Waxing ecstatic about the Pete's Pond WebCam:
Quote from an email I rec'd:
"Dear Friend of National Geographic,
These days I find myself spending more time on WildCam. It lets me escape the troubling state of the world and enjoy some tranquil moments with nature. I always feel refreshed and more hopeful.
Because I know you are a fan, I want to share a recent email from Afke, our WildCam operator at Pete’s Pond, as she describes a day on the job."
I wake up at first daylight and listen to the morning sounds of birds, Jackals and what is that... a Lion's roar! I smile, like I do every morning, because it is so wonderful to wake up in the bush. I quickly get dressed, brush my teeth and walk to the hide. I can't wait to see what's at the pond.
When I walk in, the pond is like a mirror. The trees reflect in it in such a beautiful way! There are a few impalas taking an early drink and the first guinea fowl start to arrive. I put the kettle on for rooibos tea, set the cam to daylight settings, sit down and start my working day by showing what the pond looks like this morning.
It’s busy with many beautiful birds, impalas, blue wildebeests, a jackal and elephants. Lots of elephants. With tiny babies too! They drink, take a shower, and bathe. One of the babies slips into the pond and mom carefully lifts it out while an older sister is trumpeting and kicking up dust. So much to see and show!
Around 11h30 it gets a bit quiet and I suddenly realize I haven't had my rooibos tea with rusks, nor did I have breakfast yet. As usual. I quickly make some rooibos tea and a peanut butter sandwich, run to the donkey boiler to make fire for a hot shower and go back to the cam.
The crocodile is basking ashore and a few warthogs are getting closer and closer to him. One of them is even sniffing his head! The first time the crocodile doesn't even move. The second time he slightly lifts his head and the third time he's had enough and lashes out at the warthog. In a split second the warthogs scatter and while dust settles again, the crocodile finds a comfortable spot and returns to basking.
But what is that? The warthogs are coming back! They circle around the crocodile again and one of them (the same one??) is sniffing the crocodile's tail. I am telling it to be careful, not to be so silly. But luckily nothing happens. The crocodile stays still and eventually the warthogs wander off. Phew!
The afternoon is hot and quiet. I put the cam on autopan and go to the bathroom for a shower and to do my laundry. While I'm busy there, I hear a sound... elephants! I run back to the hide and start camming.
There are more than a hundred elephants and family groups have to take turns because there is just not enough space for all of them at the pond's shoreline. What a magnificent sight! I don't know where to point the cam first and decide to show the bigger picture first, before I concentrate on the separate stories.
After they've left, I finish my laundry, have a late lunch and read for half an hour, sitting in front of my tent, listening to the birdsongs. Suddenly I see a group of banded mongoose walk in. They are chattering away and don't seem to be worried about me being there.
I slowly sit down on the sand and start making their sounds. They all stop, look at me and then... they all walk up to me! They surround me, sniff my feet, stand on their hind legs to check me out and some even rest close to me. I can't stop smiling!
After they've left, I go back to work. Animals come and go all afternoon and the sunset is stunning. Slowly the sounds change and when it's dark, we are listening to many many crickets, other insects and frogs. And listen! The jackals are singing too! Such a lovely sound.
A herd of elands arrives and I start looking for the famous female. The one that broke her jaw a few years ago. And there she is! Lapping up water and looking good. Everyone on the forum is happy to see her. The rest of the evening is quiet.
When it gets close to 22h00, I post a message on the forum saying goodnight. As I press the send button, the elephants arrive. They do that often. The second I say goodnight, they walk in. I love it!
I stay and work with the cam of course, enjoying what I see and hear. Finally all the animals have gone, except the water dikkop. I say goodnight to the viewers again, have a hot chocolate with a rusk and go to my tent.
Sleep always comes easy here, but after an hour or so, I wake up again. What sound was that?? Oh wow... I hear hyenas and jackals! I realize that the jackals’ call is the one they use when they are following one of the big predators. I just can't stay in bed. I have to check.
I walk into the hide and am just in time to see a lioness arrive. I quickly point the cam at her and we spend a few wonderful moments watching this great animal drink. Then she gets up, has a look around and calmly walks off. I am so happy to be able to be here! When I'm back in bed I still smile.