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Paradise Camp Blog

What happens when it rains… Part 3/3

Rain again. Construction again... We are slowly making our way through the camp site doing major repairs. Yesterday was a very successful day, we replaced the kitchen awning and took all the chicken wire out replacing it with some droppers. I did the building with the help of Jean, Francois cut wood and Tim went to pick up the new volunteer. He was back in time to claim fame to the project. This was one of my favorite projects thus far, hence the lack of photos. I was slacking on taking photos since I was getting quite into it.

10/01/2010When will the rain end?!?!?The rain seems to be haunting us. It’s has no end! I came here thinking that I was going to be dry, as opposed to Cape Town weather where it rains all the time as well. Except they have sun now… Well my blistered hands have blisters on top of blisters, but I have to admit, the camp has a new face and those of you who know Paradise Camp you wouldn’t recognize it anymore.

What happens when it rains… Part 2/3

The past few days have left us drenched in despair. We’ve all been wearing winter clothing and as a result haven’t done an animal survey in at least 3 days. We listen to the game drives and get the impression that there aren’t any animals walking within Balule. Things here truly are awfully quiet. However with the rain we couldn’t very well sit around doing nothing, We have been very fortunate to have a lot of wood donated from Ezulwini which we used up in its entirety doing loads of maintenance. Idle hands turn into callous filled hands. We started off by getting involved in repairing the kitchen wall in an artistic manner. We ripped away all the bamboo and replaced it with some nice droppers. The team worked efficiently and quickly. Some sorted the polls according to size and colour others removed nails from old polls to be reused and finally the third step building the wall. Tim and I organized the wood while Jean and Francois build the wall. Sometimes there was loads of wood ready to be used but putting them up took a while so Tim and I got started with fixing the step on one of the lodges. We all felt great after the wall was finished. A sense of achievement was flowing through the camp. We were amped for more things to do.So we started building the house for the generator. And the team all worked very hard. We agree that in case of a panzer attack the generator house will be the safest place to be.

After the long days work we thought that a good braai was well deserved after the building and we could see the stars for the first night in ages. Regardless of how wet the wood was we decided to try, and fail we did. It was a very negative result but nothing could get us down after the great days work.The Bwana Craig won’t recognize the camp on his return from holiday with the family. We have repaired the door for the kitchen with droppers and it’s awesome! Our once idle hands have truly shown some love to the camp. Paradise just needs a little bit of love and care and it can be just as awesome as the generator box or the new wall in the kitchen, or even the fantastic new door in the kitchen.

So the sun finally returned to us after what felt like weeks, and it seemed the animals were also happy about this. We saw a small heard of Ellies though photos were limited to none since the bush was way too thick for any decent photos. So we decided to carry on down River road and we found another Elephant bull. He was rude and obnoxious. His name is Sho Shangaan. He didn’t like me taking photos of him, but yes Boss I got some pictures. Snapping away till Tim said told me to stop. I always find that when I’m taking photos I don’t really feel like I’m there. So I turned the camera off, and couldn’t believe my eyes. This massive Elephant bull that’s going out of mustch is standing about half a meter in front of me. He was not impressed by the camera.There was lots going on this evening, There was another small heard of ellies just south of Rome IV. And I also saw my first hyenas. It’s so cool. The past few days have really built up to a fantastic animal survey.

What happens when it rains… Part 1/3

Paradise camp is awesome! We have a great routine here. Every night, (when the weather allows for it) we make a huge fire chat about our day, and have dinner. Well to be quite honest, Bwana Craig has been down at Metsi, doing the reports and the weather hasn’t cleared long enough to make a fire. So instead we make food on the gas cooker, and sit miserably undercover watching the lightning. Humidity is major problem as of late. The rain has been coming down in buckets and when the sun does come out the water logged ground evaporates and saturates the atmosphere with humidity.

Today was very eventful. We fixed the brakes on Scorol Corol, so we went to Ezulwini lodge to collect some wood and some very nice droppers for the upgrades we will be doing. The first upgrade is a garage. This is to simply protect the cars from the harsh African weather. We will also be doing regular maintenance on the kitchen and finally we will be building a box for the generator to go in, this will reduce the noise pollution that it produces as well as protect it from weather effects. 

After collecting wood, we got back to camp and had a much needed lunch. We were just deciding were to store the wood when we heard the trumpeting of an ellie and we hopped into the car as quickly as we could. Craig was saying that you can hear the trumpeting of an elephant from miles away when we suddenly saw them. They were only 400 – 500m away from camp. Funny how things work out. We couldn’t get much data since the bush is extremely thick so photo opportunities were limited. Out of the eleven ellies we only got photos of two.

Craig has left to go visit his family. He sounded very excited… For those of you that know Craig you will understand exactly how much he couldn’t wait to go. So he has left the reigns in Tims hands. Good luck Tim.

We have one volunteer in camp, Jean. Jean is 68 years old and is traveling the world volunteering in multiple environmental projects and he has been helping out with the work on the garage. He will soon move into doing work on the kitchen. We can’t stress how important volunteers are to us. They help out with so many different things which we wouldn’t be able to achieve without them. Thanks to Jean and all the other volunteers that have helped in the past. The camp gets most of its funding from volunteers.

Goosie is still around; however she is miserable with the constant rain. She has been running up and down hissing and freaking out. She reminds me of the chicken that thinks the sky is falling. She constantly bites me, last time she bit me was because of my box of chocolates that I had and she wanted.

© / Michael Scholl Copyright 2012 for TransFrontier Africa and Craig Spencer