Even with the more “serious” parts of the program being over, the theme of lacking opportunities to catch sleep continued onto the last official day, with a bus leaving the hotel early again (though at least not 4:20 again).
However, it was for a program point that, in this way, has not been possible on any of the European YOTA Camps before—a safari through the South African bush. With how packed the schedule was, this also meant a first chance to get the “Africa Feeling” for the European teams, or at least get to see (South) Africa as we all imagined.
After arriving at the game lodge and splitting the participants among the available cars, we went off for a few hours, trying to see as many of the “Big Five”: Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard. Success varied between the cars, but three of the five were seen by at least some—the ones that weren’t seen were the ones that could eat you for supper, so that maybe was for the best.
Coming back to the lodge, we were greeted by a small group (flock? herd?) of kudus (a type of antelope) and some zebras, with some participants experiencing that the latter do not like people coming up close. While most people were busy photographing and/or petting the kudus, lunch was being made, so that’s what everybody went for afterwards. With people well fed, it was time to take the 2-hour drive back to the hotel, which provided a way for people to exchange their photos of the wildlife they had seen earlier (as well as some others); in keeping with the spirit of the hobby, this was of course done using SSTV via 2m FM.
As most people used the opportunity to catch some sleep after coming back, the organisers found a great way of getting everybody awake again before dinner: a drumming activity, which consisted of everybody being supplied with a djembe drum, and then getting their hearts played out (and their hands played sore) together.
After dinner, it was time for the last official event of the camp: The Farewell Event. This included handing out the HAREC certificates to the 20 of the 25 RAE participants that passed, many “Thank you”s from participants towards the organisers and everyone else involved in the event, and of course celebration until long in the night. And, unfortunately, first hugs and tears for participants that were going to leave already very early in the day.
For everybody else, hugs and tears were reserved for the day following, with everyone getting back to the airport, after having found some way on how to get the reflector element for the satellite yagi back home.
Overall, we sincerely thank the organisers and sponsors for an outstanding event, once again setting the bar high for future YOTA Camps to come. Even with such a busy schedule (busy enough these blog posts got delayed as much as they did), we would not have wanted to miss a single one of the program points.
With all that said, all that is left is a heartfelt 73, and see everyone at one of the next YOTA events, whichever of the many it may be!