Hey you! Thanks for visiting my blog (again)! Sorry it's been so long since my last post! Circumstances have become even more challenging now with shit shit internet and no power half of the time. Also, I'm struggling a little to find time and inspiration to write. But I will keep writing and posting albeit even more irregular than before! Just wanted to say: thank you for reading, thanks for following and thanks for your warm reactions, I appreciate all of it :)
Also, I just want to give a head's up that very soon my webaddress will change a little (to wildandbeast.weebly.com), otherwise everything will stay the same! I will let you know when the change is actually happening. Thanks again, enjoy! xxxx
Monday - Dangling
Some days I can’t help but wonder what kind of crazy life I’ve gotten myself into. Today, as I was dangling on a tree-branch, was one of those.
The first question that you could now ask is: “What were you doing in that tree?” Well… In order to find collared animals, we track them. The thing is that the higher you are, the bigger the radius to pick up a signal. And so every now and then I find myself climbing a solitary tree out on the endless plain, with varying success.
Second question you may want to ask: “What animal were you looking for?” A hyena. A collared hyena that hadn’t been seen yet this month.
Time for a third question, go ahead: “Did you find it??” No. No I did not find it. Despite my mad tree climbing skills. I tell myself the animal was most likely miles and miles away. It just had to be. It can’t be blamed on my effort!
Wednesday – Did anyone say… Cheetah?
When I’m out in the field trying to find some hyenas, I receive a radio call from Daan. He has downloaded coordinates of one of the cheetah (a mother, likely with cubs) and she is ‘only’ 12 km from me. I am already quite far away from camp and I have a few good reasons why I can’t go to this cheetah.
For one, I’m busy, and will have a thousand things to do when I get back to camp. Finding a cheetah is one thing, but then I’ll have to stay with her while she hunts, meaning I won’t get back to camp early. Secondly, I’m on a motorbike that actually needs a chain adjustment, which I wasn’t worried about because I wasn’t going too far but it could potentially become a problem when far out in the plains by myself. I usually don’t feel comfortable being so alone, so far away if I can’t rely on my bike and supplies 100%. However often I am in that situation, and however often I make it back without a problem, it always makes me a little nervous.
So I sit for a moment and I contemplate whether I should go to this cheetah or not. Until a tiny but strong voice inside my head whispers: ‘It’s a CHEETAH, with CUBS’ and one of my favourite phrases springs to mind: “there will always be 100 reasons to not do something, but the 1 reason to do it should be enough”.
Damn straight. Suddenly I realise that I won’t be doing this job forever. The fact that I can follow a cheetah all day and call it work is unique and a blessing. Never in my life would I have thought this would be me one day and surely one day I will find it hard to believe that I even had to think about this decision. I mean, that's quite ridiculous! And so I throw my doubt away, decide to look at the chain later and get on my way.
Friday – It’s a happy day
As my colleague Kings would say: It’s a happy day! Why? Because I’m doing a den visit in Mutata and that just happens to have the coolest cubs in the world. They are quite used to the motorbikes, dare to come close and (just like any other cub) see the tires as world’s best chewing toy.
When I get closer to the den, the cubs are still out and they raise their head upon the sound of my motorbike. They get up and come running to me. No joke. For real. They came running. That’s how much they love motorbike tires.
Sunday – Lion searching
One of the lodge guides has seen one of the lionesses with cubs! Obviously I now have to go and find her and take lots of pictures. But there is one problem: we don’t have a vehicle at the moment. So I can’t go and that sucks.
But while I’m out in the field I come up with quite a brilliant plan (if I may say so myself). Apparently I’m not the only one with that exact same brilliant plan because when I get back to camp I have a text from Noeline saying something along the lines of: I’m kidnapping you this afternoon, we’re going lion cub searching! YAAAAYYY this is PERFECT!
So in the afternoon we set off on our search. Luckily the lioness is collared so this shouldn’t be too difficult. And indeed, not too far out of camp I pick up her signal. We follow it until we get to a stream with thick reeds. Unfortunately mother and cubs are resting in there and we can’t see them.
Luckily for us, we didn’t come this far for nothing. We came prepared. The sun is setting beautifully between some clouds, turning them red, orange and pink, we have snacks, drinks and a lot to talk about. We are happy, even without seeing lions today. Shame, now we have to try again tomorrow. Shit man.