Trimming the Bush

We awaken once again to another beautiful day in Somkanda game reserve and today we got to have a lie in after pleading with Berti last night to leave us until after 6 rather than his ridiculous 5:30am wake up calls lol.
Group A …( now known as THE BUSHWACKAS ) last night ended off their evening with a night walk through the bush with guide Kevin .. they all walked with their torches off using just Kev’s head torch for light for part of it and using mainly moonlight to make their way through the bush . We got to see and talk about some of the smaller wildlife while having the thrill of not knowing what was lurking in the bushes all around us .

Then out of the blue Kevin just told us he was going to leave us in the bush on our own at different points in the bush so we were all separated and come back in a while .. HE LEFTS US EACH ON OUR OWN IN THE DARK BUSH !! :0 . At first some of us were a little freaked about what may be watching us and what could possibly happen but once we settled down and listened to the bush and accepted our surroundings we relaxed and it was actually really nice and peaceful and the fears just left us ! 
It was definitely a great way to end the night .

The games have certainly begun! Only small little pranks for now, but we have a feeling that won’t last long. We’ve found poo pellets in and under our beds, all the fireside chairs in our tent, stolen garments hanging over the door of the showers and locked people in their tents this morning. Everyone is suspicious of each other now.

We can’t quite believe that it is our last day at the reserve because this week has been soo amazing yet it has gone soo quick so were pumped and ready to enjoy and make the most of our last days activities which will consist of clearing alien species of plant from the reserve and going on Snare sweeps through the bush to try and stop any poacher activity that may be around the area .

After a nice hot breakfast to top up our energy levels we split up into our respective groups for the last time and The Bushwackas headed out with Kevin down into the bush armed with machetes , pangas , saws and gloves ready to do some Bush Whackin !!

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We find a spot down by the drainage system which seems to be covered with these alien species and Kev explains a little to us about why this is paramount to the continued growth of the ecology of the park as these alien species are encroachers and ruin the soil that the other plants and tree species need to survive .

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Everyone digs in and picks up a weapon and heads out to start the clearing . We all pitch in and manage to clear a fair amount of it using a lot of elbow grease and sweat as it’s been a very warm day today ! During the clearing Sam spots our first Preying Mantis which was a cool little find .

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To finish off the morning we split into smaller groups and started hacking down some of the old trees which needed to be removed that will later be used as firewood so we can continue our games of Mafia around the campfire later this evening :p .

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The zebros began the morning looking out for snare traps. People in the nearby areas break into the game parks and set up snare traps to kill animals in order to eat and feed their families. They’re not selling them, but it’s a very inhumane way to kill them. Plus, all the animals on these types of game reserves are protected, so we went out and did an entire sweep of an area to try and find them. We had a brisk walk searching for them, and like always sang and joked our way through the sticks. We went pretty far, but it was some nice exercise for the morning. Luckily, we didn’t find any traps, which means the animals are safe from them for now. Hallelujah!!

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It’s a pretty darn hot day, so lunchtime and the heat of the day were spent relaxing, playing games and taking a dip in the pool. Ben almost got thrown in, but he made sure to tell us his camera was in his pocket. We’ll get him eventually!!

Our afternoons were yet again switched as we went out to a different area to cut down the intrusive plants. We hacked , hacked and hacked at those darn things, and we made huge progress in clearing the area of them. We’re all feeling great about today because we feel like we laid a hand in helping the park advance with its conservation efforts. Wildlife conservation, Hoo raw!!!

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It was the turn of the bush whackin Bushwackas to head out once again into the bush for a Share Sweep to try and prevent the capture of game life by poachers . We depart in the game viewer and head towards the community fence line which is where poachers are most likely to come in as it close for them to get in and out quickly .

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Our sweep line is set and we begin our walk through the bush making sure to keep our eyes peeled for anything suspicious … and would you believe it on our very first sweep line Brett manages to find an snare which has been set up quite close to the ground suggesting they were trying to poach smaller animals for meat !! Well done !

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Being wary to watch our for any ticks or smaller insects and spiders that may be lurking about we continue our sweep and manage to get the whole area covered but don’t find anymore snares .. which is actually a good thing as it means poachers haven’t been into the reserve so good news all round ! As the sun sets we embark on the drive home and even have a sneaky visit by 2 White Rhinos !! 🙂

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Tonight The Zebros get to go our last night drive through the park. We’re all hoping for some more unique sightings, but either way, the peaceful drive at night is a fun experience. Tomorrow we’re leaving for a Big 5 game reserve where we’ll hopefully see all the African animals you can imagine. Lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, zebra, hyenas, etc, then we’re off to St. Lucia!!

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