March 31, 2014
By Emma Griggs (University of British Columbia ’18)
This week, we crushed Sesfontein Conservancy! We started our game routes on March 24, and did our final game drive for Sesfontein on March 30.
Our first campsite was nestled in the town of Sesfontein, only 100 metres or so from the school. On the other side of our large fig tree (that we all loved because it meant our tents were in the shade for the majority of the day) was a small swimming hole. The local children always came to swim after school, and while we worked in the afternoons on projects and what not, we heard them splashing around-honestly, we wished we could go join them.
Our first night at the campsite, there was an absolute downpour that started right after we finished dinner. The clouds had been moving in all day, and Vehi kept promising that it wouldn’t rain for more than five minutes or so… 4 hours after the pour had started, we started to think he might be wrong. The rain went through the night, everyone getting a little dripped on, but when we woke up the next morning the air was very pleasantly cool, and kept the heat away till well into the afternoon.
After buying some heavenly cold drinks from the town store, we hopped into our trucks to drive to our next temporary home.
Our next campsite, only 45 minutes away, was an awesome little spot tucked right under a large hill, with a huge leaning rock that gave us all-day shade. The four of us ran all over the rocks and the mountain exploring, finding little caves and some awesome rocks to climb. Allie caught some kind of bug, so she was down for the count, but only for 24 hours! By mid-morning the next day, she was up and at ‘em, ready to tackle the hike up to a point count.
We stayed at the ‘rock city’ for 3 nights (Ganumeb Mountain Camp), allowing ourselves one well-deserved rest day before moving on. On the second day, around 5, we set off up the mountain behind our site, aiming to make it up and back down before dark (and for dinner). The first 100 metres were nice and easy, and it’s fair to say we were fairly cocky about how easy it would be to crush the mountain… Soon enough, it wasn’t so easy. Stepping and sliding more than hiking, we slowly made our way up, all sweating more than we’d like to admit, but of course as soon as we got to the top, we forgot all about how exhausted we were. The view was SPECTACULAR. We could see the full 360 degrees around us. As Allie said, “we took pictures for DAAAAAAAAAAAAAYS!”
VERY carefully making our way down, we got back in about a half hour to a welcoming Bekah (who insisted she didn’t hear us calling down from the top) and dinner. Heading to bed, we were all thinking about our rest day and sleep in the next morning.
After a lovely late breakfast, we left our campsite to head to the next one (but not before one last cup of tea). The drive was full of wildlife: plenty of springbok, a herd of oryx, a tiny steenbok, and 6 beautiful giraffes (including an adorable ‘raffe baby!). We drove through the Hoanib river, and popped out of the river bed to our campsite, which was by a mountain and protected by huge boulders similar to our last one. Remembering how awesome it felt to conquer the mountain at the last site, we decided to climb the one there too-not quite as big, but just as intimidating and rocky. Making our way up, we kept our eyes peeled for wildlife down below us and birds above us. We got to the top in about 20 minutes, built a rock pyramid to stake a claim on the mountain, and very carefully made our way down for dinner.
The next day, one car did a game drive and the other did a point count. Neither of us saw too many animals, though the landscape was pretty distracting. When we got back to camp, we quickly packed up and headed back down the way we’d come the day before, driving along the riverbed looking for somewhere shady to settle for lunch. We ended up hanging out in our lunch spot for about 3 hours, then heading out after some much-needed ‘bush baths’ at the nearby water hole.
Now, we’re hanging out in our last campsite in Sesfontein, near the riverbed, making some pasta and tomato sauce for dinner. Everyone’s commented at least once how fast our time in this conservancy has gone, we can’t quite believe it’s our last game drives tomorrow. But I’m sure we’re all also ready to head back home to Wereldsend to get some rest before our next adventure: Etosha National Park!