Kruger National Park | September 2020

The 15th of September was my first day back at work after five and a half months off site. During the lockdown period, I was missing our daily routine of doing the morning and afternoon game drives with our beloved guests from different parts of the world. On the first day back, we had a morning meeting with all staff and it was very interesting to see everyone with masks on their faces, which I have never experienced before at the lodge.  We were reminded to always stick to the Covid 19 rules and protocols.

Just after the morning meeting, I took one of the game viewers to go out onto our concession to do some bush clearing. I was amazed to be back in the bush again. My wish during lockdown was to experience springtime, back in nature, as I have never missed it since I’ve started working as a guide. To me, it is one of my favourite times in the bush because the vegetation is sparse, yet signs of regrowth is starting to show. The weather in spring is very enjoyable, as the temperatures are mild (not too hot, or too cold).

While driving, I saw some of the trees coming into new leaf or bloom, contrasting strongly against the dry landscape.  Trees like weeping boer bean, tree wisteria and sjambok pod are some of the first to start blooming in spring, and is something I would never want to miss. When they bloom, we are reminded that the time for migrant birds to return is here, and that we will be spending lots of time birding, trying to spot the new arrivals.

I was working in the area of Gudzane Dam, cutting branches away from the road. I saw lots of animals in my first hour, and it was different not being able to share the experience with someone else, and being alone in the bush. I was fortunate to see herds of elephant, as well as a large breeding herd of buffalos that came down to the dam to drink. My time there was amazing and I felt that I really connected with Mother Nature. I was so grateful to be able to spend time watching the animals.  Even though Covid 19 has changed so much in the world and the guiding industry, it was good to see that the natural cycles still remain the same.

A sjambok pod tree in flower. Photo by Margaux le Roux.