Day 2 & 3

12.29 - Bush camp

We woke up bright n early today. The morning consisted of weeding spike apple grass from this little region. Spike apples are not native to Africa (they are from south America) so they don't have natural predator here. Weeding them help balances out the plant resources n stuff. We also went on a wild elephant sighting. Saw 3 herds roaming around together. That's about 45 - 50 elephants in total. My job for the day was to mark all bird and raptor sightings. Tomorrow I become the navigator. Then something else. The job rotates around. I also sat thru 2 ppt presentation about the researches and the reserve. Almost fell asleep. Yawn. They were quick to latch on to my design chops too. Now I have homework making posters of elephant and cheetah names for their living room.

The afternoon was my first bush walk - which is pretty much hiking into the Savannah and following various animal tracks. We are scheduled to go up to bush camp for the night. Bush camp is like a tent in the woods. You sleep out in the wild. Sounds awesome.. On the walk I got about a gazillion cuts on my legs - one of them by some poisonous tree. That shit stung for half hr. We also had a fun face- off with a rhino in the rhino alley and learned about various plant species and animal tracks.

10:00pm
There is 'wild'. And there is omfg I'm so not made for this 'wild'. I can take almost anything during the day - long hikes, 20+ scrapes n cuts on the legs, fondling giraffe and rhino dungs, Mexican stand-off with a rhino, you name it. But when night falls and I am all alone in a tent in the middle of the jungle, I turn into a smushed pumpkin. The darkness. The sound of howling wind and every little friggin noise the tent makes freaks me out. Forget the little spiders and scorpions. Forget the lions, hyenas, or whatever else might climb up to say hello. It's the constant sound of trees ruffling, tent squeaking, etc. It sounds like someone is right outside, running around, shaking my little home. There is no pattern. Kind of like the blair witch project, except i know it isnt some silly witch. It is just wind. And I hate it. I really, really, really wish I have my headphones with me right about now. But I left the thing back at the base. I'm not gonna be able to sleep again. It's only 10pm. 5 more hours to go before another full day begins. Two nights of no sleep + jetlag + long active days = ugh.

People here are raving over how rustic the experience is. To be fair, if you don't have freak-out problems like I do I can totally see the awesome part of it. We just hiked 3km into the jungle to reach here. We cooked this tasty African stew and rice over open fire pit. Had a couple of beers, shared stories, etc. Each of us get to have our own super spacious tent. There is flushing toilet here. I mean, all in all it's way more posh than my Moab river camping trip. But it is still wilderness and solitude. Guess this is the lesson I needed - to be able to overcome my own fear however stupid it may be and to be ok being alone.

...

Ok now the wind has picked up even more and I have to go pee in the woods. Again. Fuck. Another stupid move to drink enough beers to pee non stop but not pass out.

.., just made my version of Blair witch video to add some humor into the air a bit. This will go into the moab blair witch and the costa rica blair witch video series. Now I'm going to really try to sleep.

12.30 - Day of Dungs

What a difference a day break makes. The sun rises. Birds chriping everywhere. The sweet scent of the Savannah envelopes you. If only I slept I'd be dancing around right about now. This morning we found lion and cheetah track around the camp. Awesome. My stupid fear now has an excuse.

We spent the next 3-4 hours bush walking again in search of rhino boy. In the end he was no where to be found. But the theme of the walk somehow became 'dung' related. I met my new pet dung beetle. His name is chester. Then we started a little fire in the rhino alley so we can try to smoke elephant poop. Yep. Smoked that sucker. We had 2 balls of poop - one was a year old and the other was fresher. The fresher one was better. You smoke it kind of like weed but you don't get high off it. Then we moved over to giraffe poop. Yesterday I already fondled it. Today I played a game with Patson (ranger) where you put giraffe poop in your mouth and fire it off like a bullet. Whoever spits furthest win. Yep. Done did it.

I was world's worst navigator for the night time hyena tracking session. We went all the way out to the far edge of the reserve. No hyenas to be found, but I did see about 100-150 impalas and 50 zebras and some odd dozens giraffes roaming about. Pretty epic. I also learned how to use radio frequency animal tracker. They put this gps thing on a few of the big 5 that has been vaccinated for contraception. The tracker is used to find and monitor them in the wild.

Nothing of consequence happened tonight. We are back at basecamp. Boy do I appreciate a solid roof over my head.

Logistic wise - turns out I can't get refund if I bolt a week early. I have to decide weather to stay at bush camp for another week or eat it and roam around the country. Currently eyeing the Elephant coast - wetlands park /beach town south of Swaziland. The town is St. Lucia. It will involve some round about bus-plane-bus connection. Decisions, decisions.

Thaniya Keereepart1 Comment