I woke up early on a farm called Buffelspad. We arrived very late and our handbreak was broken. Because of that we nearly drove down a slope. Natalie, two others and me had to push the car back on the track away from the slope. But the view down the valley was worth this adventure and the fact that we had no electricity or reception up there. In the first days we had to start our search for the hyobanches we were studying on.
We moved on to another accommodation in town, because at some point you really need to have electricity to work properly. Yesterday we used a microscope that normally runs with electricity without energy. That was an adventure, I can tell. Now we are in a little chalet in the Citrus Creek caravan park and animals come to visit us in our home. Two dogs, two cats and sometimes Charlie the horse.
We found three types of hyobanches. One is pollinated by elephant shrews, the other one by birds and the last one is a mystery which we want to solve. William Hanekom helped us to find them. He is very old but knows the whole region like nobody else. We also built up a tank to film the elephant shrews and gave them a natural habitat. It was like a smaland for them and took a while.
One of the elephant shrews was pregnant and we got two little elephant shrew babies. They were more than cute and Marlen, a filmmaker for a documentary whom we were helping for a few days, was more than happy. We got home late from work, but there was still a party in the caravan park. The party was really good and we had springbockies. It is a shot made of amarula and peppermint-schnaps, I highly recommend it. We talked with a lot of people about the german crisis and everyone had a different opinion; from helping to closing the borders. But we met a few nice people and Biltong (a South African speciality) is the best you can have when you are drunk.
We visited the little Bridgefarm. It was next to our stop for research in the region. Maria West and her husband Maik are running the farm and have three children. They built up a beautiful house by themselves without electricity. Maria and Maik decided that they want to retire once on a farm and then Maik decided that he doesn’t want to build a house when he will be old. So they started their retirement plans earlier than expected. Now they are building a place for backpackers like me and they are more than innovative. For example they are using an oven that concentrates sunlight to bake muffins in 40 minutes.
Citrusdal was an new very special little world that was opened up to me. I lived in the mountains without electricity and reception, helped Marlen to get some good shots for a documentary with elephant shrews, caught a few elephant shrews and two little ones were borns, talked with a lot of new people and got their input on the refugee crisis in Germany from outside…..and of course I saw a lot of amazing stuff.