I grew up on a coastal farm in Central Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, so a love of the outdoors was in my blood from birth. I have joined the WE team coming from a media and television post production background recently working in London.
Arriving into the Tswalu game reserve on the first day was worth the trip from Europe alone. Flying from Johannesburg to the Kalahari the land looked to be mostly flat farmland, but suddenly as we neared Tswalu the beautiful ranges came into view, and I was surprised to see so much green. There had been recent heavy rains which is a blessing for the animals and will be a bit of a curse for us trying to find 12 inch Meerkats amongst the long grass.
|Me watching the lovely and very round Cleo|
|A king cricket in our room|
Working at ground level with the Meerkats is giving me an appreciation for life in the shadow of giants, and in a place like Africa it is very easy to feel pretty small. Each day in the bush there always seems to be a new surprise or memorable experience if you keep your eyes out for the little things - from adorable bat eared foxes at night time, to a desert tortoise making its way from shade to shade, even the insects are full of colour and character.
Having come from living in the Spanish island of Fuerteventura for a year, I am very familiar with a siesta way of life, and the Meerkats here are no different. Regular breaks are taken during the heat of the day, and when they head for their burrows we head for the nearest shade. If you can stay awake despite the heat, it is a great way to have unique close encounters where both man and beast share a few moments each with a surprised stare. Luckily for us Tswalu has 2 separate areas of the reserve and we are not in the lion section - as I hope to avoid close encounters with large fangs of any kind :)
|Some of the Gosa Meerkat gang sunning themselves|
I will try and blog again soon, - Paul