Wildlife encounters around every corner

Henry Parson, head instructor at EcoTraining’s Mashatu camp in Botswana, shared his highlights from this past week.  “All the usual suspects have been around lately. We had frequent sightings of the giants of Mashatu, the elephants, who made regular visits to our camp at night. Once it’s all quiet and everyone has settled in for the night they stroll into camp to feed. You can imagine how magical it is to lie in bed listening to elephants feeding right outside your tent.

The lions have also been rather active. We all woke one morning to them serenading us. Two days later while out on a walk, we found the three lionesses in the marsh and spent the morning watching them from the safety of a ridge overlooking the marsh. We went out that same afternoon in a safari vehicle to find them again and found them lazing in the shade with full bellies. They had killed a warthog earlier and we could only find bits and pieces as evidence of the kill.

As if that sighting was not enough… we had another great lion encounter. We were out by sunrise using the cool early hours of the morning to our benefit as the days are already heating up. We found some fresh elephant tracks and not too long afterwards we found the elephants. We climbed a rather large rock to have a better view of our surroundings.

Then Gert, one of our backups, spotted a lioness. This was a monster sighting as she was more than a kilometre away. Off we went dodging elephants, full of anticipation to spot the lions again.  As we approached the area where we had last seen the lioness, we slowed down scanning the bush ahead intently. I stopped suddenly and about 200 metres away lay one of the male lions. Luckily the wind and sun were in our favour as we made our approach.

As we drew nearer, I heard a warthog squeal and saw the male trotting in the direction from which the pig was squealing. We rounded a bush just in time to see the male and two females killing a large warthog, his friend trotting away lucky to still be alive. We sat in the shade of a mustard bush, watching them feed less than a hundred metres away. They were oblivious to our presence and we were able to just sit and watch and soak up the scene that unfolded in front of us. Once it was all done, we snuck away without them ever knowing we were there”.

There is never a day that is the same in the African bush. Every single day brings its own surprises. Sometimes we get lucky and encounter wildlife around every corner and other days we get to just appreciate the varied beauty of the African bush. However, we can assure you that there will never be a dull moment on an EcoTraining course.

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Annemi Zaaiman

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