Finally in the Karoo
Karoo was the first stop of three on our trip. Its a semi-arid area and essentially a desert. It was rather cold during the night, ended up sleeping in my sleeping bag!
The sunrise/sunsets were beautiful! and the nights sky was even more spectacular. Being 40km away from the closest town, there's next to no light pollution so the nights sky is glistening with thousands more stars. I was surprised at how many satellites are up there and how many can be seen gliding between the stars.
Our first close sighting of wildlife. Above is a Steenbok; a small antelope. They have large ears for how small they are.This individual was actually pregnant.
Some views around the reserve and at camp.
Doesn't really show up in the picture but on this one walk on our break we attracted tons of these tiny flies.
Above: A mantid nymph. I spotted many of them running from plant to plant.
A blackwinged stilt in the dam.
For one of my modules I had to learn animal tracks. The track in the photo above is a baboon, one of the easiest as it has a significant resemblance to our own.
Outside of one of the buildings at camp, was a paving slab, under it was this scorpion. When it was dark, shining a UV torch on it, you can see markings on it.
Down the Shooting Range and Firearm Safety
Off to the shooting range we went. We had a morning of firearm safety first and then got to go and do some shooting for ourselves. on the trip we obviously didn't carry firearms with us. However our guides did. This is purely for the safety of the group and is the last option. If an animal charges at you, shooting it is the last option. You stand your ground, try to look as big as possible and shout as loud and as foul language as possible. This is to show that you're not afraid of them and swearing and shouting is aggressive. Most animals will back off, however if they do not then a warning shot is fired in its direction away from any animals. Shooting an animal is ALWAYS the last thing you want to do. After all its usually only protecting itself or its cubs/young. A Rhino is something you dont want to run into on foot. Even if they charge at you, in South Africa anyway, no one can shoot it. like my guide said 'there are seven billion of you on the earth and only a few thousand of them'.
Thw worst thing to do encountering any dangerous game is to run away. Food runs. Things that are scared run. Stand your ground and whatever you do; DON'T RUN!
Above: The guys strange creature they made for target practice.
We did firearm safety and shooting at the shooting range so that we understand the safety of being around somebody with firearms and also to understand how they work and to make us feel more at ease being around them.
Above: A pale chanting goshawk perched at the top of a tree. These were a common sight to see flying above our head, looking for prey. We didn't often see them stationary.
The track back to camp....