What a great way to celebrate my final walk of my time backing-up at Makuleke – leading my aunt and uncle with my pal Jomi backing up. This was walk number 106, all of which have been an incredible experience. I don’t want to over play it but I can’t think there are many experiences around that match up to leading bush walks through the African savannah. When you add in that it’s a true wilderness area such as Makuleke and you’re leading your own family then that’s just the icing on the cake.
We walked my favourite, the fever tree forest but this time from Hlangaluwe back to camp. It was a tame affair and very peaceful which was perfect to share with Paddy and Peter. We did have a couple of encounters, an ele bull feeding on a fever tree in the flood plain and then we circumnavigated a breeding herd of eles that were being harassed by said bull.
Our family affair of a walk was under four hours so we were back in camp long before the others who had to drive some distance to get to where they were walking. This gave me the time to pack and get everything in order before tomorrows departure.
In the afternoon we took the two landys up to Lanner Gorge to supposedly watch the sun go down, apparently this did happen but I was too busy chatting over Castle Lites to notice although I did enjoy the view and a moment to reflect.
In the evening it was the boma dinner. This was the best I’ve ever seen it look, the guys who had stayed back had done an incredible job setting it up. Even more incredible when you think they cracked their first tinnie as we pulled out of the drive way.
After dinner there were a few speeches by the staff and then the students. I excused myself for speaking longer than most as I saw this as my placement leaving do and graduation combined.
Once the formalities were over we got down to the serious business of “Fines Night”, there was a slight mutiny in that the girls did not want to drink out of Hein’s boot, actually I don’t think they wanted to drink out of anyones boot. I chaired the event and everyone took their punishment well. Marnis and Caroline were fined for missing the last fines night but funnily enough they were not there for this one either. Lex, the Director, who hopefully took this in the “tongue in cheek” way I meant it was fined for promoting a year long course that lasted only eleven months.
A few of us were left around the fire talking shop, this included following up on tell tale signs for big five. During which we heard the impala alarming on Middle Road so we jumped in the Beige Landy and headed out to find a leopard. No fairy tale ending I’m afraid.