Under the full moon. A sleep out with EcoTraining, Selati Camp

As part of their Trails Guide course,
the EcoTraining students get to sleep out,
when the occasion allows.
During my recent visit to Selati Camp,
 I was fortunate enough to join them for an evening under the stars.
This was where the Instructor decided that we should bed down for the night.
No tents, just a sleeping bag, a bedroll
and the bare essentials to keep us warm and safe
 during the night that lay ahead.


First things first…
There are priorities when setting up a campsite.
And a designated toilet area is one of the first to be established.
All you need is a lantern, a spade and a roll of toilet paper.


Setting up the site became a learning experience.
To what kind of animal did this dung belong?
Answers on a postcard, please…

Sleeping out is not like being on a reality TV show.
We did not have to rub sticks together to get the fire started.
Lighters were allowed.
No tree branches were broken in the making of our fire.
The wood had to be collected from areas identified by the instructor
as being sustainable and the removal would not affect the environment.

This particular log turned into a mini-chimney of sorts.
Or, if you were a fan of Game of Thrones,
it could have been the nostril of one of the Dragons!
The ‘accommodation’.
For those who had ARH ( advanced rifle handling) qualifications,
they had rifles with them.
I did not, but I did have my trusty Leatherman with me…
Just in case.
Back up Trails guide, Aagje Vander Plaetse had brought her guitar with her.
Not a single verse of Kumbaya was sung,
but she did a great cover of ‘Stand by me’.
This is how we were serenaded:


Dinner had been made back at camp and brought with us.
There was pasta was on the menu,
but marshmallows, on a stick, in the fire
 seemed to be the more popular option.
Full moon kept watch over us as we hunkered down in our sleeping bags.
It turned out to be a very cold night and sleeping fully clothed
was the option that I chose.
We all had to take a turn at guard duty.
Staying up for an hour at a time to keep watch…
and to make certain that the fire remained burning
and the water remained on the boil.
It had been a long while since I have sat alone in the darkness,
listening to the gentle snoring of others.
And then THIS occurred…
I had heard this vocalization in the distance,
but I did not expect it to get this close.
Sitting in the moonlight, not being able to discern which direction
the sound was coming from certainly made me hyper-aware of my
surroundings and how unsuited we humans are to being in nature.
Take a listen:


The next morning, after a quick coffee and something to eat,
it was time to clean up the campsite and return it to as close
to the condition that we had found it in.
The fire had to be doused correctly and the cold ashes scattered.
The wood that we did not use had to be properly dispensed with.
The entire area was swept with leafy tree branches
so that not even footprint would be left behind.


After an exciting night out under the stars,
it was back to camp where the books awaited…
For the students at least.
For me, it was a shower and some photo editing.
This is the EcoTraining mission statement…
1] Vision: To be the Global leader in environmental education
 by reconnecting people with nature…
For me, the most important part of that statement
 is the word *reconnecting.
2] Mission: To provide inspirational & immersive learning experiences
 for professional safari guides and guardians of nature
and finally…
3] Values: Inspire. Professionalism. Caring and Accountability.
Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself and your future?
If so, then visit their website for more information:
A big thank you to each of these brands
 for coming on board.
This has been my constant travel companion
for the past several years.
It might look worn,
but that represents the kilometres/miles
we have shared together.
From Kilimanjaro to the beaches of India.
To coach trips across Europe and Vietnam
and to a variety of game lodges and road trip destinations
 in South and Southern Africa.
Check out their Facebook page:
This torch has been turning heads!
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:
My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.
Bush gear to make me blend in…
in comfort and style.
Breaking in my new pair of Yellow Veldskoen Shoes.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.
Now to try out the rest of the colours in the range.
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high-speed fibre connectivity
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.
This Powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by…
ALWAYS choose to be Batman.
My constant travelling companion.
To find out more about the collectable Funko range of figurines,
I could not do without this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely a stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack.
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple…and it is,
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows moving from supported
to handheld in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product,
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:
To see who else were winners in 2018, visit:
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and may not be used without permission