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Loal is lekker

EcoTraining Quiz: South Africa is ‘Lekker’

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Remember, Local is Lekker

Why not spend your time in the wilds of Africa whilst enjoying twice-daily activities at one of EcoTraining unfenced camps within the Limpopo Province. Or have a look what the other 8 amazing provinces in South Africa could have in store for you. Because you know, ‘Local is Lekker’

EcoTraining Quiz: Cuckoo’s

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EcoTraining Quiz: Become a Field Guide |||

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EcoTraining Bird Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Waterbirds

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EcoTraining Crossword: Trails Guide

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EcoTraining Quiz: Trails & Tracking

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Ground Pangolin

Real-life Sighting | a Pangolin in Makuleke

Pangolin factsIf you have ever had the privilege of seeing a pangolin in real life, you will know the magnitude of this sighting. It will most definitely be the rarest sighting you will mostly like have whilst out in the African bush on Safari.

As you can see by the stats on your left, this is the most trafficked animal in the world – now, let that sink in!

So, what is the reason for the trafficking of these incredible creatures?

“Large-scale trafficking is driven by a belief that pangolin scales have magical and curative properties and demand for their meat. When mixed with bark from certain trees, the scales are thought to neutralize witchcraft and evil spirits. If buried near a man’s door they are said to give an interested woman power over him.” – African Wildlife Foundation

Did you know that there were four species of pangolin in Africa?

Well, now you do. These four species are as follows:
1. Giant Ground Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea)
2. Temminck’s Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)
3. The Black-Bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)
4. The White-Bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis)

If you want to learn more about pangolin’s and other endangered species have a look at the EcoTraining Endangered Species Quiz.

Now, you might be wondering why were are talking about pangolin’s, yes they are fascinating creates and we could probably talk pangolin facts all day, but something very exciting happens this week at our EcoTraining Makuleke Camp that we just have to share with you!

We’re going to let instructor Sean Matthewson fill us in…

“As a cold front rages across South Africa, all creatures, both large and small seek refuge from driving winds. But in an isolated pocket of wilderness, deep in the forest, a pangolin negotiates the terrain and approaching storm.

Every time a gust of wind blows through the forest floor, this little hero rolls up into a defensive ball. He’s not sure whether or not these gusts of wind are friend or foe, and rather opts to be safe.
In these uncertain times, it’s safe thinking like that which will ensure his survival.

Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on Earth, with the majority of animals finding their way to Eastern markets for consumption, and likely, unfounded medicinal practice. It is for this reason that this little champion of the elements will be left free and wild in an undisclosed location (exactly where and as we found him).

Suffice to say, this little armoured tank is considered the Holy Grail of the African bush, with many an avid explorer never having a single opportunity to see him in the wild. It is also the only animal (to this author’s knowledge) that in an instant, can turn a grown man into a blubbering child, overcome with the sheer pleasure of the privilege of a glimpse.

As we sat watching the star of the show, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this could be the last time I set eyes on a pangolin in my lifetime. I am, however, utterly at peace with this notion, as I am among the lucky few and that my search for the Holy Grail, is in fact over.

It is, however, my hope that even now, in conservation’s darkest moments, that these astounding creatures will still find their place in the Anthropocene, and that my children’s children will too stand one day in the presence of greatness, as I did.

My gratitude extends to EcoTraining, without whom this opportunity could never have materialized!”

Want to watch this real-life sighting?

 

 

Reptiles Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Reptiles

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EcoTraining Quiz: Amphibians

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Eco-Isolation with EcoTraining

Jennifer Palmer is an impassioned wildlife biologist, a global educator, public speaker, and an intrepid lover of nature. She is one of the founders of Women for Wildlife, and through her work, she has become a trusted advisor to nonprofits, governments, foundations, film producers and business leaders around the world. We were very happy to host her at one of our EcoTraining Camps during the lock-down and help her ‘eco-isolate’ in a safe place that brought her so much joy.

Become a Guide

EcoTraining Quiz: Become a Field Guide ||

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Hippo Facts

EcoTraining Quiz: Hippopotamus ||

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Birding Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Endangered Birds

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East African Animals

EcoTraining Quiz: East African Animals

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EcoTraining Owl Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Owls

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Hyena Facts

EcoTraining Quiz: Hyena

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Mara Sunset

From the pen of Anton Lategan

“We use our linear understanding of the sciences and continually take from the Earth. We take as much as we can, we call this production.”

Giraffe Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Giraffe

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Vulture Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Vultures

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The Ugly Five

EcoTraining Quiz: The Ugly Five

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Buffalo Quiz

EcoTraining Quiz: Buffalo

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Kenya Safari

EcoTraining Quiz: Become a Field Guide |

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White lion

EcoTraining Crossword: Fun Facts

Is Coronavirus getting you down? Do you need to pass the time during your self-isolation? Don’t fear, EcoTraining is here and we have loads of fun interactive quizzes, word searches and crosswords to keep you busy.

Why not start with this EcoTraining Crossword and test your knowledge:

EcoTraining Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Survey

A letter from the MD & Coronavirus | COVID-19 Survey

A letter from our Managing Director, Anton Lategan

“Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. We as humans are part of a naturally resilient world. Micro and macro organisms in nature have countless interrelationships that keep our natural world healthy and our modern world functional. Through our eyes, we only see the macro-organisms around us but there is so much more going on that actually sustains us beyond our modern perceptions.

We are not voyeurs of nature, we are citizens of the natural world!

Our own bodies rely on and are made up of many microorganisms as part of a healthy system. Humanity is being reminded now more than ever that we are not the owners of this planet. We have the choice to live as respectful inhabitants and behave as responsible guardians of the natural world.

The lessons and solutions rest in nature, our scientific community is valuable but ultimately it is the understanding of our natural world that offers us the solutions we seek. As we seek solutions from nature in times of crisis, let us hope that we remember to protect nature when we continually place nature in crisis.

It is profound to witness humanity acting collectively against a common threat, perhaps for the first time in history at this scale? It is natural because we feel threatened but it gives me hope that we humans are potentially a caring being. I am hopeful that we can extend this care to the natural world as it has cared for us since the beginning of our existence.

EcoTraining is committed to teaching people how resilient nature is and in turn how resilient we are as people”.

With the world in crisis mode and humankind battening down the hatches

COVID-19 Survey

We have all been caught off guard by this current crisis. Certain drastic measures were put in place to keep the Coronavirus (COVID19) from spreading. These measures do have a major effect on everyone globally. Please take a few minutes to answer this 10 question survey about the Coronavirus and the effect it has on YOU personally and your travel plans.


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Makuleke Zeabra

Remember to appreciate the beauty that is around us during this time. (c) Etienne Ooshuizen

Lilac-breasted roller

EcoTraining Quiz: Birds of the Lowveld

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Broad-billed roller

EcoTraining Word Search: Makuleke Birds

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EcoTraining Pridelands Camp

A mutualistic relationship | Animals & EcoTraining

Celebrating our mutualistic relationship with the animals of EcoTraining Camps.

When you set up an unfenced camp in a wildlife area or game reserve, you are bound to have animals come into your camp relatively often. With the EcoTraining camps, there is no exception.

In fact, a very important aspect of the EcoTraining experience is reconnecting with nature. By living in nature and being close to nature – and staying in one of EcoTraining’s unfenced camps does exactly this. Waking up to birds singing in the morning, having animals walk through the camp, and the occasional snake that has to be removed from a bathroom all encompass a true experience of nature. It may seem dangerous and scary to people at first, but when animals are given respect, it is possible for both humans and animals to live in close proximity without either party being negatively affected.

Elephant in camp

Elephant in Karongwe Camp (c) Zach Savage

Wildlife around Karongwe Camp

From elephants walking through the camp, lions roaring outside your tent, hyenas breaking into the kitchen and baboons stealing fruit from the breakfast table, it is not uncommon to have an encounter with an animal within the camp limits. Sometimes these encounters are awe-inspiring and sometimes they are nerve-racking, but it is highly uncommon for the encounter to end with an animal or person in danger or disturbed.

The most common animals in camps are those that find safety within the space. Nyalas are a prime example of this, with all EcoTraining camps as well as most lodges having resident Nyalas hanging around. This is because camps offer a degree of safety from predators as well as less competition from other herbivores (so more food).

Baboons and vervet monkeys are also common utilisers of campgrounds – likely using the camp areas for safety as well. As anyone who has stayed in a camp will know, they will also try their luck at stealing whatever scraps of food they can get their hands on. A common phenomenon that has been observed with baboons is that they will often flip the rocks that demarcate the pathways in camps – this is in order to find any grubs, scorpions or general bugs hidden under the rocks for them to munch on.

EcoTraining’s Karongwe camp has a resident genet that is often seen commuting through the campgrounds. She has become very habituated and allows people to come quite close, however she is still wild and does not rely on people or the camp for food and safety. It is a strict policy to never feed animals as we don’t want them to start expecting food from people and losing their instinct to get their own food. We also don’t want the animals to lose their instinctual fear of humans as this can aid in their exploitation – for example, poachers can have an easier target if an animal has learnt that humans do not pose a threat.Animals around Karongwe

Some animal encounters around camp (c) Zach Savage & David Niederberger

Wildlife around Makuleke Camp, Greater Kruger National Park

EcoTraining Makuleke has several elephants that frequent the camp. These gentle giants come in only looking to feed on the Brown Ivory, Umbrella thorns and other trees in the camp. The decks in front of each tent always provide for spectacularly close but safe viewing of the elephants as they make their way through the camp.

Elephant in Makuleke

Elephant in Makuleke & Map of Makuleke Camp, Northern Kruger

Respecting the symbiotic relationship

All camps have a plethora of bird, reptile, amphibian and insect life to excite the interests of students when they are in camp and to keep them learning about the nature around them. Even though you are living in a ‘wild’ area, the ethos of EcoTraining is to provide a holistic and safe experience to everyone who spends time in one of our camps. We respect the nature around us and want to maintain a mutualistic relationship on both sides.

At first, it may feel daunting to stay in an EcoTraining unfenced camp. But once you have had a few nights to settle in, you start to love every moment of it – so much so that even a lion roaring five metres from your tent will not scare you. Instead, it will thrill you to your bones and you will connect with the experience on a very primal level – an experience that your ancestors perhaps once had, now reborn in an EcoTraining camp.

Some Trivia fun;

do you know the difference between the large-spotted & small-spotted genets?

 

Differences between genets

Some differences between large-spotted and small spotted genets