I realise I have yet to paint the picture of exactly where I am living. The wildlife centre is in the town of Letsitele - about 30 minutes away from the nearest larger town of Tzaneen. Inbetween are endless fields of grapefruit trees and roadside vendors, selling anything from macadamia nuts and cabages to baskets made from reclaimed car tyres. The centre is within bushland, which comes with its very own insect, snake and wild monkey community. Huge Golden Orb spiders are everywhere and I saw my first snake (a brown house snake) a couple of days ago. A tiddly thing but a snake all the same.
The area is so peaceful - except for the odd baboon grunt or ostrich trumpet. Wild peacocks also wander around the corn fields.
The evenings are pretty quiet after working long hours (7am-5pm) but I always manage a final tummy rub of the day for 'Mr Nice Guy' - a particularly docile male adult vervet. Once dinner is finished and the owls are fed, we normally play a few games of 'spoons' - a surprisingly agressive card game or 'bullsh1t" - again another card game, which I'm pretty good at - I must have an honest face or something!
My dorm, 'Loerie's Rest' sleeps 5 of us currently - it's now getting colder and colder in the evenings so I sleep with 2 duvets and 1 sleeping bag. It does the job and I've made my corner reasonably homely but it still doesn't stop me dreaming of central heating, a hot bath and my hair straighteners!! After almost 10 days here I'm getting used to walking in to spiders webs by accident in the middle of the night, taking open-air showers and often having a sleeping monkey under my jumper.
Yesterday I experienced another 'first' by firing my first rifle - we all had a lesson on how to carry a gun, load ammunition and take pot-shots - lots of fun and I managed to hit the target (after a few attempts). The lake we were shooting at also has its own zip-line but I have yet to try it as it looks rather dubious what may be lurking at the bottom of the murky water.
Tomorrow I am going on a 2-day camping trip to Kruger and need to be up at 4.45am to catch morning viewing so another early night for me tonight - I never thought it possible, but gradually I am morphing from a night owl in to an early bird.
The sun finally seems to be shining today so I'll try to squeeze in some power-sunbathing before the afternoon feeds begin......