I jumped back

7th February 2014

Monday 13th January 2014

As I’m writing this the baboons that are roosting in the camp’s nyala tree are having a set to. It’s a domestic rather than anti-predator, one of the females is being shown who is boss and he doesn’t sound like a nice boss.

Two good buffalo encounters on the morning trail which we learnt a lot from in terms of animal behaviour. But they weren’t responsible for the main shock factor. We were walking in single file towards the pan (pond) after our second encounter. The lead, back up, Bruce and xxx had already past the point that I had just reached when suddenly the grass next to Will and I burst to life and as I jumped back – politely asking, what is that? – a huge snouted cobra snaked its way over a dirt patch and down a hole. When I say huge, I mean really huge.

Our destination of the morning was the Limpopo river, we made it to its banks and rested up for a while looking across the fast moving channel to Zimbabwe.

After lectures we some tape ball cricket, then it was training with Bruce which included sprints, fireman’s lifts and rock carries. I finished this off with 3k around the track for good measure.

We only walked two hours in the afternoon which was good because I was feeling dehydrated from all the exercise before lunch. I was ‘back up rifle’ to Carman and we had a buffalo herd encounter. Neither of us saw them at first so Bruce pointed them out. They were about 250m – 300m away to our south east, we made our approach to some high ground using the wind and sun to our favour and got to within 125m.

I’m looking forward to walking as lead tomorrow but I’ll be physically and mentally exhausted after it. It will be a long walk, I need to be super vigilant – I really don’t want to miss anything, I’ll need to stop and interpret and the rifle seems to be double the weight in this heat and humidity. And if I wasn’t going to be busy enough, Ben and I are duty team tomorrow.

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