A story I wrote about my Research Masters work with African buffalo, published on the BuffaloMonkey website.
I started the week of August 17 with reading papers and writing a proposal and a grant up, but it became much more exciting towards the end of the week. Morgan and I hired a car and drove down to Sodwana Bay on Saturday to do some scuba diving, getting a squiz at some wild dog before we left the park. It was only about 640km away from Kruger, but took us around 10 hours to get there. It’s south of Mozambique, near St Lucia. The next day, I started my Open Water Certification and Morgan started her Advanced. There was only Casper, a guy from Germany, and me doing the Open Water course. On Monday, we got through the pool session before lunch. Tuesday we did our first two dives in the ocean. It was beautiful. The coral was lovely and there were colourful fish everywhere. We saw a honeycomb moray and a white tip reef shark chilling in a little cave together. Then, when we got back onto the boat at the surface, some humpback waves were breaching, so our skipper drove over closer for us to watch. It was awesome. The little whales were also having a go, but lacked the finesse of the adults. We finished our exam that afternoon and did the final two dives for our certification on the Wednesday to finish the course. On Thursday, I paid for an extra dive with Morgan and Hilton, a friend who works there. We left early on Friday morning and got back in time for sundowners on Friday. I spent the weekend working on uni stuff. Continue reading
The first week after capture (from June 8) was a data entry, lab assay, freezer sorting week. We had a few sundowners and group dinners thrown in and did a run of the black rhino boma which is my favourite to run around in Skukuza. It is a fair bit more in the bush than the rest of the town, so we only run it if we have at least three, preferably four, people to run with for saftey (against elephants and big cats and so on – more numbers tend to be more intimidating for the other animals). Dugo and I had a Nelspruit trip to pick up the bakkie from being serviced and Bree, Claire, Dugo and I went back down Nelspruit way to Uitsoek to compete in a skyrun running race. Continue reading
I was to help Courtney from April 13 onwards up at Hans Hoheisen – the State Vet area up near Orpen gate. I left early and made my drive up there into a bit of a game drive. It’s about 145km away from Skukuza, but takes a while because you have to drive so slowly through the park. I saw two cheetah about 13km north of Tschokwane, so it definitely made the drive.
So, I returned. I had a bit of a stint back home in Aus, in Perth for a while, before heading back to the beautiful New England country on the eastern side, and a month down in Melbourne. Then I headed back to Kruger to resume my intern duties and start a Masters degree on the project through the Uni of Melbourne in the middle of the year. Continue reading
My trip to Perth ended up slightly differently than what I originally imagined or intended. After my six-week stint there, I then had a six-month stint in South Africa, before returning to Perth for a couple of months. I entertained myself by volunteering with the University of Western Australia, helping on one of their university properties on a regeneration study, as well as out in the middle of WA, setting up camera traps for feral cats and dingoes. I did a bit of busking and cleaning to get by, and managed to afford a little trip around the bottom of WA. I was asked back to South Africa for 2015, to do my intern work again, as well as a Masters degree on the buffalo project. I said yes, of course, so decided it’d be better to drive my car back home where I could leave it with Dad to look after (along with all my other junk). So, Dad flew over to meet me at the end of November, and we drove about 8 000km back around the top together, in eight days. Gooooood times.
After I came back from South Africa, I hung around Perth for a few months, volunteering with a university, busking, seeing some more sights and playing with the dogs at my Perth family’s house.