Box surprises

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 08, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , KwaZulu-Natal,
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back to rising before the sun is up as we left camp at 6am to do what we came to this reserve to do: monitor dogs and change the batteries in the many cameras that are spread out throughout the reserve as part of Wildlife ACT's animal research. They are still running trial research surveys to iron out any flaws and problems before the data is seriously recorded. The data recorded will help them - and other researchers - with information on the number of certain species in the park, their behavior and habitat patterns.

At each camera box we came to change batteries and swap memory cards at we managed to unveil a creature hiding inside including a snake, cockroach, and absolutely huge rain spider (complete with fangs, I'm told, though I shall have to take word for it as I stayed firmly on the vehicle during that particular camera change): it felt like opening an advent calendar given to you by your worst enemy! The one treat inside one of the cameras was a very cold, hatchling rock monitor lizard, who'd managed to find his way in, but obviously not worked out his exit route. He soon warmed up on our hands, and took no time in trying to bite before deciding he quite liked running across heads, shoulders and arms, and sleeping back in cupped hands.

We headed back out in the late afternoon with the aim of tracking the wild dogs, but with no success. The reserve is so big that valleys and hilltops smother the antenna signal, and it takes quite some time getting from one side to the other. The temperature once again quickly cooled, timed with a spectacular sunset this evening - the clouds burnt orange and pink before the sun put them out to a black and navy smoke on the horizon.
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