The rains really have arrived.

From yesterday when we were soaked through, we have had more lightning around the reserve and finally last night we really had a great thunder storm. There are various rain gauges around the reserve and we saw that 20mm had been collected from just north of the mine. We later learnt that 50mm had fallen around Zadoeka Dam. Apparently 20mm rain is the cut off if we are allowed on the reserve or not, and when we started out this morning’s drive we had no idea how much rain had fallen. By lunchtime, we knew that sufficient rain had fallen to make some of the roads impassable, and had to wait for reserve¬†management to let us know if we were allowed on the reserve and which parts of the reserve we could go on.

This morning we had to find Blade, and as usual set off at 5am (though there is talk of setting off at 4:30am). Blade was down near the northern perimeter fence of the mine and the drive would normally take an hour or so, but with all the rain, it probably took an hour and a half. Some of the roads were seriously awash, and I have some good photos (well, they look good on the preview on the camera) of just how much rain fell.

Blade was full. Seriously. The other team had found him the day before eating a wildebeest, and this morning he’d moved about 6 feet and literally couldn’t move he was SO full! So we stayed with him for a bit (as if he was going anywhere) in the chill of the overcast morning, wishing we were back in our beds.

This afternoon we went after Tsotsi and felt a bit peeved about it because she’s been on the move every time we’ve been tracking her this past week. The best we ended up with was a triangulation point at -1.5 which is pretty close to where we were sitting in the Mehindra. She’d better make a kill soon, and stay put to get back into our good books. I should add that by the time we’d managed to get the three bearings to cross for our triangulation point, it was very dark and head torches were very much in use.

For supper we’ve had eland poikje – venison at it’s best. We’re still eating the eland leg that we managed to get from the reserve a couple of weeks back, and I have to say that slow cooked, it’s very very nice (Poikje takes about 5-6 hours to cook). It’s party night tonight, and for some unfathomable reason it’s taken a while to get going this evening. Sad to say that next Monday is our final party night – fancy dress according to GVI tradition.

I’m heading into Musina again tomorrow – will post from there as it’s lots cheaper than using the base’s wireless connection and possibly even go on facebook.