HESC STUDENT PROGRAMME – FINAL BLOG UPDATE: 14 JULY 2014

At the elephant back safariAt the elephant back safari

Last week, four new students arrived at the Centre to join our group. They are Victoire Laurier and Paul Laurier from France, and Nicola and Patric Murray from England.

The past two weeks were filled with so many activities, including:

We made quite a number of visits to the vet. One of the cheetahs was ill, so we took her to the nearby town (Hoedspruit) to the vet’s office so that he could take x-rays. The vet also came to the Centre so that he could clean and change the cast on a rhino cow whose horn had been taken off in a poaching incident. One of the black-footed cats was also taken to the vet’s office because of a kidney disease. Another one of the cheetahs also had to be examined by the vet as she wasn’t eating.

Assisting with the treatment of a poached rhinoAssisting with the treatment of a poached rhino

Learning some snake-handling skills at the reptile parkLearning some snake-handling skills at the reptile park

Making breakfast at the Kruger National ParkMaking breakfast at the Kruger National Park

We visited the Khamai Reptile Centre and were able to touch and hold a python. On one Saturday, we woke up really early (at 4:30am!) to go to the Kruger National Park and have a full-day safari. We saw four of the big 5 – we missed the leopard!

Learning at ProtrackLearning at Protrack

We also visited Protrack Anti-poaching Unit and learned all about their training sessions and how they work to protect wild animals. We all agreed that everyone should know more about what they do!

Last Thursday, we went to Camp Jabulani for an elephant back safari and to meet Sebakwe, the famous elephant that is pictured on the Amarula bottle!

Paul Laurier and Patrick Murray help the children at Paulos Ngobeni School to plant treesPaul Laurier and Patrick Murray help the children at Paulos Ngobeni School to plant trees

We also did our 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela Day. The Centre bought 50 fruit trees that were donated to the Paulos Ngobeni Primary School. We went to plant the trees, which was hard work! We all played football with the children and were delighted to see how happy they were! In gratitude for the Centre’s ongoing support for helping to develop the school and their awareness for nature, the children entertained us in song and dance.

On our last butchery day, we were given a task to “Frontline” the cheetahs (tick and flea prevention), and it made us glad that the Centre had confidence in us!

To end the three weeks, some of us went to the airstrip for a micro-lighting safari experience; and enjoyed the sight of hippos, elephants, giraffes, kudu, buffalo and the most amazing aerial view of a hyena devouring an impala’s carcass!

Sitting around the campfireSitting around the campfire

Our last mission at HESC was to survive ‘in the bush’ – aka Nungu Camp. We drove through Kapama to identify plants and then various animals. We struggled to build a proper fire but succeeded after 30 minutes of gathering the right amount of dry grass and wood. Later on we made dinner for our group and three of the tour guides: Andre, Heinrich and Renier. We played Beerpong, and tried to make popcorn on the fire as we celebrated the end of our South African experience.

We all had an amazing time here and will never forget all the wonderful experiences we shared. We are forever grateful to Tabs and Karen for everything they’ve done for us, as well as the guides and management for making us feel so welcome!

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