The beauty of the "Open System" rings true. I have spent most of my career working on fenced private game reserves and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. However I know find myself working in the Greater Kruger National Park - one of the largest, protected wilderness areas in the world. Spanning some 44 000 square kilometers - it is a dream come true!
This is a system designed to give animals choice and natural space to roam freely and nothing brings this into the limelight as much as natural disasters. As you may know this area is currently going through one hell of drought. It has been interesting to note the movement in and out of our traversing area of different species as they begin to move, in order to find food and water elsewhere. They seem to go south and east. However recently we have begun to get rains, good rains, flooding rains in some areas. And with this animals have begun to go back to their usual "home range". I have seen how over the last 12 months the buffalo population has decreased due to massive amounts of predation and starvation. I have also seen how the zebra and wildebeest population has changed negatively in orders of magnitude. I have seen herd after herd of elephants passing by my vehicle in dead straight lines - heading east. And now I have seen, amazingly the return of these animals. Suddenly I am seeing herds of zebra and wildebeest all over and on occasion mega herds coming together. I am seeing elephants coming back into the area in mass and then leaving again right after the rains for periods of around 2-3 days - this I cannot explain. I have seen buffalo coming back together in order to reestablish their thunderous gorgeous herds. I have seen rhinos on the brink of starvation and now eating to their hearts content. I have seen beautiful triumphs and sad deaths. I have seen nature at its finest - this for me is the most special thing in the world to observe. Those that survived are alive and well once more. The Greater Kruger National Park is alive and well once more...