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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

It's Wild Out Here

Updated: May 1

Look, you still procrastinate out here. Although the staff and students all have their duties and responsibilities, it’s so easy to just get caught up in this deep immersion in nature. That’s why we all chose to be here in the first place, is it not? So you come up with these excuses and you keep pushing the things you know you have to do aside, but eventually you sit down and get to work.

Now what I usually do is start with an idea of what to write about and I just let it brew for a couple of days. Then after a couple more days of what I call 'productive procrastination', I sit down and start to write.

Lately I’ve been grappling with this rather obvious thought of how wild it is out here. But the lingering question has been how to articulate the obvious. Well, that question has just been answered. All I need to do is describe my morning to you.

At 5:30am I woke up to the jarring jingle of an iPhone alarm. I hit snooze. I hit snooze again. How is it 6:30 already? I blink and it’s now 7am. I guess I missed the morning walk… whoops… Cold shower, get dressed and waddle down to the camp office. Grab my pen, paper, journal, laptop. Head down to the table overlooking the waterhole at camp. Hmpph. Forgot my coffee. Walk back up, grab my plunger and my Woolworths Medium Roast Mocha Java Blend (No, this blog post was not sponsored by Woolies unfortunately).

After precisely five minutes of brewing time I pour my first cup and breathe in those fresh aromas… ahhh… let’s get to work!

Check Instagram. Check Facebook. Throw in a quick LinkedIn check? Meh. Check in on Instagram again. Find some music quickly – New Ancient Strings by Toumani Diabaté with Ballaké Sissoko (West African instrumental music played on a 21-string instrument called a kora). Respond to some messages. Write a To-Do List! That counts as being productive, surely? Ok, I’m ready.

A Meyer’s parrot flies passed squawking. Another one does the same.

A cuckoo flies passed.

Why are there so many vultures overhead?

Impala at the waterhole.


A staff member shouts at a vervet monkey stealing the rusks again.

The impalas stare off into the distance, one of them barks and they scatter.

I intently stare in the direction of where the impalas were looking and I just see dust.

A kudu running full throttle, horns back and flooring it.

The wild dog pack are hot on its tail. Very hot on its tail.

I quickly got up and walked briskly (I ran, I won’t lie, but don’t run in the bush…) to alert one of the guests who desperately wanted to see the dogs. I came to a thundering halt as my line to his tent was intercepted by the kudu and wild dogs running through camp. 3 meters away from me. One. Two. Three. Seven. Nine. The wild dogs keep running passed, systematically turning their heads towards me as they chase down the kudu. Each dog would systematically throw a glance my way as they passed and give a disgruntled chirp but they weren’t interested in me at all. They were on a strike mission.

At this stage, akin to that “you’re-probably-wondering-how-I-ended-up-here” meme, I’m halfway up a tree, hanging by one arm with feet pressed against the trunk, thinking, where is my camera? I need to try get some snaps.

The last dog whizzed passed and I “walk” (because we don’t run in the bush…) back to the camp office to get my camera equipment. Camera in hand I head to my tent, two wild dogs are along the path towards it. I take some shoddy images and realise all my camera settings are off for this high-octane chase in camp. But now the kudu is stoically staring down the pack now, the chase is over. The wild dog begin to rapidly lose interest and they seemingly blend and disappear into the surrounding bushes.

Wild Dog in camp blocking my path

Woah. Wait... What? Did that just happen?

I amble back towards the table I started the morning at, scratching my head in astonishment. I plop down on the chair. Unreal.

As a last little show from the pack, they bound towards the waterhole to quench their thirst.

Well there we we have it. That’s how I write about how wild it really is out here.

Sometimes it just takes a bit of a man-made structure in the middle of nowhere to realise just how wild a place you’re actually in is. Fleeting. Raw. Wild.

The right place at the right time.

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Kudu 1, wild dogs 0!

Are adult kudu generally too large a prey item? Maybe they could have swapped it for a sleepy blog writer ...

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