At this moment, while writing these lines, I’m just a few hours away from starting my adventure. But of course, the preparation started already several months ago. As there are so many birds, mammals, insects, trees etc. to learn, I started very early with learning with special focus on the different bird calls. In the beginning, this was really hard. But now I can recognize almost half of the most common birds in Southern Africa. Furthermore, I gained a lot more knowledge about the African savanna which hadn’t learned yet from all the documentaries.
Due to the fact that I spend a lot of time outside in the mountains with my tent, I didn’t need to buy that much new stuff – nevertheless, I spent a lot of time preparing all my gear and thinking about what equipment I would really need because I didn’t want to carry too much weight with me. After some hours I gathered all my stuff: a sleeping bag and mat, some khaki coloured t-shirts, shorts and a hoody and a little more. I hope I didn’t forget anything.
After the first week in Pridelands it was already time to say goodbye to the elephants and head out to new adventures in our new camp. Karongwe, our new camp, is a large private game reserve which is located not too far away from Pridelands. The camp is just magical. The tents we sleep in are almost small houses and offer a straight view over the savannah.
We are 21 students in this group. Many of them come from Germany but there are also people from Australia, Portugal, Austria, Canada, South Africa and, of course, me from Switzerland. As bushwalks and game walks within such a large group are difficult to manage we were split up into three subgroups.
Normally, we get up really early in the morning at 05:00 AM. I am still not really used to it but its getting easier. At first, we get some coffee and a little bit to eat. After breakfast we have time till 06:00 AM to get prepared for the morning activity – a bushwalk or game drive, depending on the day. We have already learned so much that now we are the ones who are responsible for the game drives. It is way harder than the guides made it look like. But we are getting better and better. We come back to the camp at around 10:00 AM where a big breakfast awaits us. Straight after breakfast it’s already time to go to lecture to acquire further knowledge about topics like geology, astronomy, birds, fish, animal behaviour and much more. After lecture we have time to study the topics until 03:00 PM before having lunch and taking part in another game drive or bushwalk. The afternoon game drives are quiet cool because we stop for a nice sundowner, which means having a beer and simply enjoying the beauty of the South African savannah. After the sunset we drive back to camp using a spotlight to spot animals in the dark which are hard to see during the day. Back in Camp Karongwe we enjoy dinner. After that we sometimes gather around the fire – but oftentimes the activities of the day got us too tired so we go straight to bed.