28 hours and an unprinted VISA later (mentioning no names, but it was Gigi..), we finally arrived at Oana Flora & Fauna. The journey was a bumpy one and after being told the camp was around the next corner, at least 7 times (I reckon), we were welcomed into a very dark base camp.
Waking up to such an incredible view on day 2 and being briefed about the month ahead by our pretty cool hosts – Andrea and Red, definitely made the journey worthwhile and made us excited for the days to come. After a relaxing morning getting used to camp life, we headed off to set up some camera traps, to hopefully catch some leopard action with the help of none other than Chanel No.5. Finishing the day with sunset beers on ‘the saddle’ was the perfect ending to our introduction of the trip.
Day 3. What felt like a very early start we began our first game drive. Imy S was nominated chief game spotter and this was possibly the moment where Ivo (aka Blue) realised he had found his one and only true love – Red. The afternoon was a mystery with Red telling us we were receiving our ‘babies’, these were our very own trees which we will care for and attempt to grow during the next month. Imi G and Emily have called theirs Patrick and have treated him like one of the family.
On day 4 the manual labour kicked in. We made a new track by clearing rocks so the car can reach a new destination, which was oddly satisfying. George and Magnus got straight on it, heading up the demolition team. George is now known as a “pike wizard” and Magnus, “sledgehammer beast”.
Day 5 & 6. The two day canyon hike was upon us. We got off to a good start, with Ralph whipping out jokes left, right and centre, mainly about his “cracking booty”. After a few shade breaks, food stops and the birth of ‘Lucifer’ (George’s staff), we eventually came across our camp site for the night by the Orange River and without wasting any time we jumped straight into the river to cool down and cover ourselves in mud. Practically at the spa. A game of ‘two truths one lie’ kicked in by the fire when the evening hit and Karine and Sal were not so surprisingly, bad at lying. The morning was a relaxing one and we began our way back late afternoon. Showers and camp beds had never felt so good that evening.
Today we began Permaculture across the camp and visited the local community in the afternoon. Football, Rugby, Netball and a lot of singing and dancing was involved and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The kids could run laps around all of us and most definitely dance better than our whole group put together. Although Hayley seemed to bust out a few moves we didn’t know she had.
Millie & the team