the meat they turn into the wild predators they are and always will be! Cutting the meat was also a part of this routine and having Elise on our side was a big contribution to the team when it came to that. Hein tried to convince us that you could be safe inside the cheetah’s enclosure as long as you show that you have authority and confidence. By taking us inside Inyanga’s enclosure with nothing more than a branch and a couple pieces of chicken he proved his theory right. What a thrill!
One day Hein and Corne took us up to the mountains in a valley, to teach us how to handle rifles. We got to shoot at targets from 30 metres and 100 metres with a 0.22 and a 0.308 Calibre, respectively. The whole thing was exhilarating but Hein’s compliments on our shooting made it even better! After the introduction to rifles we had to bring our skills into practice, when it was time to feed the snakes that are starting to feel hungry now that the temperature is rising. Unfortunately, summer time isn’t good news for every animal on the reserve, this time several small birds were unlucky… It felt bad, but sometimes it’s the law of nature!
Snakes weren’t the only reptiles whose appetites were awakened by warmer times, now also the crocodiles were ready for some food! Luckily, a local farmer could provide us with some chickens so we went to pick them up.
With the reptiles becoming all active again in summer, one of them, the Cape Cobra, even managed to escape its enclosure, but it didn’t get far and quickly got caught. After we discovered our talent in interior decorating and design the snake could be returned into its brand new enclosure!
Other important tasks in a game reserve to keep the animals and the guests happy, is general maintenance. Our duties in that area have been conservation work with planting trees. To make this gardening a little more exciting we got to plant them in the lion enclosure, so one of us had to keep an eye on the lions throughout the planting. Furthermore, there were a lot of roads that were flooded and muddy so they were a risk for the game drivers to get stuck in. In order to prevent that, we had to fill them up with rocks collected on the reserve. Also, with the cheetah release coming up, we needed to put up signs on fences all around the property about both the risk of dangerous animals and the voltage.
Something else we have really enjoyed doing in any and all weather conditions, was feeding Lucerne and pellets to the giraffes, buffaloes and rhinos. It was amazing to be so close to these animals and just watching them eat and behave naturally.
Guest Post From Alma Wallin Hedén & Hanna Träff (From Sweden) and Elise van der Heijden (FromNetherlands) who just finished an Edge of Africa trip to South Africa.
I am learning…We are learning…Siyafunda
It was the 12th day in paradise for me! Even if i was here for the Everything Elephant conservation project, I still love the community work. The 15th October 2010 was the Siyafunda Pre-School re-opening! Siyafunda means “we are learning“.
Siyafunda is a school in the Knysna township in poor condition. The pre-school originally had one big class room for all of the kids, however with some effort, and some sponsors (from Italy) it was rebuild within three months! Now, they have 5 classrooms, 1 kitchen, and 2 toilets! Not enough, well EDGE of AFRICA built a cute kiddies playground, with a slide, see-saw and a gorgeous little Porsche(toy one of course) to play with.
So now, today is the day of the opening! The teachers are all dressed in their traditional dresses, with their faces painted. They started a dance before the official procedure started witnessed by the mayor, the sponsors from Italy & EDGE of AFRICA, and several more people with a lot of cameras. The kids learned a few songs, and danced and sung all together in celebration of the event! Wait, what´s that noise? Oh, yes, the extreme fast sound you know out of the TV, which you could never ever repeat out of your own mouth without years of practice! “Lulululu” really, really fast!
After the really cute songs, the official presentation begun. First the mayor, then the sponsors (the principal was already crying), then Dayne from EDGE of AFRICA handed over their donated sign, made possible by two Chester University volunteers. Now it’s time for group pictures, but quickly interrupted by a comical moment of the Siyafunda principal reaching for her ringing phone from it’s home in her bra! All the pictures nearly had her reaching for her phone and still with tears in the eyes! How funny and lovely is that?
After the presentations a buffet of food was served for the children and guests – snacks including spring rolls, wraps & drinks! EDGE of AFRICA was first, sorry, we were very hungry! The kids got lots of cake – their favourite!
Ntombi, the one year old lioness, has been suffering from dizzy spells since August, and we took her for an MRI scan on Wednesday 15th September at the George Medi Clinic. She caused quite a stir on her arrival and the Scribante rooms were the favourite place for hospital staff to gather and monitor the distinguished patient.
The diagnosis was that there was severe pressure by the brain on the brainstem and that this condition was the result of a Vitamin A deficiency, caused by………you guessed right, inbreeding and poor food quality of food for the parents!! We are now treating her with Vitamin A injections daily, not an easy task if taken into consideration that lions dislike injections severely. Basically for every injection I give her she gives me a slap or a bite, fair trade you might think but believe me each slap contains five razor sharp claws.
Thus for every injection I give I receive five back, not fair at all. But then again neither Ntombi nor I excel at maths but we do have an agreement that I have one chance to give her the injection and if I miss or hesitate, it is open season for her. Luckily she is recovering very well and playing with her doggy friends again.
Today she is 100% better and well on her way to a full recovery. It is amazing to see her doing crazy lion stunts again, jumping and rolling around the yard…crazy lion!
We are in the process of finalising an “Animal Communication Workshop” with Amelia Kinkade scheduled for February 2011. Amelia travels the world teaching animal lovers the skills to communicate with their animal friends and we are eager to have her teach at the Predator Sanctuary, watch this space for more info…
Kwela: Kyknet South African DSTV
We have made it to the Kwela (Kyknet on South African DSTV) finals in the humour section with our video of ‘Queenie’ flattening me in an illegal high and spear tackle, she should have been red carded, but everybody apparently think it is funny. It will be worth the pain if we can make it to the final three entries.
Please vote for us by sending a sms/text to: 33157 with the message “leeus”(South African Cell/Mobile phones only unfortunately).
If we can make it to the final three entries it would be a tremendous publicity boost for the Predator Sanctuary and you may also even win a trip to Namibia worth R70 000-00. You can send 30 SMSes messages from your cell phone. The voting lines will close on Tuesday 26th of October 2010.
PLEASE VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! We need the publicity.
Otherwise at Predator Sanctuary, home of the big cats, everybody is preparing for the coming festive season keeping us all very busy. The felines are all well and enjoying the good life. We have been working on an exercise and diet program for the girlies, lionesses, but it has been highly unsuccessful to date. They have got this nasty attitude towards anybody with even the slightest idea of implementing fitness programs, they snarl and tend to chase us out of their camps if we insist and you do not mess with a snarling lion.
Lots of “ROARSSS, CHIRPS AND PURRSSS!!!” from all of us at the Predator Sanctuary.
Chester University’s Samantha Hollick talks about her time volunteering on the Predator Sanctuary Project in, South Africa
After a week volunteering at the Predator Sanctuary project I was offered the opportunity to go and volunteer at the local penguin rehabilitation centre as I had expressed an interest in the rehabilitation of wild animals which was quite a privilege. However this meant that twice a day, for an hour each time I would be away from The Predator Sanctuary project, when I had only really just started getting to know everyone and everything.
At first I didn’t want to miss out by doing other things. However when I looked back I saw it as an opportunity and another way to expand my knowledge and get the most from my time in South Africa. It has been great for me and really encouraged me to become involved in different things, driving me to work hard everywhere I am. From that experience I also made the commitment to volunteer at the penguins’ everyday and now volunteer once a week at the local vets and at all three placements I try to give 100%. I’m no longer afraid to leave for few hours a day, and know I’m gaining valuable experience with big cats such as lions and tigers to baby penguins and sick seabirds to normal cats and dogs.
I have been shown my efforts have been recognised as I have been asked to be UK ambassador for the penguin sanctuary in a thank you letter, and asked to come back and volunteer with them again. My effort at The Predator Sanctuary project was also recognised on several occasions, from one of the guides to Jurg and Karen’s overall comments about my stay with them. Part of the job at The Predator Sanctuary project for the guides is going to farms to collect meat for the animals at The Predator Sanctuary project, this means slaughtering calves and cows. At first I didn’t want anything to do with this and felt uncomfortable with the whole idea of being involved. I went with one of the guides, waiting in the truck while one of the farm workers slaughtered the calves and loaded them into the truck.
While waiting for the car to be loaded I took the opportunity to be positive and try to learn from the situation and talked to the guide to get more information on what we were doing, how she coped, why we did in this way, how much we needed, etc. I had only looking at it from the animal’s point of view being slaughtered, when there was a positive side, without this meat all the animals at The Predator Sanctuary project would die and when bearing this in mind the task became doable. So I used the task as a learning opportunity and if I had refused to go I wouldn’t have developed this understanding that is necessary when working at The Predator Sanctuary project or any zoo. It may have also affected my feelings in the future during the feedings tours when the meat is given out and made that a negative experience.
The situation made me more accepting and more aware of how to deal with new and sometimes difficult situations. Showing if I can keep the positive side of things in mind, hard tasks become possible. It has also been nice being surrounded by people who all look at the optimistic side of things and this has really influenced me too. In future I always want to be able to actively look for the positive side to tasks that at first seem difficult or challenging and I have been complimented for just that! As time went on I began to feel more comfortable and became more confident within the group, making more conversations, asking more questions and trying to get to know them more. I really made an effort to involve myself when the group went out for meals or had movie nights in the house we stayed in, not staying alone in my room unless I had work to do and explaining this to them so they could see I was trying with them . They now they call me family and treat me just like anyone of them.
At the penguins its normally a different worker every other day and at the veterinary surgery at first it was all new people for me but I now feel confident at socialising and fitting-in in a new group. My confidence in the animals I’m working with has really grown, I came in as a novice not really knowing a lot about the animals and now I am trusted to walk with the cheetah alone every day. I get given my own tasks with each animal that I am trusted to carry out alone and can now look after the baby jaguar by myself. I am confident enough to add to the frequent animal conversations and the meetings we have once a week at about animal management and any planned tasks.I have also become more confident in problem solving and challenges. At first when given tasks or challenges I felt under pressure and didn’t want to fail.
Every night the guides and I walk with the two white Bengal tigers, moving them from their outdoor enclosure to their smaller indoor enclosure. I was then given the privilege to give out the treats through the fence to them while the harnesses were being put on. I was doing this for the second time and walking very close to Angelo, the male Bengal tiger when moving him across the predator park to his night enclosure. However on this particular evening, after 3 weeks of both tigers being well behaved and walking easily with the guides and me, Angelo started to become difficult to handle. The owner Jurg walked with us and was close by to give assistance, instead of taking over he calmed everybody and kept the situation under control. Instead of panicking, running or even backing off I remained calm and gave Jurg the treat bucket and the lid when asked, immediately and smoothly.
Staying calm and having an experienced animal handler with us (Jurg) helped in keeping everybody focussed on the task at hand. I kept up with group, giving treats when needed, and Angelo walked to his night shelter without further incident. Afterwards a huge sigh of relief and a quick discussion of the events, why and how did it happen to ensure it does not happen again? This event will stay with me because firstly it shocked me into realising even after 3 weeks walking every morning and every night with this animals something could always go wrong and it is a very dangerous situation to be in.
Winter. Freezing cold when the night arrives but a summers day to me when the sun has risen. I may have only been here for two days, but everyday keeps getting better, and honestly, I can’t imagine it can get much better than my first day volunteering at the elephant sanctuary. Having to be ready to be picked up at 6:30am was tough but very worthwhile. Only nearly a hour in the car and we have arrived at the sanctuary.
As I get out of the car, the first object I notice is the sculpture of an elephant head, beautiful. We (me and Astrid), were then lead to the stables where we both got straight to work! We met some of the guides and elephant handlers too, some of which told us to rake out the faeces from the stables in order for the ele’s (elephants) to have clean bedding. After shovelling the faeces out of the sleeping den, we had a tour of the ele sanctuary; we walked with them, we saw some ‘skills’ they could do, we fed them some sweet treats, and lastly had a ride on them which was totally incredible!! However, it was time to get our heads down to ‘work’ again (even though to me, none of it seemed like work as I enjoyed it all soo much); we observed and recorded the data of the ele’s interactions and what the interaction was – whether it be pro-social or anti-social. Luckily though, the time we were observing there was no anti-social behaviour.
It was amazing watching the ele’s, I honestly do not understand how people can not fall in love with them as they are such gentle giants. Even though I know I shouldn’t have a favourite elephant, my favourite is Marula out of the 6 ele’s at the sanctuary but I adore them all really. After finishing lunch, manual labour began where we started painting the stable in order for it to protect the wood but also for a fresher look for people walking through.
With both the observation and painting the stable, I already felt I was helping the elephants out so much, as I was assisting the project to research about the behaviour of ele’s and also preserving their sleeping stable. I do realise that the painting would have been done even if we didn’t do it but it might not have been for a long time. So even though it may seem a small job, I know it really helped the project. With regards to the painting, it was loads of fun because we were all working as a team and half way through we realised we had dripped paint on the floor!
Due to the protector substance for the wood, in the paint, we were unable to remove it despite our tries of rubbing it with newspaper, rubbing it in with our shoes and even washing the floor with soap! We don’t think Chris (the fabulous owner of the elephant sanctuary) minded, as we didn’t get sacked. Our day was now over and our last duty was to return to the volunteer house. WOW though! What an amazing first day and an experience of a lifetime it was. Tomorrow can’t come sooner!
During the 20th century the number of elephants declined dramatically, because to threats such as poaching for ivory and loss of habitat due to human encroachment. In some areas, however, the trend was reversed after elephants were placed on Appendix I of CITES and a world wide ban imposed on ivory sales. Unfortunately the resulting recovery of elephant numbers within both national and privately owned game parks potentially poses a threat to the survival of many other species.
Almost 70% of Africa’s elephants live in southern Africa and most large populations occur within protected areas – the issue with this is that when a species is confined, dispersal is inhibited so you end up with a large numbers of elephants in a relatively small space. Also by protecting elephants it generally means that their resources are not so limited which allows their numbers to get much higher than they would in a natural system.
In a natural system elephants have to travel long distances to find the resources that they need and not all of them survive these harsh conditions – this is what controls their numbers. In a reserve, fencing means that this migration can’t happen and resources must be provided for the elephants therefore allowing numbers to reach levels that have the potential to negatively affect the rest of the ecosystem.
When elephant numbers exceed the carrying capacity of a park or reserve, destruction of vegetation and habitat can be catastrophic. Obviously an elephant is a big animal which requires a lot of food – the average elephant requires around 660 pounds (300kg) of food per day. Observation has shown that large populations of elephants are capable of turning woodland into grassland – clearly this is going to have a devastating effect on any woodland species.
So, as stated above most large populations of elephants in southern Africa occur within protected areas, and the bottom line is once we start putting fences around animals it becomes our responsibility to manage those animals. One strategy for managing elephant populations – and probably the most debated strategy – is culling.
The practice of culling was first adopted in the 1960s but was later banned in Zimbabwe in 1988 and in South Africa in 1995 mostly due to public outcry. However it was reinstated in South Africa in 2009 under strict regulations.
Many people consider the practice of culling to be a morally grey area. Elephants are a charismatic, beautiful animal and people generally feel uncomfortable with the idea of killing them. However, any conservationist will argue that decisions about managing animal populations must be based on science, not human emotion; having said that, there are also many conservationists who oppose culling on a scientific basis.
One argument against culling is that elephants have a highly complex social structure and are considered to be very intelligent animals. Culling in the past is thought to have led to abnormal behaviours such as depression, unpredictable asocial behaviour and higher aggression. There are now strict regulations on the way in which culls are carried out – whole families are culled in order to avoid selective culling of animals in certain age classes which could disrupt population structure and enhance rather than suppress growth, as well as having a negative effect on the emotional well being and behaviour of the remaining family members. However some argue that our
understanding of elephant social structure is still too limited and we know little about the relationships between neighbouring elephant families, therefore even if whole families are culled this could still have a detrimental effect on social structure.
Another argument against culling is that culling may give rise to immigration, which is what has been found in Kruger National Park in the past, where movement into culled areas increased the number of elephants in that area which was thought to have intensified the local impact of elephants.
Many who oppose culling argue that there are other options for managing elephant populations and therefore we need not resort to culling. However this is not to say that culling should definitely not be considered a viable option as other management strategies also come with problems, as I will discuss below.
A method that has traditionally been used is translocation – the movement of animals from one area to another. There are benefits to this method, for example movement of elephants to a new reserve increases the genetic diversity at that reserve. However, there are also drawbacks to this method. One of the problems with translocation is that many reserves and national parks are in the same boat – they all have too many elephants. Also there have been some behavioural problems with translocated elephants in the past – on several reserves introduced elephants have exhibited behavioural abnormalities mainly due to disrupted social structure.
Translocation is very time consuming and can be highly expensive depending on the equipment needed and the number of elephants to be translocated. As there are several factors affecting the cost of translocation it is difficult to put an exact figure on it, but it can cost anywhere from R6000 to R60, 000 per elephant.
One recent development in the management of elephant populations is the use of immunocontraception. In case you are wondering what on earth immunocontraception is – it is a non-hormonal, non-steroid method of a contraception based on the use of porcine zona pellucida (pZP) proteins. There is a membrane known as Zona Pellucida which surrounds all mammalian eggs. This membrane contains several glycoproteins, one of which is thought to be the sperm receptor. The pZP vaccine is derived from pig eggs and once injected the vaccine stimulates an immunological response to produce antibodies that attach to the ZP of the target animal, thereby preventing fertilisation as the sperm cannot attach to and penetrate the egg.
Immunocontraception has proven to be effective and has been successfully implemented at some game reserves as a management strategy for elephant populations. One of the major benefits of this method is that the vaccine is reversible which allows for adaptive management – you have control over how many and which elephants are treated. It is also a fairly cost effective method; it costs around R1000 per elephant.
However the down side is that you have to be able to identify individual elephants in order to administer initial vaccinations and booster vaccinations. At Kruger (an area where culling is currently being seriously considered as an option) there are around 12,500 elephants and some argue that with such a large population it would be impractical to have to identify individual females on a regular basis (with the current vaccine the elephant must receive in initial vaccine, 2 boosters 2-3 weeks apart and then 2 annual boosters).
Another issue is that this vaccine serves to stabilise populations and to limit population growth, it cannot however decrease the number of elephants that are currently in the population. So in areas such as Kruger where elephants are already seriously exceeding the carrying capacity of the park (the carrying capacity of Kruger is thought to be 7,500 and the population currently stands at around 12,500) many people feel that action needs to be taken now to prevent the elephants from having a detrimental effect on the rest of the ecosystem.
In conclusion, there will be no conclusion to this article as my intention was merely to give a (fairly) brief account of some of the issues and opinions surrounding culling and elephant management in general. I will it leave open to you as readers to form your own opinions on the topic. However I ask that you bear in mind that I have only touched on the subject and there are many many factors that need to be considered when making decisions on managing elephant populations.
For more info visit Everything Elephant.
Living on the Edge, Lessons of Life, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, remains” Miracles are waiting everywhere…. Don’t Audit life…just show up and make the most of it.
Life in Africa, by Terri Dekker
It began as a dream, years beyond my memory. It’s now my reality, a destiny of a life time. It seems so ambitious, somewhat selfish and crazy to some…to leave my family, and those I love, to
travel across the world on my own, to a faraway place of risk and uncertainties. It’s temporary, yet so exciting. Go ahead redirect your responsibility, for two weeks, for four weeks, step up allow yourself a once in a life time experience. Humbly give your time and energy to another world, to another life, to make a difference. It may be a small part of an ambitious goal, but it’s yours to give. Life isn’t Fair, but it is still Good Life isn’t Tied with a Bow, but it is a Gift. To give the Gift of your Life, to Make Good for Another is my depiction of The Circle of Life.
I have never considered myself a scholar or a literary writer in the least. It’s just a temporary passion, a method to find meaning among the reams of notes that I have taken over the days and how they will shape or reflect my life going forward. They are the voice that I cannot speak.
I arrived in George South Africa on Saturday July 17th, it was 20 degrees C. The security customs at the small airport was so brief, such that I thought I had not passed through them. I was
welcomed with a sign displaying my name held by Josh. I’m safe was my first thought, my next was “now take me to the animals”.
Save the children who are lost,
Save the creatures that are living but not human;
My safari or journey this time is different,
It is an excavation of My Spirit, My Soul, My Being.
The next day, the coordinators were wonderfully kind, but emphasize it’s up to you…each of us, what we take out of the project, what we give to the project. “It’s not boot camp, but we will gladly accept your opinions, your energy, your hard work won’t be rejected.” Beyond the description and direction within our elected programs and the concern for our safe well being You must step up to make a difference. Food is provided while basic it will address our needs. We made our way and unconsciously developed as a united group, a team approach to all the tasks at hand. A group of individuals, new to each other, who quickly became united for a cause, we quickly became a family.
Project Two: August 2010 Albertinia, South Africa, The Garden Route Game Lodge African Big 5 Wildlife& Conservation Project
Day One - Off to feed the elephants!! What magnificent creatures, huge would understate their body mass. They are beautiful, simply roaming in search of today’s winnings from the Bakkie (pick up/safari jeep) wagon. Buckets on fresh offerings fruits, oranges, pineapple apples and lettuce leaves left over trimmings from the lodge restaurant. That’s still not enough so in their Bomas, waits whole trees and leafy branches. About the size of four Christmas trees!
As we approached, fear set it for some but I could barely wait to touch, to befriend them, to understand them By God they are big brilliant animals. They quickly and independently find their space within their Bomas. They immediately flipped their trucks expecting the droppings of sweet fruit. Impatience set in and they began the dominant tangle. Who would get more and who would get the remaining pieces from the buckets? They used their large weight and trumpeting voices which escalated with demands. It was truly amazing to be a part of their lives for that moment. Expecting free roaming, soon you learn the sadden lives of capture and circus behaviour…it’s what they know. It’s what we are about…putting the wild back into their lives that was taken away by human.
Our goal – Rehabilitation to the Wild, Protect and Reproduce
Day Two: Mholo, Unjani (hello, how are you) if u could hear as I type you would hear roaring lions. I’m in my tent…they feel just a little close! Today is Bitter – Sweet an e.g. of the “Circle of Life”. I began as routine feed of elephants and clean their bomas – a very physical task but not difficult. Feed the giraffes, a clear site of beauty. A mother and her newborn café, we must stop and observe, photo after photo. They are incredibly elegant and swiftly move to the Aloes that we have topped with flakes of lush green hay. While they roam freely, she needs a supplement and extra nourishment for her off spring. The dominating buffalos also are feed due to the lack of greenery caused by the months of drought. The game count begins, the reserve has recently increased the game, but missing are 4 zebra and 4 Kudu. We found most, but sadly ta baby zebra didn’t make it. We were able to locate her, she was young and beautiful her life cut off short. As devastating as it is, she becomes the saviour to the lion. The lion that due to human intrusion did not learn when they were young to independently hunt and fend to their needs. While they have their natural instinctive behaviours to chase and hunt they quickly give up and sadly are dependent.
The young Zebra is its saviour. The circle of life!
Day 3 - We began our routine fed Ellies, Giraffe & Buffalo. We were able to track the 3 zebra and drive them to the main zebra herd. The radio blares …Yikes a cheetah roaming freely at the Game Lodge…where guest reside while on their vacations.
The day’s routine is quickly ended and our tasks are re-prioritized. This could be dangerous. We located the young cub who clearly was able to manipulate the fence structure. We used chucks of dripping meat to lure him back the breading area. Three rangers and myself who is still very new and green in knowledge, worked together to get him back to the enclosure. The meat worked.
I quickly discovered a match to my fear. Time to fix the fences…Umm you want me to what…in the enclosed cheetah domain – tools & 3 hungry cheetahs…8 feet away. Breathe…
Day 4 – Feed the ellies, the radio blares…all else has to wait…again! Another cheetah that is still not ready for the wild is out. And so the search begins…feels a bit like “the hunter becomes the hunted“ you know how the story goes…encourage him to follow with chunks of dripping meat…my heart is beating fast – I realise I have beads of sweat a long my forehead…thank goodness, he’s in: Success! Fences need repair again, something a little more meaningful. The guys and I are up for the task. Struggling with wire, cutters and a skill I’ve yet to master, I continue to fumble yet my eyes don’t leave the cheetahs…well for just a second! I drop my .work gloves 5′ from me and a cheetah sneaks up and takes one…
Day 5 - I went to feed the elephants ”ellies”, and they still have not decided if they trust me or not, so usually every night Kidbone draws in a bunch of dirt and sprays it at me EVERY NIGHT…finally tonight I said NO, it’s not nice. She literally laid down, on all fours, turned her trunk so I could hand feed her…OMG-beautiful!!! It’s 2:30 am it’s time to get up, an unexpected off-load of 7 wildebeest and 2 kudu, off the Bunkie (truck). It’s pitch dark outside and somewhere in the middle of the reserve we meet the truck and trailer. We manipulate the latches, as our adrenaline runs high. The gates are open, some quickly and boldly unload and hit the ground running, while others drift slowly off the trailer. Sadly one wildebeest gave way to the struggle and stress of the translocation. She didn’t make it…circle of life once again.
South Africa – So
what’s all the fuss about?
Why should anyone consider going to South Africa?
2. Natural Beauty
4. Good Weather
5. Rainbow Nation
8. Responsible Tourism
Tips for adjusting to life and culture shock in South Africa!
Like any new culture the key is understanding,
acceptance and respect. Always remember that every country has a different
history and different perception to certain things. Even things that may seem
the norm in the West may not be the case in the East or South or North. South Africa,
like any other country, wants to be accepted and respected by the world. Our
hearts are warm, our smiles broad, and country diverse. There is most definitely
something for everyone!
Places to see & Things to do!
After (what is for most people) a very long flight, you are met by stunning views, impressive mountain passes, lush green forests and white sandy beaches, desert, infrastructure, pretty much everything you probably weren’t expecting from an African country. South Africa has the ability to put you at
ease in a number of ways.
The Garden Route area offers a variety of leisure, sport and adrenaline-filled activities. Take a stroll down to the waterfront and enjoy the all year round holiday vibe. Or take a ferry across the lagoon to Featherbed Nature Reserve for a guided eco-experience and breathtaking views of the lagoon, the mountains and Knysna town. The area is also rich in wildlife. Just a 40 minute drive towards Plettenberg Bay lies The Crags, and the many fantastic attractions in Animal Alley include Monkeyland (the worlds first free-roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary, home to around 400 apes, monkeys and lemurs), Birds of Eden (the largest free-flight aviary in the world, home to over 3 000 birds of around 200 species) and Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre (where you will be offered a truly unique wildcat experience, as well as helping to fund Tenikwa’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre). A boat trip around Plettenberg Bay offers a closer view of the area’s marine life. After an exciting beach launch you will have the chance to see Bottlenose dolphins, Common dolphins, some shark species, Byrd’s whales, Southern Right whales, Humpback whales (during season) and Cape Fur seals. The famous BIG 5 is just 1.5 hours drive away, where a 2-hour guided game drive at the Garden Route Game Lodge will treat you to the sights of South Africa’s majestic animals, as well as some smaller game species. Addo Elephant National Park offers a truly wild feel – just four hours from Knysna. It’s home to the highest concentration of African elephants in the world (over 400), as well as the other Big 5 species and many, many more.
For the adrenaline junkies, the Eastern Cape offers the worlds highest bungee jump (216 metres!) at Bloukrans Bridge, conveniently just 45 minutes drive from Knysna. Whether it’s hiking, mountain biking, beach strolls, horse riding or shopping, sightseeing and strolling through the arts and crafts stalls, the Garden Route area will definitely entertain all tastes and preferences!