(This entry appears to be written by a plastic flamingo kinder surprise toy!)
My EHRA adventures began when a build-week weary crew rocked up in the dusty town of Uis with a chocolate craving and a curiosity for African kinder surprise toys-and there I was! I was invited to be the car mascot for patrol week and gratefully accepted, but the bloody Ausies called me Kylie! I took up my place in a car in the back of the seat, but my one-legged karate stance made it a bit hard to stay upright on the bumpy dirt roads, especially with Mathias’ erratic driving. First stop for patrol week was at an EHRA sponsored school, where we handed out donations of blankets, underwear, pens and pencils for the kids. They were so grateful and sang 3 songs for us – I’ll have to remember to tell my flock about the GROOVY song – it was awesome! It wasn’t long after that that we spotted our first ellies! They were so huge and I was at first quite scared, but thankfully I was squished into the back of the seat by the volunteers climbing onto the roof of the 4×4 to get a better view. I was most thankful as I couldn’t move my plastic wings to cover my eyes! Mamma Afrika and some bulls were the first ones we come across. It was the first time I’d seen elephants and it was amazing. You don’t come across as many on the Supermarket shelves in Uis, let me tell you! The second and third days of patrol we saw the G6 and Ugab Small herds. They came right up to the cars and rocks that we were sitting on, it was such an incredible experience. Back at the base camp now and I’ve taken pride of place on the table. I do hope other groups look after me – I am quite adventurous and can be quite fun! Just like EHRA J Even though I’ve only been with the group for a week, we all had a great laugh. Can’t wait to see what we get up to on my next adventure!
Love – Karate kicks
Kylie the Flamingo
Our two weeks are almost up and everyone is chilling out at base camp enjoying a little
R’n’ R. The breezy tree house is the perfect spot to unwind, reflect and chat about the fabulous two weeks we’ve just had. Elephant patrol – well it goes without saying how awesome it is to see the desert elephants roaming free going about their daily routine. Build week – well it seems so long ago! Despite us all being strangers at the beginning, we pulled together to achieve a near complete wall and all felt rather pleased with our hard work at the end. Memories I’ll take away with me….great people and new friends, the smell of burning ellie dung, Mattias’s laugh, bird chatter everywhere, super tasty camp dinners, superb sunsets and of course the elephants. We were lucky enough to have the G6 herd come right up to our patrol cars twice. We were within metres of them and at one point completely surrounded!
My top tips for enjoying your time at EHRA:
- You can never have too many wet wipes!
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! (Unless you like the scaly look…)
- You know it’s hot when the Mopani bees make an appearance – beware of their preference for getting up noses and ears!
- Burning elephant dung helps keep the bees at bay and actually smells quite pleasant too.
- Bring a few cold beers or ciders to enjoy at the end of the day – African sundowners are the best!
- Mattias will manage to make you look like a pony weakling with his superb boulder carrying capabilities – just accept it!
- Dry shampoo isn’t all its cracked up to be….just tie it all back or shove it under a hat and save luggage space for wet wipes!
- One set of clothes for build week is perfectly acceptable. Everybody smells as bad as each other J
- If you are sprung by goats during “bush business” beware…the farmer is usually close behind!
- The resident camp hornbill’s name is “Haratio” (Steve)…just so you know!
- Amidst the hundreds of photos you take on ellie patrol, just remember to also just sit, enjoy and immerse yourself in watching them not through the lens of a camera.
- Come with a sense of humour and lots of enthusiasm. Laugh lots and enjoy all the experiences thrown your way!
Thank you Chris, Mattias, Baron, Rachel, Victro and the rest of the EHRA team for a fab experience. EHRA rocks and I hope to come back again one day…
Big hugs, Peta xxxxx,
9-9th September 2013
As we lie asleep, the protective arms of the Anna tree embrace us, the stars above twinkling like diamond studs along the boughs. A gentle breeze rustling the leaves is the only noise.
Suddenly the cry of the pearl spotted owl interrupts the peace. Dawn is coming. I lie awake snuggled in my sleeping bag, as one by one the stars are snuffed out by the slow light of sunrise. The birds are stirring – bullbulls and starlings chatter and babblers babble – Horatio (Steve) starts cooing to his mate.
A rustle of bags and tiptoes on the staircase is followed by the clattering of pans and snapping of twigs as those on kitchen duty to get the breakfast going. A muttered curse under the breath “bloody pat’s been at the bin again!”
Sunlight seeps along the riverbed, painting the valley with hazy light. The rocks turn ochre, the leaves lime, and the branches golden. The EHRA crew comes slowly to life, fumbling for hats as tea and coffee is passed around their tree house home.
“Porridge is ready,” a voice calls. And so another day at EHRA base camp begins. Enjoy!
Cat Early (UK)
Ps. Pat is like a porcupine
19th September 2013
“Can you feel the love tonight” – to quote the i-pod? Cheesy enough to sum up this trip? Awesome – in fact “fibre glass”.
Just glad I don’t have to do another patrol week with the terrible trio – Claiirrre, Ozzy sheep type; Maureen, always beautiful despite the muddy-dust and compulsory hair-plaiting; and Liam – trainee….to be up-dated in 4 weeks! To sum up, it’s been “G.R.O…another….O.O.O…V.Y….spells groovy!” Thanks Chris! P.S – sorry…..I forgot Margarita – or shall I call you Martini – so nice to sleep next to the cleanest person in camp! P.S – English squirrels are not ugly or stupid Nathan.
Thanks again Chris! Tammy!