May 17, 2012

CAMP DIARIES: HEART IN YOUR MOUTH STUFF! (PONGOLA, 17 MAY 2012)




The group of 11 EcoTraining FGASA Level One students (55 day course) currently at our wilderness camp in the Pongola region of KwaZulu-Natal are having the time of their lives. After starting at Karongwe in the northern parts of the country, they are finishing of their course with lots of exciting things happening a little further to the south.

Katie Rumble, a participant from Australia, describes a fantastic sighting they experienced just a couple of days ago:

“Yesterday morning we stumbled across a black rhino bull, my first encounter!  He was curious about the vehicle and came closer for a good look, not more than a couple of meters away. Sitting on the tracker seat my heart was in my mouth.

We then found a baby crocodile at the jetty area with a dung beetle in his mouth. On the way back to camp we came across a herd of elephants with babies.

The students trying their hand at fire making

The afternoon was equally exciting. We encountered the same herd of elephants and barely two minutes out of camp another black rhino. We didn't see him until we were almost on top of him. Some very still students and a calm instructor and rhino meant that we got a good look at him and snuck away without an issue.

Giving the bush a helping hand

This morning we enlarged an empty waterhole and will try our hand at bush encroachment removal later. I'm really having the time of my life with EcoTraining!”

Instructor Mark Gunn also used the bush telegraph to send through some clues on what the group have been up to:

“The scenery is fantastic with the dam and the mountains, the birding is also very good and there’s lots of new tree species for the tree fundi. We had a great viewing with two dung beetles fighting over a dung ball with such vigour that they broke the ball in half. At night the stars are fantastic, so are the stories around the fire!”



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