These are pictures of various things that happened from day to day and my arrival and departure. I’m putting it in a blog because it’s easier to explain things than add captions to the album pictures. Not everyone will be interested in this but some people want to see everything.
This first picture is the central area in the Johannesburg airport. This airport is huge compared to Sea-Tac. There are people placed everywhere to answer your questions. I felt perfectly safe in this airport even though I didn’t have a clue where anything was.
This is the view from my hotel room. Nice, huh? On my return, especially since I’d be there for a much longer time, I asked for a room that was a little more pleasing to the eye.
This is the commuter plane that took us to Polokwane which is still in South Africa.
This is the charter plane that would take us to Mashatu. That’s the pilot and my fellow volunteers from England. We had a great time together which made the tediousness of some of the work we did far more tolerable. We spent quite a bit of time laughing about pretty much everything. I would love to be able to visit them.
Wherever there was large areas devoted to agriculture, these circular fields were in abundance. I don’t know why they were like this.
The Limpopo River! That means we’re almost there. I tried to see Pete’s Pond but didn’t find it. I did see it on the flight out. That picture will come later.
This was my cabin. There were four here. They were pretty rustic but I didn’t mind. Although if I were there in the winter, I probably might be complaining about being cold, which most of you know I HATE! There was absolutely no insulation. Although many people don’t link cold with Africa, this environment is very desert like (except during their rainy season in the summer) so winter nights can get pretty chilly.
As you can see there is a cooling and heating unit and even mosquito nets inside. I didn’t use it though. I prefer the fresh air of autumn.
These next pictures are a few things around camp that didn’t fit anywhere else.
These are weaver nests. They were still ‘occupied’. Every time we walked by, which we did several times a day since it was the only way into the camp itself, the birds would go ballistic, even at night! You’d think they’d be used to it.
I forget what this plant is called but the local folks used it to make tea.
A flower around the cabins. It’s delicacy made it seem a little out of place but it must be a lot hardier than it looks.
This is one of the little bushbuck that like to hang out inside the camp.
Here’s Rex trying to find us some lions. It wasn’t until we arrived at Mashatu that we found out that the leopard (and lion) shadowing project was no longer part of the volunteer program. Andy had been particularly interested in this. So Rex said he’d take us out to find them. Unfortunately, they were all off the Mashatu property. They were not seen until that last day we were there.
This boma is used by travelers on foot, horseback or bicycles. This is where they can stay overnight. This was west of the main camp out where we were looking for lions.
These two pictures are of us ‘working’. We spent several days collecting vegetation samples. Andy got to stand in one spot and take pictures, 360 degrees, of the plot. Actually, he did quite a bit more once he was done with that. Right, Andy??? :-)) Lesley and I had to mark off a square meter of land in each plot and pull up all the vegetation and stuff it in a bag, properly marked, of course. Those grass seeds are murderous! Then meter long branches from various trees in the plot had to be cut. Once those were collected, they had to cut into smaller pieces and stuffed into bags. Now, there are reasons I’m not a researcher and one of those reasons is that my memory sucks! So remembering which plant went with which bag was not my strength… a cause of much of the laughter between Lesley and me……
And finally, I had to leave… More standing around waiting for customs people at Limpopo airport and Polokwane. In these smaller places, following protocol and being on duty at all times is clearly not considered a priorty. Actually, I didn’t mind. It was, in some ways, a refreshing change from life here. Although, if I was on a tight schedule I might not be so amused by it all.
And finally, Pete’s Pond from the air!!!