Exclusive Bailey drives

25th March 2014

Tuesday 11th March 2014

This mornings mission was to find elephant so we headed to the sandveld. Despite having no luck it was an enjoyable drive especially all the zebra and impala that we spent time watching. Dad made sure he got lots of photos of the former for his grand daughter Millie.

We broke the morning up with a cuppa at Mutale Weir which both Mum and Dad thought was pretty special. A great place to stop, even more so today as there was a goliath heron being mobbed by a fish eagle. Mum and Dad reassured me they weren’t bothered about seeing all the big game, they just wanted to see me, understand what I do and be able to better visualise it when they get back home.

Because the ‘Trails Group” were at the shooting range there were only five of us for breakfast which was a nice change to the normal hustle and bustle. Afterwards, Dad and I sat by the camp fire and had a cuppa before I went about my daily duties which included my first bit of soldering.

The afternoon drive wasn’t the best, there was a lot of driving with very few animals. My guess was that they were all in hiding from the sun, certainly every time we stopped it soon got too hot and we had to get moving for the natural ‘fan’ to kick in.

Wien came along on the drive which meant that rather than an exclusive Bailey outing we had an additional guide. Wien was able to show me new parts of the concession which I hadn’t seen before, this included a huge baobab tree. But because Wien was sat up front with me I missed out on the quality Father/Son time that I’d been having with Dad sat there over the last four drives.

Having somebody else join us illustrated just how special it has been to have had the exclusive drives up until now with both Mum and Dad and before them Johnny and Emma. If I were anywhere else other than EcoTraining I couldn’t have done this, certainly not this early on in my placement. This was one of the main reasons for opting for the position as “Back-Up” at Makuleke and it’s paid dividends – the other reasons were all professional of course.

Tomorrow mornings drive is the last chance to show my parents ele and leopard. For today they’ll have to settle for the only ostrich on the concession and one of the Kruger’s big six birds which we also saw today, the Saddle Billed Stork (that’s two of the six they’ve seen, they saw the ground hornbill yesterday).