Seeing wild elephants, firewood collection and our first braai

This morning we got up at 6.30am, the time we are expected to get up from now on (apart from Sundays). Today there was extra motivation though as we were going on our first proper game drive after the rain hampered the one last night. We were incredibly lucky to see zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, impala and most of the wild elephants for the first time! John the ranger drove up close to them and then stopped the engine. They got within 2 metres and one threw a stick at the game drive vehicle. He had told us to all sit still, but we all jumped when it did that.When he reversed back to leave them in peace some of them mock charged us. He said the looks on our faces were hilarious; we were all terrified!

Elephants as they approached.

Elephants as they approached.

John told us that wildebeest were a mixture of animals, such as giraffe and impala, that God had used to create it. There were so many giraffes. Female horns have more hair and bend in whereas males have less hair as they fight. We also learnt that rhinos spread their poo in a midden. On one part of the game drive the 4×4 got stuck as it had been raining so much, and we were going quite deep into the ground, so we had to reverse out. This was our first experience of nearly getting stuck, but certainly not the last!

We returned from the game drive very excited and told the others what we had seen. There wasn’t many of us on the drive as many had decided they didn’t want to get up so early. They definitely missed out. We ate breakfast and then relaxed until lunch. After lunch it was time for firewood collection. We were warned to check for the presence of scorpions and snakes under logs. This was done by hitting the respective log, so that the parang stuck in it (a kind of machete) and then lifting it up, in order to avoid touching it with our hands. Ensuring the log was safe to pick up, we then chopped it up with the parangs, and dumped them by the boma, ready for our braai later. For the uninitiated to the bush, a boma is an enclosure, often with walls made of wood, and braai is the Afrikaans for a barbeque. Firewood collection in the heat was very tiring and sweaty work so we went into the pool to cool down afterwards. Then us girls, minus the ones who were there to do horse riding, sat by the hammocks and talked.

Dinner in the boma was amazing. We had pap i.e. maize meal porridge with a tomato sauce, beef sausages (boerewors), corn on the cop and pork chops. The food tasted so good and I definitely like pap. I found my friends handprints in the cement around the edge of the boma, as he had helped build it when he was here.

The guys got really drunk, on the alcohol they had bought when we went to Malelane, and most were sick. One of the reasons they got so drunk was they were playing drinking games. Need I mention that one of the guys thought it would be a good idea to eat a lizard’s tail (they come off when you frighten them). One of the guys who was still there from the previous gap year group had managed to pick up a strong South African accent, but I’m not sure if he is originally from South Africa which could explain it. Anyway he was heading home the next day. As everyone had sick in their rooms we ended up with one guy and three other girls in our room. There may have been only two of us in the room, but we actually had three bunk beds. The hilarious thing being that the top bunk was too high, so really hard to get into unaided from the ground. 

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