Elephants, marabou storks and road maintenance with pangas.

Before breakfast we cleaned out the lovely elephants. We are slowly getting faster at doing it, but we still have to do the horses and elephants separately as they can’t both be loose in the yard at the same time. There were some marabou storks there and they were absolutely huge close up. Marabou storks are also called the ‘undertaker bird’, and have many other nicknames relating to the fact they poo on their legs. Lovely creatures, eh? I should probably also mention at this point that elephant poo smells quite bad. There were separate gloves solely for the purpose of using to clean their stables out, so we didn’t smell of it when we did other tasks. You could always tell when someone left the draw that contained them open as this horrible smell wafted towards you.

Marabou stork. Image from http://www.safaribookings.com.

After breakfast we went and chopped some of the plants and trees by the side of the reserves’ roads because they were clipping the sides of the game drive vehicles. In order to chop them we used pangas, the name for a machete in this part of Africa. I had previously used a machete in Ecuador so I felt quite comfortable using it. It was no excuse to relax though as they can easily inflict damage. With all of us working together we quickly got work done, and it was great to see the result. Returning to Gazebo lodge for a lunch of sandwiches, we then continued our morning tasks through the afternoon. Not all of us were chopping branches all day, as others were helping to drain the road. Due to the rains recently water had built up in certain places so they were trying to remove the water and then fill in the area concerned.

Working in the bush all day in the heat is quite tiring, so after dinner we only sat around talking for a while. We then packed for Moholoholo and went to bed, excited for our first weekend away.

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