South Africa - Day Three to Five

Sunday 19th November 2017 - DAY THREE

We departed at 6:30am to relieve our overnight recording gear. A quick breakfast and repack was required before we left at 8:30am for our field trip. We headed out the front gates tour to our first location, Mabolel Rock. After a check for Nile crocodiles, I set up four hydrophones off the Rock, two in the ground and two in the water. We left these to record and headed to the legendary Hippo Pool. Access to the site was harder than previous sites. The guides had to use hedge shears to cut through the overgrown Acacia bushes. It was worthwhile though as we were greeted with two hippo families in the water. If hippos are out of the water, it is quite dangerous as they are very grumpy. However, being in the water, they were quite safe. After many photos and videos, we left another set of gear to record.

To watch the CALL TO THE HIPPO video click HERE

Monday 20th November 2017 - DAY FOUR

We again had a 3:30am start for a dawn recording session, an afternoon of talks and lectures followed by another field trip. After dinner, we went out again for a “concert”. Our dawn session was on the bridge crossing over the Limpopo River into Botswana. We were briefed that if we attempted to leave the bridge into Botswana, we would be arrested. We lay down on the Bridge appreciating the performance offered by nature.

Our afternoon session was at Eagle’s Nest. We remained there for our evening concert and left some gear for overnight recordings. 

Tuesday 21st November 2017 - DAY FIVE

After picking up our gear from the overnight recording we returned to prepare for the day. Some tracks of Baboons were quite close to my recorder. Harry’s Weir was the location for our afternoon session. After setting up my hydrophones, I was shown elephant scat from their visit 3-4 months ago. After a relaxing couple of hours sitting by the river, away from the recorders, as soon as I could return, I re-set my hydrophones for an overnight recording dug in next to some of the elephant scat. There were Hippo tracks also around and fresh ones were there the next day too! 

It had been an extremely hot day in the sun. As we have no gauge, it was estimated to be around 42 deg celsius. A group of us went into the plunge pool while we awaited another fabulous dinner cooked by Neil.

South Africa 2017 - Day One and Two

Friday 17th November 2017 - DAY ONE

We travelled 7 or so hours on a mini-bus up through South Africa. The journey through the Limpopo Valley was greener than I expected. There had been recent rains and the Acacia trees had responded with a flush of green. 

A spider greeted me in my pillow on my arrival at the accommodation. It was much like a huntsman so I wasn’t too concerned. However, after relaying my story to others, I discovered that these aren’t quite as harmless! Bed stripped and checked - all good.

Today is overcast with a moderate breeze with black clouds looming. Hopefully, this will settle by the time we go out to record this afternoon.

We did a dusk chorus recording session. Leaving our main set-ups at Waterhole No 2. I put in four hydrophones and the XY. Travelling further afield to Jackal Fontaine we wandered around after setting up another rig - I set-up my H2n Zoom. A late dinner cooked by a South African Masterchef Neil awaited our return. 

Saturday 18th November 2017 - DAY TWO

A 2:45 am wake-up was required for our 3:30 am departure to record the dawn chorus at Makapo then we relocated to the other Mmabolela farmhouse Tuli. I managed to grab a great chance to record a working windmill. I also felt inspired to do a sounding of a sarcophagus-looking water trough. I was able to include members of the group in the moments as they passed by. I used stones thrown, rubbed, scraped to create a variety of sounds. On our return to the initial dawn site, we had the fortune to see a young giraffe near our rigs.

Later in the day, we travelled out to a concert/ listening session at No 1 Waterhole. We sat for an hour by the waterhole, in the dark, listening and looking at a starlit sky. We finished the night with the setting up of gear for overnight recordings. I dug one hydrophone into the ground and put the other in the water, attaching the Clippys to a tree. It was a 3-layered recording of terrestrial, aquatic and tree sounds.