A bush breakaway to remember

Christoff Els, winner of EcoTraining's bush breakaway competition shares his unforgettable memories from the past weekend at our camp on Karongwe Game Reserve.


“I was really surprised when I received the message that I have won a bush breakaway for me and my friends at EcoTraining’s camp in Karongwe. This was such great news that I didn’t even mind cutting my matric vacation short by a few days!

After an 8 hour drive we arrived at Karongwe where our expert guides Ross and Van greeted us as well as Sam and Cara who were on camera duty.

It became clear at the camp fire that the people at Karongwe camp share a deeper connection for nature and function together as a family. I guess that is why we felt so welcome since day one!

I remember the first night at the campfire when I heard a loud cracking noise and when I looked ever my shoulder I saw a big buffalo bull in the river bed, a few meters away looking right at us. The fact that Karongwe has an unfenced campsite makes your stay so much more intriguing and makes you realise how small we humans really are.

Something that really left its mark on all of us was when Ross and Van took us for an 8km walk in the bush. You see things you would normally not see and learn incredible things from the guides.

The best part for me was when we came across a Rhino cow and her calf who were being bothered by an agitated rhino bull. I vividly remember the moment when our guide Ross whispered to us to “get ready” followed by “don’t move” as the rhino bull was getting too close to us and possibly going to charge! Our hearts were in our throats at that moment, but luckily he had a lady friend to keep him occupied and left us alone. It’s moments like these that make you feel alive!


I’ve realised this weekend that EcoTraining is essential to people and that without people like Ross, Van, Sam and Cara, experiences like this would not exist. These people are heroes of the bush in my eyes and I look up to them for I now know that my ambition is shared with them.  I will definitely do an EcoTraining course again and pursue my dream of becoming a wildlife filmmaker and travel journalist one day.

Thank you EcoTraining for the incredible weekend at Karongwe Camp and for everything you arranged for us! I will remember this trip as I learned a lot from it.”