Lions & Tigers & Fun OH MY!!!
Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
19Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Kwantu Private Game Reserve
Getting to Kwantu finally and driving to our accommodation was exciting. It turns out the game reserve used to be a small town, which has remained in tact for the most part. There were two churches that are still used a few times a month by surrounding townships, a grocery store/post office, a school and then of course accommodation for staff, volunteeers, and the 5 star hotel for guests. We were dropped off at our new 'home' called, the Kubs 1/4's. As the three of us walked in the door, I think all of our jaws hit the floor...it was GORGEOUS!
Then finally it was time for our first meal, where we met Alex & Henny (who is kind of in charge of the volunteers while we're working). We were served food from the hotel because the lady who normally cooks for the volunteers, Mamma Lydia, was away. We learned after the first meal that we definitely would be eating better than we do at home. We had hotel food for the next couple days, which we thought was great, until Chidg & Alex raved about Mamma Lydia's cooking, especially the homemade bread, EVERYDAY!
All of our alarms go off at 6:30am, time to roll out of bed, put our work clothes on and head out to the patio to wait for Henny to come get us at 7. Our first stop of the day, and everyday, meet Moses (he is a ranger but works with the volunteers so we are able to go places where the wild animqls are) and the Tiger Cubs! Everymorning at 7 and every afternoon at 4:30 we go to their enclosure to play with them and bottle feed them their formula. They are the cutest things EVER!!! Tikka & Masala! If you sat down they would crawl all over you, try to bite you, they ,ade the cutest noises ever, which Alex can immitate quite well (haha), they just always made my day! Then after the feeding was over we headed over to the predators camp, where they have the parents to Tikka and Masala, Cheetahs, Mufasa the Lion, Two wild 5and vicious) dogs, and then one enclosure of 15 or so Lions. We walked around looking at all the 'predators', and then we got to watch William, Nicholas & Deek feed them...I think they were hungry, you know a lion is hungry when it jumps into the back of the truck to grab some meat! We then headed over to Ben's enclosure. Ben is a tiger (the brother to the babies) and in his encloser there are also 3 other lions, 2 white lions and 1 other lion
Woken up at 5am from the monkeys running on the roof and the lions roaring in the distance, I was wide awake and ready for another day. It was too wet first thing in the morning to go to the fire, so after feeding the babies (Tikka and Masala) first stop the nursery. Kwantu grows all their own herbs and plants in the nursery that they use for cooking, so we spent the first part of the morning moving pots around, and planting new plants. It was kinda just like gardening at home, not too exciting but it was still fun. After breakfast we headed to the Elephant Sanctuary. Keep in mind we're in the back of a truck, flying down the gravel road, ok no problem. But once we hit the highway, we all kind of looked at eachother as in 'are we really standing in the back of a truck on a highway??'...YEP we sure are!! It gets pretty cold standing in the back of a truck doing 110 down a highway, just in case you didn't know
Okay, so now I can't remember the order of how all these things that we did went...but I remember everything we did at least, so I'll just randomly talk about them, and here it goes...
We spent some time in the game reserve at the site of the old Tiger enclosure. They were taking it down as they were working on building a new enclosure. So anytime we headed out onto the game reserve, we first of all need to be in a vehicle (usually the Land Rover, if we were going without William) and secondly we needed a ranger with us, which was usually always Moses. So once we got to the burm (I think thats what they called it) Moses wanted to pull the landrover into the enclosure because there was a horney elephant around which he didn't trust (so that was interesting) and then it was time to start taking the fence down
Another part of the work day we jumped into the back of the land rover and headed out to a game capture fence in the reserve. This was a fence they put up so they could dart certain animals. They would chase the animals into this direction and then finally it wouldn't be able to run any further, so they had a better chance of darting it. Anyways, we had to take all the poles down, and pile them up so that we could use them in the future. Again we had to keep our eyes and ears open for animals, since we were right in the middle of the game reserve. But luckily we never saw a thing really.
The place where we spent most of our time working for the two weeks was the new fence enclosure. On our first visit to the enclosure there had already been fence poles put in place, and our job was to 'Stomp' or as Moses likes to say 'Shtomp'. This is where we basically took another pole and pounded it into the ground around the pole, packing in the earth/sand around it while making sure the pole remained straight. Tiring work after a while, but we managed to get them all stomped...next task...to string the fence wires. I must admit this part was my favourite...so if anyone needs a fence made (more of a farm fence for animals) I can definitely help
We had only worked in the nursery twice...but the second time was definitely a lot more eventful than the first. It was raining on this particular day, and you can't really do all that much in the rain
When we were in need of a 'break' from hard labour, Henny & Moses took us on a game count once. That was pretty cool. It was the first time for us to really be on the game reserve to look at all the different animals. We saw the typical, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildabeast, All the different 'antelope' like springbok, brizbuck, kudu, etc. and lots lots more. We also went on a couple game drives too...all in the game drive vehicles that guests would be taken in. Definitely a nice change from riding in the back of the bukky!
On the two Thursdays that we were at Kwantu, we actually went into a township in the area to serve them lunch. Kwantu does this everyweek at the same school. It was really cool to see the kids, and be able to be involved with such a good program. You could tell the kids really appreciated it, and were glad to have food in their bellies...most of the plates would come back spotless. The first time we went it was generally older kids probably ages 8 to 15 or so. But the second time we went there were a lot more younger kids, which were super cute. The girls all got us to play net ball. Which is kind of like basketball...but when you get the ball you can't move with it. It was a little confusing because we never knew which way we were shooting it seemed to change to whatever was convenient...but it was still an awesome time! One of the girls names was Leanna (not spelt like that though) so once they found out Leanne's name, they were super excited. But for the rest of the day any of us girls from Kwantu was called LEANNA! (Super cute)
Our first weekend off, we headed to Jeffrey's Bay. We had already been there before when we were at African Dawn, but it was still good to go back, and this time we were staying at a backpackers called Island Vibe. Definitely a party hostel, but still fun. It was myself, Leanne, Harriet, Alex and Kerry that went, along with Fortune who had the weekend off and came with us. We got there in the evening on Saturday, so we had the dinner they were serving there, and then Leanne and I brought out the cards and started teaching all the 'kids' drinking games. Kinda funny because we stressed how you should pace yourself while playing, like when you have to drink, just take a sip, not drink half your drink because you will get drunk! But of course they didn't listen to us. We played for quite a while (Leanne Harriet and I definitely pacing ourselves) while Alex and Kerry did not. Leanne and I were able to slip away at some point to head for bed, and left all the kiddies playing cards. It was definitely interesting to watch them all roll into the room later that night or should I say very early the next morning. The funniest definitely was Alex (boy). At one point Kerry asked him to get something that had dropped under my bed, so he crawled under and ended up falling asleep. All you could see was his legs poking out from under my bed. I let him lay there for probably half an hour until I poked him and told him I think he should get out. But he insisted he was comfortable and it was nice and cool down there. Eventually I pursuaded him to come out and he did. He would wander in and out of the room for quite some time, everytime he would come back in he'd look so lost, then he would walk around the room, using the beds as standing aids and then leave again, come back and do the same thing. In the morning nobody could find any of their things, until I pointed out they were under the bed thanks to Alex. One night, Alex literally slept with a beer. He took it to bed and ended up waking up in a bed soaked with beer...ohhh boy you're too funny! haha. We went shopping one day, most of the stores were closed unfortunately, and it was raining, but we went for lunch together and had a good day. On our last day we headed out around 10 and went into Port Elizabeth. We went shopping for a bit, we were on a mission to find Fortune his shoes he wanted...and we did. Leanne and I also wanted to make pumpkin pie for everyone seeing as it was our thanksgiving at home, and no one had ever had pumpkin pie before...but we were unable to find PUMPKIN (and some other ingredients), so we settled for making the Ward's famous Chocolate Balls...definitely a hit with everyone. I think there were probably over 100 per batch, and I think I ate 3 out of the 2 different batches, and the rest well I think Alex and Harriet consumed! Everytime you would go into the kitchen you'd find someone stuffing their mouths, or find their hands covered in icing sugar...even Fortune was caught a few times! They were quite a hit, we shared them with Henny and Odi, Moses, Kumblani, and the guys at the store for getting us free butter!
The last week we were there Shakir (the owner) set up a Brai for us (a BBQ) and we were able to help cook on the fire. It was super good...all the meat you could ever dream of, it was crazy! We had a nice dinner and chat up at the hotel, there were all us volunteers, henny, Moses, William and his son and Fortune.
LOTS MORE TO WRITE BUT THIS IS IT FOR NOW!!