Leaving the Kalahari

I just had my last session with Sequoia, and it hardly seems real that I’m leaving tomorrow. The last two weeks have been incredible – as challenging, rewarding and exciting as any I’ve spent here. Nature at its best and its worst – on the same day I was lucky enough to see a bat-eared fox in the wild as I walked to Ewoks in the early hours, a rare privelege for any animal lover – and then watched Sancerre abort her entire litter in the evening as Lydia and I could only look on in shock. Life goes on at the meerkat project.

Leaving here is the end of an era for me. It marks the end of my PhD fieldwork, which nudges me not-so-gently into my final year, and write-up time. Already?! I’ve spent a total of 7 months here, a drop in the ocean of Kalahari time, but a significant chunk of my life so far, and I will miss it and all its harsh beauty. It is too big to reflect upon, and too big a part of my life to compartmentalise to just one part. It goes without saying that I’ll remember it forever – one of the landscapes that is simply now a part of me.

I drove back to the farmhouse this morning via Big Dam and the Lazuli flats, and met Marta on the road. I stopped to offer her a lift.

“Was that your last session?” she said. “Wow.”

“Maybe I’ll come back one day,” I said, knowing in my heart that it’s unlikely to be the case.

“Maybe,” she said. “But if not, you will have something else exciting ahead.”

A nice way of looking at it. Perhaps leaving here will be the bigger adventure.

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