June 6, 2012

AN AARDVARK, HYENAS AND SOME SNORING…



The sleep out is a highlight on any EcoTraining course and something the students always look forward to. With baited breath one has to add as you never know who or what is lurking when day makes way for night underneath African skies. It is an adventure nonetheless and something not to be missed.

Heidi Kemsley, a participant on a 28 day safari guide course at our wilderness camp in Karongwe, shares her group’s recent experience.

“Last weekend saw us packing up our bed rolls and sleeping bags and heading off to a remote spot of Karongwe . The boys were obviously keen to show off their skills as campfire makers and braai masters! Out in front were “Real Kevin” and “Side-kick Denton”, not to mention Lupo, waving his “Norderichstacke”-fire poking stick around.

“With the exception of a few hyena calls it was a relatively quiet night, that is until the snoring began. Poor Peter took the main blame with Helmut coming in a close 2nd!

“We all took our turn at camp watch with Harmony whiling away her two hours of duty keeping an inquisitive gerbil entertained with a breakfast rusk. By 04:00 both Johan and I took our turn to stoke the fire and keep watch over the by now snoring students. But actually it was us being watched by a black-backed jackal and at least three hyenas, probably returning to their den just a kilometre away.  

“The following evening found us up at the hyena den. We arrived to hear the matriarch vocalizing with strange low growls which we soon ascertained was directed at the four juveniles. Not long after we realised why. The muffled squeaks of young cubs alerted us to their presence and they made a brief appearance at the entrance to the den. The juveniles were emitting strange whines until one of the sub-females lay down in front of us and allowed them to suckle. Great interaction from all the clan members!


“Our evening was complete with the sighting of the rear end of an aardvark, making head instructor Dale Geldenhuys’s day. After very many near misses, this was his first sighting. He was indeed one very happy guide!”
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