A Travellerspoint blog

Week 2

I can't believe it's been two weeks already, time certainly flies by when you are having fun. It's funny how shovelling shit actually turns into fun when there is a bunch of big lions just a fence away. There has been a lot of manual labour this last week, enclosure maintenance, painting the poles of the enclosures, cleaning the enclosures and shovelling sand to but in the elephants enclosures. But we've also had a language lesson, learning a bit of shona and been elephant hearding, it's fun walking with the elephants back to their enclosures, also called bomas. You get to see them up close, to feed them, touch them and study them, they are quite amazing animals, and they have a lot of crude force, one of them got tired of picking leafs off a tree, having to lift his trunk to pick them off, so he just knocked the tree over and continued feeding of it on the ground.

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I've gotten into the routine now, getting up at 6 am, walking the lions for a hour an a half before breakfast. I like the morning walks, it's still cool and the lions are more active, I love watching them play, wrestling each other. I know that some of the volunteers here have gotten bored with the walks, but I love them, how often do you get to spend time walking with lions, how can that possibly be boring? Especially when you get to interact with them, touch them and play with them.

The three week old cubs have now arrived in camp and is in a playpen in the same enclosure as the 4 month old Lewa. We will get to bottle feed them sometime during this week. They are still so small that they don't see properly yet. They don't look much like lions at this age, they look more like a cross between a lion and a sheep actually.

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We get half a day off every five days, I used my last off day to go horseback riding again. It's quite an experience riding next to both zebras, impalas and warthogs, you get a lot closer to the game on horseback than you do on foot, especially when you've got a small pride of lions with you. There has also been some new arrivals at the stables, three nights ago a little baby horse was born. So now there are two small baby horses here, they are so cute. The youngest, a girl, is still a little shy, but the three week old boy is so friendly and loves to get a good back rub. There is a full moon at the moment and we are going on a lunar horse ride tomorrow.

We've also been on a day encounter, taking some of the other lions out to hunt. I prefer the day encounter to the night encounter, on a day encounter you get up before 4 am and drive out when it's still dark and the sky is filled with stars and all you can see of the game is some glowing pinpricks in the dark. After a while the sun rises and you can see the game. Watching giraffes at sunrise is magical.

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One night some of us went on a vehicle stalk, it's a game we play. We all go into the bush, then they leave us, drive the truck a few hundred meters and we're supposed to get back to the truck unnoticed through the bush, while they search for us with a big spotlight. We hide behind trees and in the tall grass and slowly make out way towards the truck. It's a lot of fun after you forget that there are snakes and spiders sharing the bush with you that you can't see in the dark. At least the snakes take off as soon as anyone gets to close.

Some of the volunteers have gone on a 5 day trip to Victoria Falls, but a lot of new volunteers have just arrived, most of them are actually in their forties and fifties so the average age at the moments is late thirties.

I'm really looking forward to the lunar horse ride tomorrow, but I'm not looking forward to one of the other activities that is on my schedule for tomorrow. I'm doing meat prep and cub feed, meaning that I have to prepare meat for the lions, which includes chopping up a dead animal of some sort, probably either a cow or a donkey. Not looking forward to that at all!!!

Posted by RaijaKarma 20:41 Archived in Zimbabwe

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