June 17, 2014

EcoTraining Selati - Sable Breeding Camp Trip

The students at Selati were given the opportunity to visit the sable breeding farm in the far north of the reserve.  The diversity of the course offered by EcoTraining is such that students are exposed to not only fascinating facts about the bush, but also how conservation management fits into the equation.  Sable are one of the rarest antelope to be found in southern Africa and their value is such that entire reserves are able to exist through their sales and breeding.  Selati is one of those areas and the 33,000 hectares are fully funded, not by commercial lodges, but exclusively through the funds generated by Sable breeding project.

We were met by the farm manager Hannes, a former guide who started with almost no knowledge about breeding Sable, but after 7 years of hard work is now one of the pioneers into Sable breeding and is the man responsible for generating the funds that allow Selati to prosper.  Hannes’ enthusiasm and love of sable is evident and he gave the students a detailed lesson in how they are bred and generate the income through the programme, as well as insightful information about the behaviour of this stunning animal.  The students were fascinated by the process and Hannes was subjected to a barrage of questions about the various processes!
After a couple of hours, we stopped for a packed breakfast in the bush before heading back to camp.  On the way, we stopped off at the largest baobab tree on the Selati reserve and received a quick lesson on this magnificent tree.  Although not as big as some specimens, for many it was their first time to see the fabled behemoth and all delighted in the experience.  The road back to camp was peppered with elephant damage and much energy was expended as the students discovered the delights of working in an area that comes complete with its own set of landscape gardeners!  Quite why the elephants seem to revel in felling trees across roads was beyond us, but we all enjoyed a bit of physical labour after to get the blood pumping!

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