company

9 Dec 2011

 

It took Robinson Crusoe something like 26 years to discover he was not alone on his island. It happened to me much sooner.

Kris and Leah are Canadian wildlife biologists who are studying predator populations in the Limpopo Parque Nacional. They have been here for three months with backing from the University of Pretoria and a few other organizations.

They are both wilderness veterans who have spent years venturing into really remote parts of the Yukon and places like Tanzania and the jungle of Central America. Before they studied wildlife biology they also owned and ran a wilderness trail business in Canada that took clients far into the frozen north on dogsled, horseback, canoe or hiking expeditions.

Here in Mozambique they set up camp in a remote, waterless part of the park with their tenyearold daughter Eden (who’s been a bushbaby almost all her life) and their specialist scatfinder dog Asar.

It hasn’t been easy for them. Logistical challenges took up much of their time, which was already stretched through the difficulty of getting around to place and monitor the infrared cameras that they use to get an idea of the numbers and movements of lion, cheetah and wild dog. Some of their cameras have been stolen, presumably by poachers who are opposed to surveillance, and they have also suffered a road accident. The final blow came when they arrived home one day to find their camp ransacked and robbed by people from Chimangue village who had chanced upon it.

They were in quite a dejected mood when I happened to meet them on the road, and gratefully accepted my offer to move their base to the comparative safety and luxury of my riverside camp. Their tent and trailer is now pitched in a lovely shady spot on the riverbank on the perimeter of camp, much to the surprise of an elephant bull who almost walked into it last night.

Although I don’t expect to see much of them with all their coming and going, things should hopefully now be easier for them and my island a little less lonesome for me.

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4 thoughts on “company

  1. Wow! What a life choice! Good on them! I wonder whereabouts in Canada they’re from… I spent some time living in British Columbia – including a year at Whistler Ski Resort, which I loved. A far cry indeed from the African bundu!
    xxx

  2. Howdy! Jemig man, wat een mooi verhaal, je schrijft het op een manier alsof ik er bij was. Prachtig, maar inderdaad een huge moment for all the wrong reasons!! Leuk ook om over Jan te lezen. Ik heb zijn boek (I have a signed copy!) gelezen en zijn verhaal leest als een spannend jongensboek. En net als ik jaloers ben op jou en alles wat je doet, ben ik jaloers op Jan. Ik denk soms wel eens dat ik in de verkeerde tijd en op het verkeerde continent geboren ben!!! Ik heb Woensdag 2 tickets naar Windhoek geboekt; in Mei ga ik naar Jan om GB het Afrikaanse veld te laten zien, voelen en proeven. En weet je hoe dat komt? Een goede vriend van me heeft mijn jongens de afrikakoorts bezorgd!!! Dank je! Take care, Peter (a.k.a. LBA)

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