Due to power failures, dodgy internet connections, extreme socializing and capacity building forces of nature have kept me from posting all of my photos from my time in the bush. So in a desperate bid to get them on line with still incredibly dodgy internet, here we go!
As I noted in an early blog, I was staying at the original Bush Man Lodge in Ghantsi (Ghantzi – take your pick). After two days of serious work my reward was a swim in the pool and after I was cooled off and relaxed my own private tour of the game reserve with the chief Bush Man.
What an experience it turned out to be. Leaving the lodge at 4:30 in still sizzling heat, we set off to drive the reserve. My guide told me how 15 years ago he had personally overseen the cutting of the roads (pathways really) that we were traversing throughout the reserve. Although he had just driven almost of the reserve the day before he was constantly encountering crater like holes in his precious roads made over the past 24 hours by hungry aardvarks.
In their pursuit of bugs to eat, they are capable of digging incredibly large holes in a relatively short period of time. I was also told that once the aardvarks abandon their holes when the bug supply runs out, the cheetahs are quick to move in. These large holes and tunnels are the perfect place for the cheetahs to rest out of the blistering heat of the sun until sunset and time to prowl. Unfortunately, we did not actually encounter a cheetah although I prayed fervently to. My guide was quick to reassure me that in his more than 15 years of living on the reserve he has yet to actually see any of the cheetahs although others have had the delight of an unexpected glimpse.
For the sceptics out there who are questioning whether the cheetahs and leopards actually exist on the reserve, yes they do! If they are regularly seen how can they be sure? Well,I am sure because I could easily hear one at night. Plus, there is currently cheetah research taking place on the reserve and their pictures have been captured at night through the use of infra-red technology.
During the three hours and half hours that I spent during my own personal tour of the bush I didn’t actually see any other species of animals than I had already seen coming regularly to the watering hole outside of my room. Due to the incredible heat many of the more elusive animals such as the zebras, giraffes and others were seeking shade from the sun even though we were out past sunset. Even our visits to the two other watering holes located on the reserve didn’t turn up any new sights for me, which is typical of a game drive. Some days you see every animal imaginable. The very next day you might see zero. That is the joy of the wild. You (not even my expert tracker) can predict where or when the game will put in an appearance. It is what makes a sighting all the more sweet!
But the highlight of my tour was getting to spend quality of time with a wise and wonderful bushman who was more than happy to answer every one of my fifty thousand questions. He even took me on my own personal bush walk explaining to me how the bush man can survive within this incredibly terrain. In fact, he proudly showed me how you can actually find everything that you need for survival within an incredibly small area.
Our bush walk even included a tour of a bush man camp site – I really want to come and stay here for a few nights!
Less rough bushman huts were also located very close to the lodge for those not willing to sleep so far away from any amenities although they are no more protected from wildlife visiting during the middle of the night.