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The game count we did in the Wild West sector on Sunday was much more successful than the Gemsbok study at the start of last week as we saw Gemsbok, Springbok and Red hearted beast. Half way through the game count we decided to climb a mountain called Jenga to see if we could spot anything from the top. We couldn’t, so we spent the time up there basking in the sun and talking about whether a Great White would win in a fight against a Grizzly bear. When we got back to camp, everyone, except Katie and I, decided to have a volleyball game; Max, Minty, Jonty, Will Gray and Dre on one team, Hamish, Hayden, Welles, Beth and Red on the other. As the game was finishing, a Horologist, named Francois, from Nankuse arrived to teach us about the native snakes and lizards, with three of the students from the research project. After introductions, the group decided that another extremely competitive volleyball game was required, this time for drinks. By the time Dre’s team lost, the sun had just set, so we all set out on a night walk around camp, looking for snakes and lizards. Will Gray found a Cape Coral shield cobra almost immediately, then one of the volunteers from Nankuse found a shoveled nosed snake and others found two geckos.

The next morning while it was still cold, Francois decided that it was a good time for him to photograph the Shoveled nosed snake. The cape cobra was too agitated to take photos of, despite the cold, so we left him in the bucket. Once the snakes were back in their buckets, we all set out to the planes behind camp to see if we could find any snakes or lizards. After a few near misses, we came back for lunch empty-handed. That afternoon, we headed up different mountains around camp, hopeful we would find snakes or lizards. Just as everyone was about to give up, Will Gray yelled that Hamish had found a snake, so we all went running to the other side of the mountain to get a look at it. By the time we got around the side of the mountain, Hamish had realized that it wasn’t a snake after all; only a lizard that Francois identified as a flat lizard. That night, everyone, except Katie, Dre and I, set out on another night walk on the planes behind camp in search of lizards and snakes, and came back an hour later with two geckos

On Tuesday morning, we packed up the truck and headed back onto the planes behind camp to set up two pitfall traps – one on the open planes, the other in a more vegetated section – in the hopes that we could catch something. Once they’d been set up, we left them while we came back to camp for lunch and a highly competitive volleyball game for drinks once again. After Dre’s team lost again, we headed back to check the first trap, and found only insects. We went to check the second trap and after finding only a spider, Hamish, Hayden and Will Gray headed back to camp to start cooking dinner, while the rest of headed up the mountains either side of the second trap in search of snakes and lizards. When the sun had set, and we hadn’t found anything, we headed back to camp to eat the lasagna that Hamish, Hayden and Will Gray had made for us. Francois and his volunteers headed back out later that night search for snakes and lizards.

The next morning, we went to check the traps then headed into the mountains, and up El Donio, looking for snakes and lizards. As we drove around, we saw a lot of game – Springbok, Eli, Rock Hyrax and Klipspringer – but spotted no snakes or lizards. After our climb up El Donio, and we ate lunch at the bottom of the mountains, we headed into the forest section, where we had found two horned adders before. We only found one snake on that hunt, but unfortunately lost it in some rocks, so we headed back to camp and started cooking the braai.

Thursday morning, Francois and his volunteers left early, so we had a relaxed morning, just reading and messing around. Katie and I helped Monica make some pot bread, then we helped Dre make lunch. Once it had cooled down enough, everyone, bar Katie and I, headed out to do mountain biking.

The next morning, we headed back to the Whale Back sector to continue taking down the old boundary fencing. It was a very hot day, so at one we stopped working and had a snack in the minimal shade the truck had, then carried on for an hour until it was too hot to carry on, so we headed back to camp. After we ate lunch, everyone sat in the octopus in a vegetated state due to the heat being almost unbearable. One by one, we headed for a cold shower, which turned out to be a very warm one as the sun had warmed the water in the tank to the point of it being a hot shower. When the weather had cooled down to an acceptable level, everyone decided to have another volleyball game, which Dre’s team lost once more.

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