Waterhole project

We are creating a waterhole with a viewing hide for the undisturbed viewing of wild animals and birds.

A story about a waterhole

We planted some of them in the buffalo footprints. The soil was moist and soft from recent rains and the huge hoofprints around the new waterhole was just the right depth. The spacing of the depressions in the soft mud could not be more perfect. It was just wild grass seeds and cuttings we planted to stabilise and rehabilitate the slopes on the newly dug wildlife waterhole at the camp, but for me – they were symbols of healing, hope and new life in a threatened and dying wilderness. In the weeks to come, each seed and grass cutting that took and each new tadpole in the water or fresh animal prints in the mud around the waterhole every morning gave me new inspiration and it made me smile.

One of my Maasai friends asked me why I was so excited about this hole in the ground. “Life,” I told him. “It brings new life…”     Read more below…

At the top – Leudi and Kashu planting grass cuttings on the slope. Centre – Mposioro, Andre and Don Richards planting reeds. Bottom – Nooltuka weaving a wicker barrier to prevent erosion around the inlet.

Over a span of less than one year the bare soil around the waterhole is completely covered by different indigenous grasses.

A pair of Cinnamon-chested Bee-Eaters (Merops oreobates) has started nesting in a steep bank at the waterhole.

The team was overjoyed when one of our camp visitors last year decided to fund the entire waterhole project! This meant that we were able to plan and implement the waterhole project without the daunting question of – “Will we have enough funds to do this?” hanging over our heads. As the once ugly red-brown scar in the earth where the new waterhole was dug was steadily healing as the bare soil got covered by grasses and water plants, so our hopes and vision for the success of the camp grew and strengthened.

Now that the waterhole has naturalised to a large extent, it is ready for the next stage of landscaping and the building of an educational hide up in the trees.

Nairimu, the camp’s orphan bushbuck investigating the drainage ditch that prevent erosion and carry rainwater to the waterhole

Here educational groups and visitors to the camp will be able to view birds and wild animals in silence as they come to feed, drink  and wallow.

The waterhole project provides a valuable opportunity for community members and school children to learn about erosion control and water harvesting techniques. It also provide an opportunity for viewing wildlife and do water studies with children on environmental outings.

The aim is for the waterhole to look like this eventually – hippos included…

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