For the last two weeks we have been at Riverside Wildlife rehabilitation centre!
We arrived in Phalaborwa in the smallest plane and at the smallest airport we have ever been to. We were picked up by Matthew he took us to Riverside giving us a little guided tour on the way, we drove past hundreds of termite hills and some endangered species of antelope. We were gretted at Riverside by Bob and Lynne, and the other volunteers, and were taken down to our dorms. At first were a bit schocked as the showers were all outside, and the dorms were simple little huts, we were really back to basics. Charlie was sharing a dorm with a guy called Zac, and Jade and Aimee were in another dorm with a girl called Tay.
We were up every morning at half 6, ready to start work at 7! We had to do various chores, from cleaning to feeding the primates, and didnt get breakfast until 9! We spent most days either weeding or helping to build a new baboon enclosure. Which involved puttin up fences, cementing, digging, cutting back the trees and grass, putting up electric wire, etc. It was hard work!! Especially in the 30 degrees heat! In our spare time, when we would play in the baby cage or with the ill babies from the clinic. And if it was really too hot we would spend an afternoon at the pool!
We were fortunate enough to have all our meals included which paid off for all the hard work!! They were delicious!! And at the weekends we would have Braai (a BBQ) on Saturday, and Potjie (an old South African traditional meal) on Sunday!
Once a week after dinner, we would head out to a bar called On The Rocks where we enjoyed a few Jager-bombs and did some classic karaoke in English and Afrikaans! We would then head to Amigos, a night club after and dance the night away!!
The wildlife we saw was awsome, we got to ride elephants and see a hippo (the most dangerous animal in South Africa).
During our stay at Riverside we made some great friends, even with the monkeys. After just a few days we would walk in to the baby cage and they would climb all over us. The vervets spent their time jumping at you from all directions and trying to go down your top, whilst the baboons were swinging from your hair! And they all throughly enjoyed pooing and weeing all over us!! We also got to spend some time with the bigger baboons as part of a morning chore. Even though they were only 18 months old they were really strong, and would bite you to test your dominance. Charlie was prepared for some 'man scars' after Lucy, another volunteer, had a fat bruise under her eye, but we all survived without a single scratch! We also got to see a few operations on vervets with open wounds, and medicines being given to the poorly babies. Unfortunately whilst we were there 4 babies had to be put down as they all had a bacterial virus which caused them to get a really nasty cough and lumps. Bob (the owner of Riverside) thinks its a form of herpes caught from a volunteer, eww!
We cant believe how fast our time at Riverside went! It became our home! And we met some great people who became our family! We would spend nights by the campfire sharing stories and playing games and had an awsome time! Really going to miss it!
We were sad to leave Riverside, but jumped aboard our flight to Joburg and waved goodbye! We were then meant to get a coach to Cape Town but the 7 hour wait and the 18 hour journey didnt sound too appealing. So we quickly booked a flight and were back in Cape Town before we knew it!
Speak to you soon...we will probably be in Thailand by then!!!
Lots of love Jade, Aimee and Charlie xxx