I'm here in the bush camps! It took us about 10 hours to get here- 200 kilometres on actual road which took us just over 2 hours to drive, and then another 200 kilometres on awful African roads which took us nearly 8 hours, the bumps and crazy amount of stuff drove me to insanity.
But we're here, and it's our second day, and we've seen so much! The days follow the easy plan of getting up early, going for a game drive until lunch, coming back for lunch and a siesta, then going for a game drive and sundowners at a cool place to watch the sunset. Today's sundowners was up a mountain surrounded by the most amazing view of the mountains and the grasslands, and yesterday's was at Hippo Pools, and we lit a campfire and had a massive picnic for my belated 18th and a friends 24th (the hippo stayed in the river luckily!). There's a few Australian volunteers here and some young South African and Zimbabwean staff members who are such lovely people- they even managed to get a birthday cake and candles out here! Going for game drives and getting to chat to likeminded people about things we all love is amazing- and I've got another stop for my gap year in Brisbane! I'm definitely coming back to here for the African side of my gap year, it's amazing to be so close to all the wildlife and everything is completely wild- no fences or anything anywhere. This means that the animals walk around the camp at night- in this camp we've got Vervet monkeys in the trees, and hippo, elephants and buffalo that wander around at night and eat all the grass- you can't see them but you can hear them outside the tents and see their footprints! In the other camp there's elephant, waterbuck and a lovely buffalo who likes to get a liiiiittle bit too close! Waking up to strange sounds is the norm here!
The animals are really not used to humans or the cars, so they're either scared of us (the impala) or really inquisitive and try to come and investigate (the baboons) and it's amazing to see them completely wild. The nature reserve is mainly for conservation work and it's interesting to see how everything works to try and maintain the animals and protect them from the poachers and locals. Made me think that if I don't get into uni this year I might just come and live here and start some kind of conservation work, but I don't know yet! It's good fun to see everything and spend some time with people who have cool life stories and want to exchange life info- being Welsh is really interesting for them!
It's pretty awful internet in this camp, and there's none at all in the other camp, so I won't be able to put any pictures or anything up until I get home or back to Pemba. But for now, I've seen loads of elephant, impala, kudu, waterbuck, baboons, warthogs, vervet monkeys, hippo, and the most amazing variety of birds! They're all so interesting in their own little ways, and I've still got another 5 days here to see everything and take photos! For now, I'm enjoying being around people and animals who make me happy- this place is amazing to clear your head.
I'm a very happy Elin!