There is excitement in the air here at home this week, as the beginning of the guiding season approaches. Bush clothes are taken out of storage, washed and mended, camera memory cards are cleared and formatted in anticipation of the thousands of new experiences that will be captured in their place. The rifle has been used at the range to ensure all is in working order, and will be oiled and cleaned again before heading into camp. The binos, which have been in use most of the green season as the birding never stops, need to be cleaned and put with the rest of the items to be packed.
Sean looks forward to heading back into the wild places, seeing how much rains they have received, how they have affected the vegetation and animals of the bush. The 5 months away will have changed the landscapes he works in, landmarks will have changed and new items of interest sprouted up. He is interested to hear from the camp staff who have been there over the rainy period, how the dynamics of the animals have changed. Have all the pups from the wild dog litter who he photographed in Mana Pools in Sept, survived or have they succumbed to the predators? Who is top cat in Hwange Ngweshla area now, who has been kicked out, how big are the cubs from last year? Also the staff changes that have happened at the camps over the wet season, who has left and the newbies come to add their skills and knowledge to running the camp.
The beginning of Sean’s season is always hard work, getting back into the bush routine of early mornings and late nights, remembering the many roads around the many parks he works in each year. It is the reinforcing of friendships between the camp and the national park staff, catching up on their news since he has been in town. There will be a flurry of activity with the office jobs here too, things that he needs to get done before disappearing off into the bush for 6 weeks. He looks forward to meeting the new guests he will meet along the way who he can share his passion and knowledge with, hearing about their lives back home and the foreign places they come from . He starts to feel alive again, being close to nature and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Harare.