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What is it really like to live in a Game Reserve?

By Kings Camp Team on November 11, 2019
Words & Images By Hayley Cooper - Assistant General Manager

I have lived in a Game Reserve for 8 years now and coming from the UK originally, I don’t think you can get a much more opposite lifestyle for various reasons! For most Game Lodges to run efficiently all of the staff live on site, this is for a number of reasons but the main reason being when you work in the Hospitality industry and provide accommodation for guests you do need to be on call 24/7.

It of course also would be impossible for every staff member to drive each day in and out of the reserve and live in the local town as its just too far away.
This means we all live in a community together, but I guess it’s like all living in a very close-knit village elsewhere in the world and you get used to living like this very quickly.

My commute to work is a 1-minute walk which is a huge perk! No sitting in traffic for us. Sometimes I do have to dodge a Large Male Nyala or 2 but the detour only adds another minute onto my walk.

Another lovely perk is the ‘bush noises’ instead of hearing traffic, sirens, restaurants and bars while we sleep we hear the calls of Hyenas, Lions, Owls, Nightjars and many others.

I often see wild animals in and around my garden, a couple of days ago I could see a big herd of Buffalo next to my house and we had a Leopard in the Camp grounds last night so its very common for us to see a range of wildlife daily even when we aren’t on a game drive.

On occasion we do get some unwanted wildlife guests in our houses, but this is not common and to be expected as we live amongst them in what is actually their home.

I have many wildlife stories from my time living in the bush, one evening when I was sat on my sofa at home, on my Ipad browsing the internet, I had my door open to my garden as it was summer so very warm and I saw out of the corner of my eye a shape come through the door, this was a Mozambique Spitting Cobra, so what did I do?

I calmly got up and first and most importantly picked up a big box which has 2 x baby squirrels sleeping inside (they had lost their Mum and I was raising them) They could have been what the snake came for? I put them somewhere safe and then called for assistance to remove the snake who was now hiding behind a cupboard. We simply guided the snake out of the house back into the garden with a broom and all went back on with our evening. The Snake didn’t want to be in my house any more than I wanted it there and was very happy to head back into the bush.

I think it’s also fair to say you can expect to have a Monkey at least try to enter your room at least once a week and what’s their favourite food? – Yep Bananas! They seem to know where I keep my fruit bowl.

It is possible when you live in a Game reserve you may miss being able to go to the shops or to a restaurant for dinner. I personally can happily work my full ‘work cycle’ of 36 days or more and not feel the need to see shops and restaurants and simply make the most of this when I am on my days off.

We also get to experience the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets with no pollution around us. Our sky line at night is also something very special.

However, If I had to choose just one thing that was the BEST aspect of living in the bush it would be getting to live so closely to such a range of wild animals who so peacefully accept us into their homes. We are very lucky and I cant think of anywhere better to live.

I hope you get to experience life in a Game reserve even if just for a couple of days when on a safari holiday.

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