Unicorns, mythical beasts that are confined to fairy tales and children’s storybooks, right? Wrong. If you come to South Africa and look deep into the African bush you might just see one. No, I’m not talking about the fabled horses/goat type animal with flowing manes and a single horn, but rather something that is more prehistoric, a critically endangered herbivore, a mammal with stunning grey skin, and two beautiful but deadly horns.
Society tells us our lives will be mapped out by our youth and our ambition: what schools we attend, who we marry, or what high-paying career we take on. But those are not the only factors that determine our paths. Sometimes tectonic forces are working deep below our feet, waiting to show us paths we had not prepared for when we least expect them—after our careers, our schooling, and our lives are pretty much sorted out. Or so we thought…
In the middle of the Mashatu bush, in the early hours of the morning, I was woken by the loud roar of a male lion. I was hesitant to get out of bed and shine my touch to see if the lion was anywhere near my tent. I decided to climb back into bed. By the sound of the roar, the lion was not that close to the camp.
As the sun slowly rises over the horizon the dawn chorus of a new day starts. Crested Francolins call in duet and the birds of prey start to warm up, desperately waiting to catch a morning commute with the rising thermals. It is here on the Southern side of Ndlovu dam where JP Le Roux and myself are doing some filming for our Youtube channel while enjoying a morning French pressed coffee.
Technology has become so ingrained into our everyday lives that most of us question how it is possible to live without it. It has helped us keep in contact with the people we love during the recent worldwide lockdowns. Whilst you are traveling it allows you to capture memories, share your experiences and reflect on your adventures when you get home.
Swimming when the river flows is the Selati equivalent of making hay while the sun shines. EcoTraining blogger, Victoria, recalls a sunset swim, shared with students and tilapia fish.
“Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran” – Rudyard Kipling. Bear witness to the ancient giants of Africa. Titans are long-enduring but faced with a perilous future. Reverent creatures that we have the privilege of walking amongst a dwindling population.
I like to end the day relaxing in front of my tent doing a few yoga stretches, enjoying the silence of the camp, the evening song of the birds, and marveling in the feeling of the last of the rays of the winter sun before it disappears for the day.
On hearing the alarm calls of the Nyala that hang around the camp, I stopped for a minute, listening, holding my breath, to see if I could hear what had disturbed them. And then…
The 31st of July is World Ranger Day, let’s explore what it means to be a ‘ranger’ in celebration of this day!
I’ve always told my guest when walking out in the bush to read it like a book. Start on the horizon and scan from left to right and don’t forget to scan the trees close to you, there might be a Black Mamba looking back at you from its den. It’s definitely a question of who is looking at who out in nature.
One thing we all know is true: once you have been to the African bush, you are never quite the same again. It is an impossible experience to convey to anyone who hasn’t been, and if you are reading this, you are among those of us that never tire of going on safari.
I found myself speed walking to gate number C6 at Cape Town International airport. With way too many bags strapped over my shoulders, I shuffled towards the stairs going to the desired gate. From nowhere a friendly face stopped me and drew my attention to my shoes, this literally stopped me in my tracks.
The African bush, there truly is no place like it. Life evolves around nature, the rising and setting of the sun, where the morning bird chorus becomes your alarm clock and the sound of the nocturnal birds, frogs, and insects sing you to sleep. Living in the remote African wilderness can be idyllic, but it also presents a unique set of challenges that will at times push you out of your comfort zone.
People often confuse the terms “game ranger” and “field guide”. There is a difference, and here is why…
The shortest day in Selati, could have started like many others. We all start to stir just before the sun starts to come up, drinking our morning tea and coffee around a fire, except today was different. We were awoken by the sounds of Elephants and Lions, who were on the opposite side of the riverbank somewhere close to the camp. These two magnificent animals were not very happy with each other, one had obviously disturbed the other and they were busy telling each other off, each trying to stake a claim to that particular area.
I stood inside the enormous circular depression in the ground. Even with both of my size 11-US boots, there was plenty of room to spare. It was unbelievable: the sheer size, the amount of power it must have taken to cave in the earth like that. I will never forget it – the first time I saw an elephant track.
Most people think that the Wildebeest Migration only takes place between June and October, but it is a year-round occurrence. There are various but equally exciting events that occur at different times of the year. The river crossings usually coincide with safari high season so consequently, there is a perception that it is the only time of the year that the wildebeest migrate or can be seen.
Every year, around 1.5 million wildebeest are joined by thousands of Thompsons gazelle, zebra, eland, and other ungulates (hoofed animals) in what has been called the “greatest show on earth”, The Great Wildebeest Migration.
The Great Wildebeest Migration in the plains of East Africa is one of the most spectacular displays of wildlife behavior and nowhere is there a terrestrial movement of animals as immense as the wildebeest migration. As one of UNESCO’s Wonders of the World, it is one of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.
Pridelands has two Black Mambas in camp at the moment and after a colorful interview, I can confirm that these ladies are way more lovely, and infinitely more hardcore than the snake.
Daily we hear about animals whose population numbers are in decline, but did you know that the humble Bees numbers are also in decline and they too are at risk of extinction?
April is a magical time of year in the bush. The last of the summer rains have normally passed so the bush starts to turn a beautiful golden brown. The short bush Autumn starts to take place so the days are still warm but the nights are starting to cool, perfect for sitting around the fire or snuggling down into your sleeping bag. The days start to get a bit shorter and the nights longer, giving us more time to admire the beauty of the cosmos.
Even more reverent and iconic than Africa’s Big Five, Baobabs are the true titans of Africa. As the title would suggest, Baobabs are impressive in size, with some reaching up to 30 m in height.
Pridelands camp is many things. In this blog, Victoria shares what makes Pridelands the unique and wild camp that it is.
It’s a cool morning and I grab my coffee flask, flees jacket and camera. As the sun peaks over the dam wall, we lace up our boots and off we go into the veld in search of fresh signs of what happened the previous night…
We all feel stress at times. It is our bodies natural response when we experience something new, something unexpected, when we feel threatened or when we feel that we have no control over a situation. For some of us, stress can be a motivational tool and for others, it can make you feel anxious and even make you doubt yourself.
#BurpeesForConservation is all the rage at the moment. EcoTraining students have jumped on the trend and are raising their heart-rates in an effort to raise awareness and funds for conservation.
With your training complete where will you go next? If you are not going to be working in the bush, is the training even worth it? We think it is, and here is why.
Ask any birder to name the three best bird-watching destinations in South Africa and Pafuri will come up close to, if not at the top spot. The diversities of habitats range from two large rivers (Limpopo and Levuvhu) with the adjacent riparian forests, floodplains, ephemeral pans, mountains and woodland, each with a unique suite of plant life houses incredible numbers and species of birds.
It would be impossible to learn everything about butterflies in one day but let’s start by exploring some of the practical reasons for being so pretty. Victoria dive into the ornate nature of butterfly colouration and we discover that a butterfly is so much more than beauty and grace.