June 1: “Nature” *sigh*

The sunset drive tonight was made entertaining by the fact that my two guests didn’t understand English. And yet somehow, through the charming gift of ridiculous hand motions, we managed to discuss in great detail (at their request) the entire life cycle and survival challenges faced by Camel Thorn Trees in arid environments.  It was so much fun! You really must try it for yourself. Hold your hands in front of you. Do it now. Now with them, explain the following:

  1. Seeds germinate better when they pass through an animal’s digestion system first
  2. Seed pods are comprised of 17% protein
  3. The seeds themselves contain 33% protein
  4. In winter when grasses die off, pods become even more important as a food source
  5. Because there’s so much competition for limited resources, the trees are fairly spaced out (not spaced out like ‘just-been-to-the-dentist’ spaced out)
  6. Young trees rely heavily on precious rainwater until their roots can grow deep enough
  7. And their roots can grow down to about 40 meters to reach underground water
  8. They hit their maximum potential at 100 years old
  9. At 100, a big tree will drop 500kgs of seed pods each year
  10. Camel Thorn Trees can live to be 300 years old
  11. Even after they die, a Camel Thorn will remain standing for hundreds of years
  12. They achieve this because of their really solid, termite-resistant wood
  13. It has ‘protected’ status
  14. So it’s totally illegal/uncool to use it as firewood

We all spent most of the exchange laughing, but between the episodes of uncontrolled laughter, I think I did a pretty good job getting the facts across with my hands. The guests had such a genuine interest in everything and kept asking more and more questions by pointing at stuff and gesturing.  One of the only words we had in common was ‘nature’. Only it was spoken with a huge amount of awe and a hand over the heart. ‘Nature’. Love. So the whole drive was a blast! Just for fun, i’d recommend booking a safari with me and then pretending you don’t understand English.

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Camel Thorn Pods (Acacia erioloba)

Sunset Drive Sightings:

Hoopooe
Crimson Breasted Shrike
Giraffe
Steenbok
White Backed Vulture
Kori Bustard
Jackal
African Wild Cat
Bat Eared Fox
Wildebeest
Gemsbok
Springbok

On the night drive tonight, we were looking for lions. I had the same fantastic guests i’d had last night and they were yet to see any Kalahari Lions. So I made it my mission. But I couldn’t find a trace of them anywhere. No tracks, no sounds, no smells (lions can smell terrible) and no stressed out giraffes. I did happen across a kill down a back alley, but it was several days old and the only animals still picking at it were a jackal and rather interestingly, a Wild Cat.

Night Drive Sightings

Spotted Eagle Owl
Barn Owl
Giraffe
Springhare
Scrub Hare
Bat Eared Fox
African Wild Cat
Jackal
Wildebeest
Gemsbok
Springbok

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