The first batch of goodies is ready for delivery to the crèche. I will make a visit soon after the school holidays are finished.
They will get tables, crayons, paper, some educational toys, balls, a large trash container and plastic boxes to store everything in. Thanks to Michelle from Outtheredesign I got nice INKANYISO CRÈCHE labels on everything. Michelle and I have also created 11 baby animal posters with names in isiZulu and in English.
Thanks to the generosity of so many of you I will be able to continue to help with some more things for them for a while. My next project is some ‘outside playground setup’ and more educational toys. I will keep you updated.
This week I visited Ndumo Game Reserve for the first time. With its 10,000 ha it is located directly at the Usuthu river on the South Africa / Mozambique border.
I just wanted to get a first impression during this day visit, but I will certainly be back for a few days of bird photography.
Here is a little summary of my Ndumo visit:
I think the best way to experience Ndumo is by booking guided walks and guided drives as one is not allowed to walk on the reserve (they have Buffalo and Hippo). The the really good bird-photography-spots cannot be reached by self-drive. Currently their game drive vehicle is out of service, but the guides are happy to go along in your car. You sould have an SUV (high clearance) to drive the roads in comfort and without damaging your car. A 4×4 is not required during the dry season.
My guide Josef and me walking 🙂 at Shokwe Pan.
I will book at least four such walks/drives during my next visit:
1 – Sand Forest Walk (morning or afternoon)
2 – Pongola River Walk (morning)
3 – Nyamithi Pan North-Shore-Drive (morning)
4 – Shokwe Pan Walk (morning or afternoon)
I did the last two midday, which is obviously not ideal for birding, but it was enjoyable and I got a few good pictures (see below).
The Ezulweni Hide on the south/east side of the Nyamithi Pan (there is only one hide on the reserve) was rather disappointing as it is set too far east on the pan. During normal winter conditions there is no water in front of the hide and most of the photo targets are too far away for good shots.
The Red Cliffs picnic area has a beautiful view of the river and is worth visiting.
Most of the reserve has very thick vegetation. Therefore mammal sightings (general game) are not very good and usually brief.
Conclusion: I will be back and I can recommend the place for any bird lovers. I recommend that ‘regular game drivers’ and mammal enthusiasts go somewhere else (Huluwe-Imfolozi, Tembe, iSimangaliso, Mkuze, Ithala, …).
And here are a few pictures …
Please let me know if you have any questions or additional comments.
This week I visited a crèche for small children in one of Thanda’s neighboring communities.
With the help of some guests’ donations Thanda Safari has built this little school house, provided a water tank, got the material for a fence and the materials to complete the interior.
The crèche is located in one of the poorest areas of Zululand.
I was tasked to take some pictures with camera and drone to document the development progress.
I had not been there before.
At the crèche two volunteer teachers look after around 30 2-4 year old kids every morning for three hours.
When I saw the place in grey with no color, no toys, no teaching materials, no tables , no … I made a decision:
In the next few weeks I will personally get them some materials for teaching, some toys and whatever else I can afford to buy. I will not give them money (as I am afraid that would end in the wrong pockets), but I will buy them things they need.
Some of my friends have already promised me to help with useful materials they got or to help me with money donations to buy stuff.
If any of you – wherever you live in the world – would like to help with a little donation (or not so little 🙂 then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I have bank accounts in Europe, USA and South Africa and I also have a PayPal account. So transferring any funds would be simple and would not cost a lot. Even the smallest contribution will be very much appreciated.
Be assured that 100% of whatever is donated will be used to buy things for the crèche.
I will post regularly pictures on my social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) and on my blog.
In the great scheme of things this neither big or important, but I hope it will make a difference to these children, their teachers and their parents.
PS: When I (a huge, bearded white man) stepped into the small classroom most of the children started crying. I was a bit puzzled until one of the teachers told me that some of the kids thought I was a doctor coming with inoculations :-). I had – wisely – bought a little drink, an apple and a small snack for each child which I gave to each of them. That calmed them down immediately.
But I really won them over when I flew the drone. They loved it and demanded many take-offs and landings. There were many friendly shouts of good-bye when I left. Modern technology can help in many ways 🙂