Now it’s mid-morning, and dry rifle practice is happening near the dam, with clicks and commands in the air as students practise for the real thing. The Land Rover drives in alongside them, with a full tank of water on the back as every drop of water in Pridelands has to be brought in from a borehole nearby. South African backup Dewald attaches the thick yellow pipe and starts the pump to fill the overhead water tanks. Standing at the base of the tanks, the kitchen staff of cook TK and helpers Doreen and Sonaphi wash the breakfast dishes and chat animatedly. They are all Makuleke from the same village and are best friends, ever happy and smiling.
Alongside the central gathering and dining space, under a tall tamboti tree, is the designated outdoor gym and social area. Here Nathan from the USA is gently practising yoga while listening to music on his headphones to cancel out the rifle clicks and kitchen clangs. Other students have returned to their tents to nap, rest, read and have ‘me time’ as Emily from South Africa puts it.
Finished with the dishes, Sonaphi is now snapping wood to feed the donkey that provides hot water for the camp. She says it’s her favourite part of her job in camp. Meanwhile, Nathan balances on a pivot, and Doreen packs away the tin plates in readiness for lunch while the dry rifle students also dissipate for a brief rest just as the gas delivery truck arrives.
All this activity is in the space of just five minutes in Pridelands.
Fast forward to 3 pm when a lunch of couscous salad is served – on the back of a hearty breakfast of homemade doughnuts, bacon, beans, boiled eggs and fruit. Then at 3.30 pm, everyone is ready for the afternoon to walk until just before dark. The group of trail-guiding students does a lot of walking every day. When they return at dusk, the fire is going, and dinner is ready – often cooked over the coals too.
Everyone turns in early after a long and happy day in Pridelands. The daily life of 18 students from nine countries who are on the year-long Professional Field Guide course. It’s the experience of a lifetime, and every one of them is truly in their element. Tomorrow will be similar, yet also absolutely different and filled with adventure and delight, learning and laughter.
The Pridelands Big Game l Between The Sticks l EcoTraining
In today’s episode of Between the Sticks, we give you a behind-the-scenes look at how students stay active during camp life, such as a game of soccer.
Pridelands Big Game is a metaphor for the competitive nature of the soccer game in camp and the high-profile wildlife species that Pridelands Camp is renowned for. Watch the video to see the various wildlife references between a competitive game of soccer and wildlife behaviour.
About the Author:
For Keri, travel is life, like breathing. She is a modern-day nomad from her home in the Cape to Cairo, Abidjan to Zanzibar, into the Middle East, Europe and Asia. With about 50 countries visited date, her stories are told on blogs and websites and in over 3 000 magazine feature articles spanning over 20 years.
Previously an award-winning editor on various South African lifestyle, travel and wildlife publications, Keri has worked freelance since 2001 and published articles in over 100 magazine titles. Every day, Keri wakes up to write or to travel, and her greatest wish is to inspire people through her stories to pack their bags and allow the travel bug to bite.