Elephaant on WildEarth

Joburg COVID-19 Lockdown Journal: Day 12

If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts.

It’s Day 12 of lockdown and I’ve been reduced to photographing my computer screen.

Elephant on WildEarth
Lockdown photo Day 12: It’s an elephant on YouTube.

Today I woke up, did my normal lockdown routine, and worked at my computer all day.

While I did have one particularly fun work assignment — a Zoom Q&A with a group of gap year students in which I spoke about my work as a blogger — I reached 3:00 p.m. and realized I couldn’t think of anything interesting to blog about. I hadn’t taken any interesting photos and didn’t have monumental lockdown thoughts to share.

I felt a bit desperate. Then I remembered WildEarth, which a few of you have recommended to me over the past two weeks. WildEarth, among other things, is a YouTube channel that livestreams two full-length game drives (safaris) every day, from a private wildlife reserve outside the Kruger National Park.

I searched for WildEarth on YouTube and saw their next game drive would begin in 25 minutes at 3:30 p.m. So I tuned in.

It started slowly, as many game drives do. We saw a family of warthogs, some impala, a butterfly, and a rhino tick. I dozed off once or twice.

But the hosts, Lauren and James, were very endearing. Lauren and James fielded wildlife questions in real-time, submitted via email. The first hour of each drive is children’s hour, when all questions must be submitted by kids.

James is very funny and made me guffaw several times. Lauren is witty and beautiful. Lauren and her cameraman Dawie — I suspect Dawie may also be Lauren’s boyfriend, or maybe that’s just my imagination running wild — spotted a lovely pied kingfisher hovering above a watering hole.

I grabbed my camera, crouched down in my chair, and pointed the lens at my computer screen. I snapped pictures of a pied kingfisher on YouTube, wondering how it’s all come to this.

Pied kingfisher on YouTube
A pied kingfisher. Below the kingfisher is a question about fish asked by eight-year-old Jack in Johannesburg.

I got distracted by work and muted WildEarth for a bit. When I checked back, James was with a bachelor herd of elephants!

Elephant on YouTube
Bachelor elephant.
James with the elephant
My new friend James with one of the elephants.

Later James took us to a hyena den, where Ribbon the mama hyena was preparing to feed her cubs. I love hyenas. Unfortunately we never got to see the cubs but I enjoyed meeting Ribbon.

Ribbon the hyena
Ribbon the hyena.

By the end of this game drive (it lasted for three hours), there were more than 11,000 people watching the WildEarth safari livestream. I recommend you do so too, especially if you have bored children or a spouse.

Today’s Worthy Cause

WildEarth is also soliciting donations. I have no idea how this organization works or how needy it is, especially compared to some of the other causes I’ve featured in this series. But WildEarth brought me a lot of joy today, and it’s clearly doing so for thousands of other people around the world. If you have the means to support it, please do.

See you tomorrow on lucky Day 13.

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  • Reply Emma April 7, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Maybe you could report on improving or practicing French? As a result of your recommendation last week we are in French conversation with David each day now!! 😊😁

    • Reply 2summers April 7, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Emma, yes I heard about that! I am so happy to hear. Hope the lessons go well 😍😍😍

  • Reply Emma April 7, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    They are going well. He’s a wonderful teacher. Patient, kind, encouraging and careful! My daughter is responding very well!! A total win. Thank you so much!!

  • Reply Louise Whitworth April 7, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    I freaking love Wild Earth! I love how the rangers so genuinely enjoy just cruising around watching animals and even though they switch the live drivers as they go the pace is so realistic to actually being on a drive. My friend was talking about setting up a tent in the garden, having a braai, getting up early for wild earth morning drive and pretending to spend Easter at Kruger 😂

    • Reply 2summers April 7, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      See my recent Facebook post – apparently there are families doing exactly this.

  • Reply Catrina April 7, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve been watching falcons on a camera in the city of Zurich. But this WildEarth camera is the Next Level!
    Thanks so much for sharing! 😊

    • Reply 2summers April 7, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      Falcon-watching sounds cool too.

  • Reply zimbo64 April 7, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    This looks amazing. I have been dreaming of Italy and I found a live webcam feed from Venice with beautiful music. https://youtu.be/ph1vpnYIxJk

    • Reply 2summers April 7, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      That’s lovely! Also eerie.

  • Reply AutumnAshbough April 7, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    I want to go on safari! I guess YouTube is as close as it gets. Also, I didn’t know the bachelor elephants hung out together.

    • Reply 2summers April 7, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Yes they do. Young males get kicked out of their matriarchal families at some point and they hang out together 🐘

  • Reply Stan Morrison April 8, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Wild Earth and Safari Live also have a rich archive of videos on YouTube which can be watched at any time. The ability to fast-forward / rewind / pause / download is very useful.

    • Reply 2summers April 8, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Yeah it’s so great! I watched one with snails and ants and things.

  • Reply Caitlin Jean Geel April 8, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Darling, you’ve made my day 🙂 especially reading this post after a work colleague told me about WildEarth during lunch.

    • Reply 2summers April 8, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      I’m glad to hear that Caitlin! Enjoy the next game drive 🙂

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