March 7, 2012


EcoTraining’s wilderness camp in Mashatu, Botswana truly embodies all that defines Africa. This land of giants offers vast open spaces, making it almost impossible to take it all in, with an array of wildlife from the miniscule to the gigantic.

Philip Clay is a student on the one year professional field guide course, and spent some time at Mashutu for a birding course. He describes an unexpected adventure, a truly mesmerizing experience, in his own words:

I was on a lovely morning game drive, even though it was very hot with all the birds calling. We slowly made our way to the amphitheatre and got out to check for the barn owl in the crack of the rock.

There were fresh lion and elephant tracks in the soft sand, probably made earlier that morning. We got back into the vehicle and drove down to the river where there was a stunning tawny eagle having a drink of water due to the heat.

One of the other students pointed to the left of the water hole and there also having a drink, was a herd of elephants. As we were watching the elephants, somebody else heard branches breaking to our left. More elephants came walking through the dense bush, and then a wonderful sight, a lioness with three very adorable little cubs. The elephants however didn't like the lions in their presences and chased the mother and cubs with a fair bit of trumpeting.

We reversed back behind a bush as we were in an open area. We just sat and listened to all the commotion that was happening in front of our eyes, what an amazing feeling! Chantelle (our instructor) was so excited to see these lions again. I truly felt blessed just to be able to see these stunning animals.

But then it got even better! The three cubs and their mother came walking past and joined another lioness that was staring right at us, the lioness was ready to charge at any moment, not used to seeing game viewing vehicles. Fortunately she relaxed.

Both lionesses sat with the three cute cubs which were on the bank near the river. We just sat and watched these majestic animals for a while, appreciating their natural beauty.

I will never forget this amazing sighting of the two lionesses and the three cubs on a very hot day in Africa. Indeed, what a great day in the ‘office’, the wilderness of Botswana.

(Thank you Philip for the photos!)
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