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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

There's a Kudu on My Stoep

When I was younger my parents used to take me on a bushveld odyssey at least once a year. During these trips, my dad and I would always be up ridiculously early where we would begin frantically packing our things in the dark before our morning activity. We’d be forgetting important things, packing the wrong things, it didn’t matter. We just wanted to get out there.

My mom didn’t quite have the same idea. She would pretend to still be sleeping while my dad and I would rummage through the rooms.

And off we went! Bouncing along dirt roads, spilling orange juice in the rental car, scratching around for biscuits we forgot to pack. But we would hardly see anything and it would often turn into a reoccurring conversation of “Agh, let’s just do one more kilometre and head back… one more… one more…” until we eventually threw in the towel and went back to camp.

We’d always come back with mom looking all smug.

“How was your drive?” she’d ask.

We would grumpily respond and say that we didn't see anything.

Then the stories would come out of everything that just went down in camp. Baboons chasing impalas. Vervet monkeys stealing the biscuits. Bushbuck giving birth. A host of birds flying through. Elephants fighting at the water hole. Buffalos…lion…kudu… the list went on and on.

I think there’s a lesson here.

Being out here, it’s so easy to want to do everything. You want to go on every bushwalk and all the morning and afternoon game drives. There’s this expectation that if you’re doing all the activities, you’ll see more, which is true in a sense. But sometimes you don’t have to go very far to really ‘experience’ the bush. Sometimes all it takes is setting up a hammock in camp and looking at the waterhole right in front of you.

By nature, animals and birds move within their home range and territory, traveling through to find food and water. Here at Kwapa Training Camp it’s no different.

Flamingo or Little Sparrowhawk? You decide.

In just under three weeks students have identified 46 different bird species just within camp, with a little sparrowhawk who has been pretending to be a flamingo. We have the resident porcupines, civet and honey badger each making their appearances. More leopard have been seen from the dinner table than outside of camp. Wild dog running through camp and waking us up. This is before we even start talking about the interactions from all the animals that frequent our waterhole on a daily basis. Oh, and some snakes too.

Can you spot it?

When you’re in such a wild place, the mornings we have off in camp really do become incredibly enriching for us all.

All we need to do is sit and observe what is right under our noses.

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