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Paradise Camp Blog

Weekend Of Mayhem

An insane past few days have resulted in many in interesting moment in Paradise. 

It all started last Friday, with a meeting between us and a team called B.A.T.T’s, (Ba-Phalaborwa Aerial Task Team,) who do volunteer flying to help keep poachers at bay. They however will help us with many conservation tasks as well, such as keeping the elephants within the reserve, and random fence patrols. They are pilots looking for a purpose to fly and we have that. The meeting was quite successful in the end and we came to some good agreements. 

On Saturday morning the B.A.T.T’s wanted to do an orientation flight of the reserve and we were happy to oblige them. On root down to the airstrip we had something out of the ordinary, two little paws creeping through the window of the car, Goosie had stowed away on the roof of the enterprise and was hanging on for dear life whilst we were racing to meet the air team. Shame poor thing must have been terrified. Craig reckons she wanted to fly as well. The weather was no good for flying in the end and we ended sitting at the airstrip waiting for them and chatting to Eugene Engelbracht the head of the B.A.T.T’s while we waited. Follow up flights will happen in the future. 

Goosie didn’t want to get back in the car at the end of the meeting and ended up biting Craig when he tried to put her in the car, so we left her there for the day to play around. She really knows how to play though, we were quite content with her playing and fetching her after game drive but would you know it at about 16h30 we get a call from Kjell asking if we had lost Goosie somewhere, he had driven past the airstrip and she launched herself into his car, bit the guests and ran off. Funny… So we went and fetched her a bit earlier than anticipated and we took her on drive with us. Moments to remember. Photos can be found on the Transfronier Africa Face book page. 

We thought Sunday would be a chill out day because we’d been so busy, but noooooo, we had a truck crash into the western boundary fence. This truck took out a knob thorn tree clean out the ground and it went flying into the bush almost ended up in Naledi, (not quite but it went quite deep into the bush.) Photo’s on Face book page. We ended up working on the fence for most of the day and fixed it up with some red bush willows while we wait for the fence guys to fix it up again. I believe the expression is, ‘No rest for the wicked.’ 

Last night was a little extreme for the faint of heart, we got hit by the apocalypse. A storm with bellowing winds lightning that lit up the sky all the way to Timbavati, and thunder that made your heart skip a beat. I thought the chalets were going to blow over, Bubu’s tent did blow over, and now the radio in the kitchen isn’t working again. All that and 5 drops of rain to top it off, all talk and no play. 

Maybe one day we’ll get a chance to rest a little, but I think that’s something that retired people can do while we make sure that when they come to Kruger the animals are still here.

Full to the brim

So now I give you guys the first blog in 2 weeks! Wow, it just feels like yesterday when I last wrote anything down. Everything here seems to have fallen into a repetitive rut, wake up clean lappa area do dishes, set out breakfast, pack lunch and go out into the field to walk drainages (or check water holes, whatever.)

Though sometimes things go a little differently, this weekend the camp was FULL. We had 18 members from the Aarbog Zoo in Denmark here. The camp was alive and things were busy, we first stressed as Craig ranted at us to make things work, but we got the camp ready and things went perfectly, (kind of.)  The Zoo people as we coined them were great and loved seeing the animals which they spend so much time with, free to walk Africa. I can only imagine what that must feel like. 

We have also got 2 new volunteers in camp Alan (61 years old been living in SA since he was 21,) and Frederique, (more or less the same age as Alan and she lives in France.) They are a fantastic couple and have come here to explore the life of a conservationist in Southern Africa. All I can say is welcome and I hope you enjoy it. 

So what lies for the future? I have some schemes and plans in the works, but won’t tell you guys about it until it happens but let me tell you in 2 or three days we should be able to tell you some cool stories. 

That’s all for now, 

Feel free to write us and ask us any questions! 

Getting Back into the swing of it

This is going to be a good week! On Friday we were meant to go on a camp in the drainages, it was going to be awesome but instead the Craig said he had other things in mind… We all thought he had a plan to kill us all or something like that. When we arrived at camp after a hard day in the sun, Craig told us that he had a fantastic boat trip organized for us. We were all going to go down the Olifants River and spend the night out there. I was super amped just to get out for a bit, and see new things.

It turned out to be one of the highlights for me so far, being surrounded by hippos at night and getting to see Ellies come down for a drink. I could almost say priceless but it wasn’t. This will hopefully become a regular outing for the volunteers in the time to come. 

So after a weekend away, we were all quite slow on the Sunday, saying goodbye to a good friend after breakfast at 3 bridges. Kevin has been with us twice so far this year and for a grand total of 6 weeks. He is now back to California, we wish him all the best. 

Today we had to get back into the swing of things, because we were away for the weekend shopping was put on hold, so Craig and Erin went to the fantastic metropolis called hoedspruit. 

This in turn meant that I had to patrol drainages on my own, which wasn’t to bad. I managed to come across a small herd of Ellies whilst being on foot, They were quite a way away but none the less it was nice to see them. 

Francois had to polish and spit shine all the signs within the reserve, so he’s been doing that for a while and probably will be doing that for a couple more days. 

When I got back to camp the wind was blowing and we immediately started preparing for the apocalypse only to find that it was all in vein since the storm missed us completely. Though I did fix Goosies little pipe house on the tower since it was also looking like it would blow away. I’m currently doing some renovations and upgrades on her house. 

Craig is doing good, always stressed and ranting at us all, for what I’m not sure, I think he’s starting to make things up as he goes along. It’s his way to make sure that we keep on our toes and not slack off. 

This is our Hello from Paradise Camp     

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