Rrrrrrise and shine came the early wake up call again this morning. Luckily, everyone was prepared and actually not so zombie-ish today! However, we all had a big night last night because one group went on a night drive around the park while the rest of us played games around the fire.
Group A shone their lights all around the park and saw similar things as during the day, but the park really comes alive when the sun goes down. It’s quiet and peaceful at night, so it was a totally different experience looking at the animals in the dark. The trick is to look out for glowing eyes in the bush which can be kind of creepy but ultimately pretty fun !
Kevin was our guide for the night and we headed up to the open airstrip not knowing what was install . He asked us to hop off the game viewer and walk over to an open area and asked us to lay down in a circle next to each other and just appreciate the beauty of the African night sky which is mesmerizing !!
We also had a couple of new sightings such as a Scrub Hare with which we had quite a lengthy race with and a brief sighting of a White Tailed Mongoose .
Our fire games were another hit, and we talked for hours around a bonfire, chatting about life, telling jokes and looking at the stars.
Therefore, it was surprising how chipper we were at 6am. It was elephant interaction day, though, so we were all eager to go meet the African elephants up close. After another delicious breakfast equipped with French toast, bacon, sausage, and the fixins, we jumped back into our vehicles and drove out to another park.
We had a bit of time before our tour, so we got to drive around searching for more of the big 5 animals in the game park. No luck so far spotting Rhinos, but tomorrow we will be tracking them on foot, so we will definitely definitely see them! Ben and I really got them going with some of our trickery today too. Muahaha.
Upon our arrival to the interaction area, our guide gave us some background about the Bayete Zulu Game Reserve. We got to meet Rambo, his mate, Rachel, and their daughter, Jabulani. Rambo and Rachel were in a herd that was set to be culled, which essentially means it was supposed to be killed off to keep numbers down and upkeep the ecology of the park.
However, the day they were supposed to be culled, the people had struck up such a good relationship with them that they couldn’t follow through with it. They instead took them to another park. During this time, these elephants got so used to human interaction, that when they were put into a wild environment with no humans, they began to cause trouble in order to get the humans back.
Now, they need to be around people everyday, which is why they have this set up. It is a really beautiful story, and it was cool to hear about the history of these massive, gentle giants. We all got a chance to feed them, feel the back of their ears, underneath their tusks, and to feel their tongues as well. Rambo is seriously massive!! Most of us barely came up to part of his ear.
We also got to learn soo much about Elephants also … their anatomy , feeding habits , gestation and lots of other really cool facts .
When we returned, we split up again in our groups and Ben’s group did a game drive again while Tara’s group went on a bushwalk. They got to see Giraffes way up close, and had an awesome time again scouting out all the animals.and heading down to the drainage system to see if the Wild Dogs and their pups would leave their den today but unfortunately to no avail .
They saw some Impalas rutting each other for male dominance within the bachelor herd and ended up on one of the tallest hills in the area to watch the beautiful African sunset over the distant hills .
On our bushwalk, we upturned rocks to find interesting insects and bugs and we also stumbled upon a hyena feeding area where there were loads of bones and sculls laying about. We watched the sunset as well over the bush land and it was a bright, glowing orange.
It’s just so gorgeous out here. We never want to leave. Tonight it’s Tara’s groups’ turn to go on a night drive and Ben will participate in some more fire games! Hopefully we’ll see some cool things like they did! Until tomorra!
-Best Leaders Evaaa!! Ben and Tara