I awaken to complete darkness, but with the mismatched symphony of noises still steady outside my tent. I lie in bed, trying to figure out why I seem to have slepts so well here. Of course, I am using earplugs. But no eye mask: there are almost no lights on in the camp, and certainly none near my tent. Pure, pitch blackness. As I lie in the bed, enjoying this darkness and trying to fall back asleep, I decide to check my watch, just to see what time it is. 4:42. So much for going back to sleep: my alarm is set for 4:50. Roll-out time for morning obs is 5:25.
Here's how a typical day seems to go here:
5-9 am: Morning obs (with a granola bar snack)
9 am: Delicious breakfast
9:30 am-5 pm: Do various chores around camp (today, it involved setting up the new batteries and solar panel controllers; later, I went with Tracy to pick up Steph, who worked at this camp for her PhD a few years back).
5- 8 pm: Evening obs
8-9:30 pm: Dinner, chatting
Highlights from this morning's obs include: seeing about 40 impala all facing a brushy area, looking intent and making weird hissing noises; 20 or so zebra plus some other random ungulates were also present, looking at the same area. Eventually we made our way to where they were staring (in the car, as always) and saw 2 male lions. We're 2 for 2 on lion sightings during observations!
I'm certain there are other highlights that I will remember when I see the pics. But I am quite exhausted, so this will be a short entry.
Evening obs: elephants and ostrich (which I also saw for the first time while joining Tracy to pick up Steph) in glorious pre-sunset light. We went out today with Tracy's friend Gina, who is studying abroad here but has gotten to know Tracy and the people at the camp. She is enthusiastic, delightful, and hilarious; hopefully she will join us on a few more obs.
We apparently just missed seeing a leopard after nightfall; the other car from the camp called us, but by the time we made it to their location the cat had gone into the brush. Hopefully we will spot one, but as they are nocturnal, chances aren't so good.
The great thing about this schedule is that it feels like 2 days in each one: after the morning obs, it felt like a full safari day; but then we got to go out again in the evening!
Looking forward to doing the same tomorrow.