As we all arrived to a sunny Uppington after long flights, we hooked up with Red and started our 4-hour drive, most of which consisted of catching up on sleep and checking our bags hadn’t fallen off!

Once we got to Oana we were straight away welcomed with sights of animals and ridiculous views. Our arrival to base camp was a very welcome one, and Drey showed us the ropes around camp. However, the face on Will when he asked for the wifi password only to find out it wasn’t for us was definitely a face of shock!

Our next morning was more introduction to the camp, and warning us of all the animals and insects that wanted to bite us. Those warnings seemed very real later that night as a snake joined us for dinner, however we would all enjoy it as part of the “African experience” – Will Grant, 2017. The next couple of days took us all over the conservancy, the most notable of which was the transect in which we had to try and spot all the animals we could from across a large part of the land. It was a genuinely unbelievable experience however Mia, Max, Fred and I turned out to be not the best at spotting the animals.

That brought us to Tuesday morning, in which we set off for three days on our biodiversity survey. We arrived at the foot of a hill, and took all our stuff up to find the most unbelievable camping spot where we would spend the next two nights, with absolutely crazy views. We set off later that morning to set up camera traps in hope of catching a mongoose or two, with the help of Fisho’s brilliant tracking. The evening we spent around a camp fire, watching the sunset, enjoying Carlene’s delicious food, and creating a list of Will’s best phrases so far which included the likes of ‘talli-ho’ and ‘holy crikey’.

The next morning, we were hopping around the sand trying to catch bugs, of which Max was absolutely terrible, but Fred seemed like he could catch anything, and Mia and Drey took on the savvy role of identifying the insects. Lizard hunting was the next task, which turned out to just about be the end of us as they seemed to toy with us, knowing that they could get away from us when they chose… little bastards.

That night was just the first time we had seen past 9.30pm, with lots of dubious camping games. We are currently chilling in camp glad to have sofas back, but we all agree that it has been a brilliantly ‘lush’ first week, and we can’t wait for the next 4.


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