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Phinda Wildlife Research Project: 28 November - 12 December 2023*
Herds of elephants migrate past the volunteer camp at Tuli
The bush camp in Tuli delivered one highlight after another – so many events in one go! I couldn’t really take it all in at once. 7:45 am, on the 4th October: A rumbling noise that got closer and closer. Suddenly elephants emerged from the bush and crossed our path. Just a few at first, and then more and more. I inadvertently held my breath – a herd of 93 animals migrated past us. Was I dreaming or did this really happen!? Did I really get to experience something this incredible? I felt such awe, my eyes welled up with tears. Nature is unbelievably fascinating!
I was also privileged to witness how a cheetah mother stood guard over a freshly killed impala, while her two young were licking each other peacefully. The mother constantly had to defend her prey against three jackals, who were plaguing her.
In the weeks from the 27 October – 11 November I got to experience some truly rare wildlife sightings – even the staff at Tuli had not seen these animals in over five years.
Aardwolf, Aardvark – three in one night!
The fascinating track of a baboon being captured by an eagle
A giant spectacle in the sky: A meteorite hurled towards Earth, a giant fireball with an enormously long tail in all the colours of the rainbow. We were all speechless and could not grasp what was happening. Christmas came early!
Back at camp, we came upon six elephants who were grazing peacefully amongst our huts. They stayed nearby for 3 days. And so the days passed one after another, with daily exciting surprises and incredible impressions. The time in South Africa and Botswana was, without exaggeration, the highlight of my already somewhat longer life!! My perception of life has been altered irrevocably. This experience has raised the question of just how important our stress and scramble for money really is, and whether after all nature isn’t the only treasure that makes life worth living!
I would like to thank the whole team at African Conservation Experience for the experiences which I was privileged to make. Keep encouraging people to take on the adventure and to give their life a new meaning, knowing that they have contributed to preserving nature – if only a little bit.
Silvia Russenberger, ACE volunteer