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Sunday July 8, 2018
Hello family and friends of GLA South Africa Super Safari, round 2 participants!
For some, it was an early arrival, but we enjoyed a morning of drinking coffee by the fire place and playing cards. Once we had breakfast and settled in, we got to know each other through a variety of games and a team building activity. The group broke the record for solving the magic hat puzzle in 12 minutes on their first attempt, and we have established who in the team will be able to out run a leopard (not any of the staff.) We ended with a buffet dinner, and most were in bed by 9pm.
Some people bought some fun hats (see photo below) and we’re now off to the Pongola Game Reserve!
Peace, love and elephants,
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Salutations and Sawabona from Pongola!
Today we woke up early at 6:30 and we had exquisite food. After conversing and further getting know our peers, we went for a stroll through the reserve and saw all types of plants and birds. After so, we went for a game drive and witnessed wild giraffes, rhinos, impala, wildebeest, etcetera. We arrived back to the lodge and had a spectacular lunch selection along with tea and delicious muffins. As the day advanced, we settled down and divided ourselves into two teams with two goals in mind.
One to identify and locate black rhinos and the other to help eradicate the invasive wild cotton plant that is harming the local game reserve. Furthermore, our next activity was to broaden out our horizons and we learnt to identify native trees and bird populations. After our dinner, we then engaged in a deep philosophical debate discussing whaling and its cultural significance to certain regions in the world. This activity empowered us to think critically and analytically about the world that we are in today. Ergo, that concludes our day.
Leaders of the day,
Donovan and Marcy
Wednesday July 11, 2018
Today was a wonderful day. In the morning, we woke up to the sounds of Africa by Toto. After a delicious breakfast, we headed to the White Elephant Museum and had an info session and discussion led by Heike about rhinos. Afterwards we headed out to the bush to remove invasive species for habitat rehabilitation which included pulling and cutting wild cotton.
After lunch and a few team building activities, most importantly an intense game of a blindfolded scavenger hunt, one group continued the service from earlier while the other went to track rhinos. On the rhino tracking expedition, we encountered zebras, giraffes, monkeys, and many other animals. Later we met back up for a dinner of mingling and friendship building and split up once again to either go on a night animal tracking drive or a scorpion tracking walk around the home base. Overall it was a super exciting day and we are enthused to be in this beautiful country!
-by Sydney and Alexa
Thursday July 12, 2018
Today was filled with fun. We began the day with snare patrol along the train tracks in the reserve and we were able to experience two trains pass us. Afterwards we went to the museum and learned about elephants. Did you know that elephants are able to show empathy towards all different types of creatures including humans?
Next we split into our groups and did bird and tree ID which was really interesting and fun. Next we enjoyed another delightful batch of muffins. We then had a very intense cook off. We created a extravagant dish of venicen stew, traditionally known as poike. The dishes were equally amazing. Don’t worry there was still a vegetarian option that was even better. Lastly we divided and concurred scorpions and creatures of the night. It was a successful day.
The overall experience of GLA drives us to consider multiple different opportunities and outlooks for life and how we can expose ourselves to a more vast variety of lively engagements. Typically we would direct ourselves to a more inverted experience but the GLA leaders gave us a different opportunity to stretch ourselves to make our creativity expand and appreciate the engagement opportunities that we have been given. We would like to think that this new experience is a target of mental and physical awareness to engage in more extravagant activities and morally to give off more positivity to everyone.
-by Jordyn and Miles
Friday July 13, 2018
Greetings from South Africa!
Today we traveled to the Somkhanda Game Reserve about forty-five minutes away. This reserve is home to the Big 5 (lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo, rhino) as well as many other African wildlife. As we entered the reserve we encountered the extremely rare African Wild Dog running along the side of the trail! In the morning, we split into two groups and went on game drives around the area. After a few hours we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a restaurant in the reserve. With full stomachs we loaded back into the Safari cars and headed back out into the bush.
Our group first learned how to use telemetry technology to track animals using radio frequency. While, the other group retrieved camera footage of animals that passed a certain area. After some terrific tea and marvelous muffins we switched roles. On the drive back to the facility our group was lucky enough to run into (almost literally) an amazing surprise! There was a rare member of the big 5 crossing the road a mere twenty feet away! Following a full day of Safari searching, we headed back to our home base to enjoy a scrumptious meal and some precious team bonding!
Signing off from South Africa,
Maria and Laura 🙂
Saturday July 15, 2018
We woke up like a normal day, not knowing what to expect about our community visit. We were expecting a nice day and an exquisite local lunch but we ended up getting much more. After short drive in the land cruiser we arrived at the community. At first we greeted everyone and they began to teach us their occupations and how to make bead bracelets.
After struggling for a long, long time, we finally managed to make bracelets and necklaces (sort of). Then we headed over to Nakutula’s (a local community member) house and had a delicious lunch. After lunch those who hadn’t finished their bracelets; did and those who had finished or had given up played football and frisbee with the local children.
Overall the day was fantastic and many of us regarded it as our best day so far. Personally, we think it was extraordinary to see how happy and innocent people are in such small communities. We had an amazing day.
Peace & chow!✌
-Erik and Adrien
Sunday July 15, 2018
On this fine Sunday, your child’s eyes awoke to the serentation of Yeezus himself (Kanye West), titled, “Good Morning”. Their mouths were also blessed with divine tea freshly brewed by the Holy Leaders of the Day (Paige and Lexi).
After they rose from their beds, jokes and quotes and new Zulu language was deposited into their bank of knowledge. Fueling their bodies with Nature’s gifts, they marched single file to a new location for habitat maintance out in the Bush.
3 hours passed until we headed back to where it all began (Home Base). Packing for the next adventure, bonding as a team, and getting to know each other even better was exhausting; we were ready for Grub (lunch). Stuffed with enough energy, going on a two-hour hike to the Bush Camp would be no biggy.
Hungry (again), we started to prepare our dinner: chicken, sausage, vegetables, and s’mores.
After our long and exhausting day, we rested by sitting around the campfire and talked even more. We’re excited to sleep under the stars and watch the fireflies, only to do it again tomorrow night.
With Love and Regards…
The Best (and kindest) Leaders of the Day,
Paige and Lexi
Monday July 16, 2018
At 6:30 we arose to a beautiful sunrise and the sound of “Hooked on a Feeling”. We ate our breakfast and headed straight to service at 8. In two groups we collected firewood and eradicated wild cotton plants. After a short break we all joined together and continued working on habitat maintenance. In the midst of our service we unfortunately lost a loved one… Stewert the mouse. We held a brief ceremony and continued on our way. Along the journey we learned a game (Jordyn is currently the reigning champion). After our return we made lunch, had a siesta, and played a few games. After our scrumptious dinner of beans, chicken, and grilled bananas we got to know each other even more with the sharing of stories around the camp fire. With the last day of sleeping under the stars coming to an end, we feel closer than ever.
Aliera & Lexi
Tuesday July 17, 2018
Yesterday was a busy day. Waking up in the Bush Camp, we quickly packed up to head back to Home Base on a game drive vehicle. Even though it was our last day of Habitat Maintenance, our exposure to preserving the local ecosystem didn’t stop. Heike, one of the many intellectual White Elephant Safari guides, showed us a very interesting BBC documentary about elephant translocation from Kruger National Park to Pongolapoort Game Reserve, where we’re staying. Afterwards we played a game called Magnetic Feet. The rules consisted of standing side to side and keeping our feet together whilst moving forward without detaching our feet. The game took us over an hour to complete! We then watched a presentation on how to make a difference in our world, which was led by Ash Hastings, one of our extraordinary mentors. The rest of the night was spent packing. It was our last night in Pongola since the next morning we had to travel to Kosi Bay.
With excitement for our next journey,
-Marcy and Paige
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Today we left White Elephant for Kosi Bay. We settled in and had lunch followed by a hole to the beach. A local fisherman demonstrated sustainable fishing with traps and we had the opportunity to try spear fishing. We then completed our swim tests and went to play in the ocean. It was a fun day and we are super excited for more activities in Kosi Bay!
-by Sydney + Alexa
Thursday July 19, 2018
Today was a very fun filled day. We started it off by waking up an hour later than usual which was an amazing way to start the day. We then had our normal morning with chow circle and breakfast. Afterwards we headed off on our first adventure of the day. We split into 2 groups one group went snorkeling and the other group went kayaking. We then switched. Both activities were tons of fun. We Then had lunch on the beach and had free time. We all chilled, tanned, danced, played games, and had a photo shoot. Today was definitely a success.
Jordyn and Adrien
What’s cookin’ good lookin’
Today was sadly our last full day together on this program. We woke up early to eat a delicious breakfast before heading out on our 10km hike! During the wonderful hike, we were lucky enough to trek through five different ecosystems.
The last part of the hike was quite challenging, as we were faced with a steep sand dune to climb! Luckily, we all pushed through and were rewarded with a breathtaking view! After running around the sand, we spend many hours taking pictures and enjoying our last few hours in the Indian Ocean! We had one final chow circle and an amazing dinner together, and then concluded the night with a talent show! Our last day together was nothing less than incredible!
On behalf of all of us we want to thank everyone that made this experience possible! All the parents, mentors, staff, and guides who made the past two weeks the best two weeks of our lives. South Africa was definitely a trip like no other!
For one last time,
Salakahle (Goodbye) & Lalakahle (Goodnight),
Maria and Laura