Paradise Camp Blog | Transfrontier Africa | Michael Scholl

Paradise Camp Blog

A new season, the same challenge

The bush is going yellow and the water is beginning to dry up, but the Olifants River still flows strong. I love the transformation of the bush from lush jungle to arid desert. 

As always we never know what challenges the day will hold for us. Yesterday one of the rangers spotted a female zebra with a snare around her neck and we spent the entire day crashing through the bush trying to keep sight of her till the vet arrived. Finally as the sun was setting he arrived, silhouetted on the horizon, his dart gun glistening in the last rays of sunlight. With a cock of his head and a steely stare in his eye he darted the mare with an expert shot to the ample buttocks. Like a cowboy nursing his dying horse he knelt next to the zebra and removed the snare; which fortunately had not yet begun to cut into her flesh. Within minutes she rejoined her fowl and the herd, and the vet was gone as quickly as he arrived, only his small form visible on the horizon.

Fortunately we are only experiencing small instances of subsistence poaching such as the unselective snare which the zebra found herself entangled in. This is partly due to our excellent anti-poaching team which we have been working closely with. 

Along with the falling leaves our new man Tim has arrived. We welcome him form Bush-wise College and look forward to a fruitful partnership with him. Unfortunately he is British though, and once again I am outnumbered in my own land. I look forward to many drawn out discussions about Margaret Thatcher that will inevitably leave me in a boredom induced coma with spittle running from the corner of my mouth. 

We have fallen back on hard(er) times at the moment which has left us foraging with the mongoose for grubs amongst the detritus, we have started smoking elephant dung in desperation .Surely our ship will come home soon. Its doing wonders for my figure though. 

The surrounds of our camp have been besieged by animals as of late. One incident had Craig stuck in one house and Tim on the other. There were lions in-between. Craig had the rum and Tim had the coke. Naturally they braved the lions. Another incident saw Craig searching for his lost cell phone in a riverbed when he suddenly found himself surrounded by elephants. He only just made it back to his vehicle in the nicotine. There are many elephants around at present, with some family units returning to the area which we have not seen in a while. Whilst on his fruitless search for his cell phone Craig discovered a new species of invasive alien vegetation in the river beds. We are currently assessing its distribution and will in all likelihood be spending a fair amount of time in the riverbeds in the next while!

Dumisani continues to irritate Craig, but he’s been kept busy with painting the chalets, which are now a lot more pleasing to the eye. Poor old brother Dums has been looking quite forlorn since Craig publicly broke his beloved rake, but they are still friends. We have been quite busy with the P.R side of things on the reserve, which involves drinking a lot of tea with land owners and listening to stories about how many giraffes there were on the reserve 15 years ago etc. But most of them are a nice bunch and it is critical that we maintain beneficial relationships with them. 

We are almost done with our waterhole census, which involves capturing data on our 175(!) waterholes in the region. It is exciting work though, which sees us visiting thrilling parts of the reserve which not many people are fortunate enough to see. 

Due to the unforeseen sinister presence which continues to torment us; Craig’s email craig@transfrontierafrica.com is no longer operational. If anyone would like to send the elusive warden an email please send it to craigs@ezulwini.com. Thanks to all our fans, speak again soon!

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