Wow! A short but powerful word to describe my experience at Ulovane so far. It’s barely the end of Week 2 and it already feels like it has been more like a month of experiences and I’m so much looking forward to the weeks to come. The encounters you have kind of make you lose track of time. I tend to get lost in the beauty of nature, you think you’re taking a picture, but in the end, it’s actually nature that captures you with its beauty and magnificence.
Nature, a system so intricately designed, no help or assistance is needed in any way for her to continue flourishing on her own. The silence creates a whole new perspective, especially if you are used to the busy city life where there generally is never a quiet moment.
This week has been filled with lots of knowledge and awesome encounters with various animals, but nothing has exceeded the excitement I had, when heading towards a sighting, seeing the majestic giraffe, which was walking very close by in a herd, busy eating. Bending with their long necks, they still kept an inquisitive eye on us, in the same way, we were admiring them, thereafter passing us in very close proximity, minding their own business. Strolling with long legs in such an elegant way, you would never imagine they would be able to walk so easily with such long legs, but nature always has a way of amazing me. The excitement didn’t stop there, it just amplified, to our right we could see a mother rhino with her little baby, grazing, very aware of us and protective of her calf, who was rather curious, as little ones are. The rhino kept moving in such a manner as to cover her young, keeping her safe, as a mother should. They passed by our vehicle towards other feeding grounds, so close it was hard for me to grasp that my eyes had a better view than my camera could ever have. This was really an amazing sighting. Never did I expect to see these animals so close by, together on the same plains, wildebeest to be found in the background, with a sighting of a sly, black-backed jackal not too far off either. Something you would generally see on TV, we experienced first-hand. What not to say about what we will see in the coming weeks, this had me very ecstatic.
I had my first experience of driving a rather big intimidating vehicle called Theodore, which after all wasn’t so much of a beast as I had thought, providing smooth riding through the bush on a game drive. Something spectacular could be found in every moment, one of these was an amazing view of a sunset on our way back from a day drive, which people would say is mostly overrated, but I’m sure they haven’t seen one in a natural environment with no buildings, roads, and cars. I haven’t until now, that’s as much as I can say, it changed its whole aura of it.
Monkeys are always to be found around the lodge, but one mischievous monkey caught me off guard, suddenly running out of the lodge as I was making my entrance into the building. He had made himself home and taken a piece of bread and not the whole thing, so considerate. A very early morning study routine turned out to be the perfect timing to hear the king of the jungle, obviously the lion, testing out his vocal cords with deep long roars. Something that I would prefer not to explain in words, but advise anyone to experience themselves. This is but only a small view of many events I had experienced in this short time.
Being here has taught me so much in a short period of time, especially punctuality, which wasn’t really one of my strongest points. Everything needs to be done on time for a system to function properly. Everyone has their own role to play in a bigger system. My fellow field guide and trail guide peers from all around the world have definitely taught me a lot about different cultures and ways of living. They also helped me to expand my vocabulary which I thought was rather good, but I soon learned there is always room for improvement, a saying that can be applied to anything in life. I’m very excited and looking forward to the weeks to come. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn and great experiences that lay ahead of us.
There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.—Charlotte Eriksson