For any past guest who has visited Founders Camp and who is under the age of 12, you would know from the ‘Hide and Go Seek’ experience on the deck, that the life of a Founders’ frog must be a grand one!
Since I started working at Founders Camp at the end of 2020, I have kept a log book of photographs from my little frog encounters. An act as small as finding one of the regular suspects has taught me to appreciate the finer things in life.
I would not go so far as to say that I have become an avid amphibian fan, I have however really taken to noticing how each species is unique in their own way.
My first ever encounter with a frog happened when I was just five years old while camping in the Kruger National Park with my parents. Somehow one had managed to escape the outside world and ended up in the tent in which my sister and I were sleeping. In the early hours of the morning, instead of being awoken by the rising African-sun, I was woken up by the sound of a frog. When inspecting this frog more closely I noticed large adhesive terminal discs under its feet. This is the scientific word for their “little feet”, I found in the “The Wildlife of Southern Africa: A field guide to animals and plants of the region”; a book I keep handy on deck for when guests have animal related questions and the rangers aren’t in sight.
I made use of this book again, when asked by a guest what the difference was between a frog and a toad and whether we have both. I had to fact check with google, but we do indeed have both frogs and toads in South Africa and at Londolozi itself. Below is a fun infographic that I made to help me better understand the physical distinctions between the two:
As a distraction technique for young guests who find the peace and quiet of meal times on deck less enjoyable than their parents, I often task little ones to find all three of our resident foam nest frogs. This game can only be done in silence and requires a keen eye.
After many months of playing ‘Find the Frog’, one day a very creative little soul asked if she could name the one ‘Winter’ – given the foam nest frog’s very pale colouring. We were delighted at this official naming and subsequently called the other two ‘Autumn’ and ‘Summer’. When a fourth resident frog joins the prestigious Founders Frog family, I have no doubt it will be called ‘Spring’.
What started out as childlike fun, has oddly made Founders Deck feel more like home to me and the other staff, having something so small but so familiar fill our days. If any of the frogs aren’t in their usual spots: the pillar light, the bathroom picture or behind the bar respectively – one of us is bound to start a little search party.