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Goose Bay in Labrador, Canada is a long way from Africa and the two couldn’t be more different. Lying near the mouth of the Churchill River in northeast Canada, Goose Bay sees snows for ten months of the year and has the second-highest population of people of Inuit descent of any town in Canada. The wildlife is certainly different: caribou, wolves, lynx and black bears can be found nearby.
Erica Oberndorfer and Paul MacDonald, two biologists from Goose Bay, recently came to Africa for the first time and had an incredible time discovering the flowers, trees, birds and animals of this wonderfully foreign land.On the hunt for unique flora and fauna, Erica and Paul stayed at, among others; – Bartholomeus Klip in The Cape Winelands, where the spectacular flowers were their highlight, – Bushman’s Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains, where they enjoyed the luxury of their own private vehicle for four days, – Kirkman’s Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where they enjoyed great sightings and took to the social hour at the bar every night. – And Ngala Tented Camp in the Timbavati Game Reserve, where the sightings were also excellent.
Erica took a collection of impressive photos on her trip and we sent her a few questions to find out what it was like to explore such different landscapes and places.Why did you choose your route? We had certain formative interests, mostly stemming from our work as biologists. Seeing the spring wildflower bloom has been a long-time dream for me, and Paul enjoys learning about birdlife. We corresponded quite a lot with our consultant Toast in developing our itinerary, and he was quick to size up our interests and recommend areas that would introduce us to the incredible biodiversity of South Africa.What were the highlights of your trip? Every day was full of highlights – it’s hard to pare them down. A few memories come to mind, such as; the irrepressible excitement of our ranger, Zenobia, in finding the nest of a Cape Penduline-Tit at Bushman’s Kloof; seeing valleys awash in Proteaceae; the thoughtfulness of ranger Gareth in waking us up so we could hear a Ground Hornbill calling in the morning dark at Kirkman’s Kamp; walking the humbling sandstone hills of the Cederberg; the awesome quiet moments on foot with ranger Derrick, silently watching rhinos and elephants at Ngala Tented Camp; and of course the daily visit of the elephants to the pool at Ngala Tented!What were some of your best sightings? Paul was looking at tiny distant shorebirds at Cape Point when he turned around and had an ostrich completely fill his binoculars. That was the moment we truly realised we were in South Africa. We really enjoyed the little surprises, like the long-proboscid fly, the amazing sundews, the elephant shrew – we learned about the “little five” and saw four of them. And on the little theme, we especially remember the game drive where we saw both a hyena cub and an elephant calf with ranger Derrick and tracker Solly at Ngala Tented Reserve.Would you like to come back? Where to next? Yes, we would definitely return, perhaps in a different season. We’d quite like to visit the Drakensberg. And we’ll have to keep an eye out for the little five we missed, the rhinoceros beetle!
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Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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Great blog post Matt!
Thanks Hans, glad you liked it!
Wow, great trip!
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