Upon flying into Hoedspruit, it was made aware to us how vast and crazy this landscape was, so far away from the ocean, and so much bushland. We were pretty excited to see warthogs as soon as the plane touched down, there was a vehicle there, that was trying to herd them off the run-way, I guess this is something they deal with regularly.
Our good friend Kirstin, from Wild Ark was there waiting for us when we arrived in Hoedspruit, she drove us to where we were staying in the wildlife estate. Thanks to Wild Ark, we were lucky enough to stay at our beautiful friends home, Mark and Sophie Hutchinson, who's african villa style home was surrounded by beautiful trees, Vervet Monkeys and also Baboons.
Sophie was discussing to us how just a few days before we got there, Baboons had broken into their house, and absolutely trashed the place, ripping their oven off the wall, and the worst part was they defecated ( poo'd ) all through their house, even on the walls, and in the lamp shades. It was a nightmare! We made sure to keep our room locked as they know how to open doors.
Surrounding where we were staying were a number of species that lived in the wildlife estate, Giraffes wandered around, Zebra's grazed, and Waterbuck often stopped by to peer over the fence. It was so exciting for me to see these animals, as it was all completely new to me.
While we were in Hoedspruit, Mark, Sophie and the Wild Ark team wanted to show us around Pridelands, a property they bought, that is soon going to be a nature reserve for African Wildlife. This land was previously a buffalo hunting farm, fully fenced, so many species either fenced out, or had all been eradicated. Elephants, for example, hadn't stepped foot on this land for up to 100 years, which was made obvious by how much bush and scrub there still was. Elephants are excellent land scapers, and they keep the African bushland in balance.
It is an exciting project that we were stoked to learn about, and see first hand. We were thrilled to meet the Wild Ark team, such a driven, and inspiring bunch of people that love wildlife as much as we do. We filmed some interviews, took some photos, and then had a big Wild Ark family dinner at Mark and Sophie's house, before it was our turn to head off the next day through Kruger.