African adventure at Mount Camdeboo

Travel and Environmental Journalism – June 2019

My time at Mount Camdeboo game reserve was definitely my favorite part of my experience in Africa. The employees at the house were so kind and caring. The facility was super nice. The food, also amazing.

The best part of the reserve, though, was of course the animals. On our second day of game drives, we saw everything we wanted: elephants, zebras, jackals, giraffes, kudu, wildebeest, oryx, and even an aardvark.

The morning drive we focused on finding the elephants. There were five elephants total on the reserve, who were actually just introduced to the land back in May. They had been translocated from a place that was completely flat. Obviously, Mount Camdeboo is not flat; it’s full of mountainous terrain. Strangely enough, the elephants have been hiking up and down the mountains. We caught sight of them from above returning downward from a morning hike. We had to be quiet and respectful, as the elephants are still getting used to vehicles and humans. They have amazing hearing and sense of smell, so they definitely knew we were around.

We watched them from a far distance for an hour or so. Finally, we followed the road and approached closer. We got a fantastic view of them eating some trees. One of the babies attempted to feed from its mother, but the mother was not in the mood, so she trumpeted at him to chill. We then watched as one of the younger females gave herself a mud bath. Elephants are some very fascinating creatures.

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We then had another delicious meal for lunch before heading out for the best drive of them all, where we saw the remaining animals I have listed above. We also got to watch the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen over the fantastic Mount Camdeboo landscape.

I could’ve stayed in that moment forever.

Unfortunately, I could not. We had one final amazing dinner (chicken pot pie) and hung out in the house for photo student Kyle’s birthday. I have posted some of Kyle’s amazing cheetah shots from the first day below. Ben, another photo student, spent some time that night to work on his astrophotography. The results are some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen, also shown below.

On the last day, I got to interview the owner of of the reserve, Iain Buchanan, about the release of the lions. He was one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and probably owns the most land of anyone I know, as well. He educated us so much on the reserve and environmental conservation. He had such a positive attitude towards life and the Earth that was contagious to everyone around. Iain stayed with us over breakfast, and his wife even came with their baby! We saw a lot of cute animals on the reserve, but Iain’s baby was for sure the cutest.

We then had to say some very sad goodbyes to the employees, guides, and Iain’s family. The land was very hard to leave. I told everyone there that I would come back with my family as soon as possible. I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to come to Africa, but when I do, Mount Camdeboo will be my priority.

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