It has been quite some time since the camp has been so quiet, for this long! While everyone rushed off to catch flights and get home before the lockdown, a group of 9 students stayed behind in camp, having to wait out the lockdown here. Interns Stephan and Misae was keeping watch at the Bhejane Outpost on Somkhanda – blissfully unaware of the chaos of the outside world – and we managed to get them back to base camp, and to evacuate the Outpost just in time.
While we are all sad, stressed and uncertain about what happens next, we are also enormously privileged to have been able to spend the lockdown on Kuleni. Students have used the time to go on walks and add to their birding and tracking skills. Student Prakash Kannan, more affectionately known by all as Paapi – has written a great blog about all the leopard activity in camp, read more on this below. We were fortunate to have some late summer rainfall in March and saw an explosion of Mushrooms and Butterflies in and around the Sand Forest.
Life has been strange – and very different to say the least. We all went about our own ways of keeping busy each day, and creating a new routine. The students in camp pulled together like the amazing team that they are and are doing an amazing job sharing kitchen space, and keeping their spaces clean and tidy!
All Bhejane Staff has been sent home in accordance with lockdown rules, but those living on site at Kuleni has been working hard on getting content online and planning for what happens once the lockdown is lifted. Dylan and a few of the lockdown crew got permission this week to go through to the Somkhanda Bhejane Outpost Camp to maintain the camp and make sure everything is still standing there! They have had some amazing sightings on arrival – keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages for updates from the Outpost! We hope to see everyone back in camp soon!