Student Blog: 14 July 2015

Last week, four new students arrived at the Centre to join our group! This includes Victoire Laurier and Paul Laurier from France and Nicola Murray and Patric Murray from England.
The past two weeks were filled with so many activities!
We got to see the vet a lot. One of the cheetahs was ill, so we took her to the nearby town (Hoedspruit) to the vet’s office so that we could take x-rays. The vet also came to the Centre so that he could clean and change the cast from 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 cheetah was seen by the vet because she was not eating anymore and had to be examined.
We went to the 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 – just missing the leopard!
We also visited Protrack Anti-poaching Unit and learned all about their training sessions and how they worked to protect wild animals. We all agreed that everyone should know about their work!
Last Thursday, we went to Camp Jabulani to do an elephant safari and meet the famous elephant that is pictured on the Amarula bottle!
We also did our 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela Day. The Centre bought 50 fruit trees that were donated to the 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 in helping to develop the school and their awareness for nature, the children sang and danced for us.
On our last butchery day, we were given the job to Frontline the cheetahs and we were 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 viewings of a hyena devouring an impala’s carcass!
Out 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, tried to make popcorn on the fire ad 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 everything they have done for us, as well as the guides and management for making us feel so welcome!