Thanda Lifestyle...

“Look deep into nature, & then you will understand everything better.”
~Albert Einstein

Sunset Time Over in Mduna
Here I am after a long & length journey to South Africa. I find my days being spent out on the Thanda Private Game Reserve working on a wildlife photography conservation project with African Impact’s Thanda Project and living at the Ulwazi Lodge as its home base. I’m in the bush working extremely long days, meeting some cool people from all over the world, photographing the wildlife & living without the internet in the traditional sense. Thanda is a beautiful private park that is aiming to become a natural park. Browns & greens tend to be the color variations that I see these days lacking the ocean since I’m inland from the coast that’s just a wee bit over an hour away. Khaki is the new black, with wearing dark colors to blend in with the scenery. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest on what I would actually be doing. For my first week, I’ve been in an intensive photography workshop class relearning everything under the sun that I already learnt about photography all over again. It’s been quite good actually for the review; reteaching myself techniques that have been stuck in back memory. It’s been fab to see a herd of elephants out in the distance, a pride of lions, cheetahs, monkeys, blue wildebeest, giraffes, impala, kudu, nyala, warthogs & zebras. Absolutely stellar to see the animals in their natural habitat rather than going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom or a local zoo.
An Elephant's Eye
From orientation, I learnt that Thanda is located in the heart of the Zulu kingdom.  I have learnt some basic phrases too as with the aims & goals of African Impact’s projects in the region. Bush safety was also taught with basic first aid out in the wilderness that is a wee bit different. You never know what to expect at all hours & best to use a torch at night to see the eyes of the wildlife incase of a close encounter. Basically, the best response is to stand still & wait for it to pass before going ahead.  Drinking water is very important. It’s very hot here for summer time & it reminds me of Australia with how strong the sun is, its best to keep hydrated. Also, with my accommodations, I’m pretty much camping, sleeping under a mosquito net to keep the geckos from pooing on me in my sleep. However, it’s very important to conserve water with very quick showers & to have a bucket in the shower to catch the water to reuse it in the toilet to flush it. It’s all about conservation & implanting good practices for survival.
My days tend to blend it all at once, like my long days on the ship. Time means nothing to me these days, I couldn’t tell you what time it is or what day it is. It’s all about the moment, embracing it & seeing what it brings! Honestly, watching the wildlife reminds me of being back in the Galapagos where you just have to have a wee bit of patience & the wildlife will come to you. There’s no telling what will happen. This beats watching many documentaries on The National Geographic or Animal Planet channels. I’ve been eating very well here at the Ulwazi Lodge. I’m grateful that they are very warm & welcoming all of the staff. In particular the kitchen with my crazy special diet needs. I’ve tried some traditional South African fair along with some lovely vegetarian curries. There’s something special with that proper dirty curry. The portion sizes are huge, but got to have the energy to survive the long days & the heat.

“When you start enjoying food with lovely people in different places on different occasions, you end up with a meaningful snapshot that you’ll remember forever”
~Jamie Oliver

Border Crossing From Mozambique into South Africa
After an insanely busy week, I went with some of my African Impact friends for a wee bit of a border crossing north to Mozambique for the weekend. It was about a little over three hours to get to Ponta Do Ouro, a lovely costal town on the Indian Ocean. It was easy peasy crossing the border of Kosi Bay, South Africa & Ponta D’Ouro, Mozambique. Basically, I just walked across a dirt road from one passport control to the other. We then headed in a couple of SUV’s down long & windy sand dunes to the seaside town. The ride reminded me of the time that I was with my friend & her sister’s family going 4 wheeling outside of Perth. Ah, it was nice to see another country & a change of scenery. Well deserve some R&R, “creative downtime” getting to know all of my new friends on a much better level. As it turns out we have more in common than we thought.  The time spent was well worth it. I basically, just chilled out in Ponta Do Ouro at a lovely apt accommodation at one of the resorts overlooking the Indian Ocean. The beach was calling me to go swimming back in the Indian Ocean; it had been many moons since I was last in it. The ocean was very warm too with some nice surf. I did enjoyed eating loads of fresh seafood & wandering the dirt streets. In a way the coastal town reminded me of Jaco, Costa Rico & Utila, Honduras. I guess it was the laid back beach style vibe. I did go snorkeling with The Dolphin Center on one of the mornings. I was a wee bit disappointed for not actually snorkeling with the dolphins, but seeing them was quite nice. The snorkel on top of a reef seeing parrotfish & “Dory” was quite enjoyable tho. I definitely enjoyed the “Zodiac style” pontoon boat riding the swells, getting sprayed from the breaks & seeing the Mozambique coastline all the way to the South African border. As with any wildlife you can’t predict the traveling patterns of the animals. Any look is good, it’s just when you get to experience them super close than it’s an unforgettable moment. Overall my time here has been fab! A lot of hard work, doing something with a heart center consciousness is a wonderful experience. The adventure keeps on unfolding…

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