EcoTraining. A bit of this and that at Karongwe Camp

Jackals feature prominently in traditional folklore around the world, often as wily tricksters who are up to no good. ... Jackals live by their wits and their reputation as the tricksters of the animal world is due to their keen ability to survive.




Three of the best in the guiding industry in one image.

EcoTraining instructor, Ruggedwear shirt and a FGASA membership badge.

What more can you want?



Meals are not just served, they have to be ‘earned’. The students get turns to be the duty team for meals and are thus taught hospitality and how to present food to guests (or in this case their fellow students)




Waiting patiently for both food and the challenge of the meal. Often it is ‘name the bird call’ or something similar. Every meal becomes a learning experience. No one goes hungry though and if you do not know the answers to the questions, you will eventually get to enjoy the meal prepared by the kitchen staff.




Breakfast is served after the morning activity, but before heading out on either a drive or a walk, the students are able to enjoy coffee and risks and even a bowl of cereal.

The full hot breakfast varied every morning and consisted of fruit, toast as well as eggs and sausage (in this instance). The various dietary requirements of the students and the instructors are accommodated.




The rebuilt office wing of the camp. From left to right, the doors lead to…a computer centre, the instructor office and a toilet.




My last visit to the camp was towards the end of 2019, and in the intervening time, the resident Nyala herd has grown exponentially. Although wild, and need to be treated with respect, they are very relaxed around the camp and tend to ignore what the humans are doing.




Karongwe is a Big 5 reserve, and hence when walks are undertaken the instructors and the back-ups are armed with a weapon of an appropriate calibre. Either a .375 or a .458, which are only used when there is no other solution to a specific situation. That being said, when observing dangerous game species while out on foot, the object of the exercise is to get in and out of the sighting without the animal changing its behaviour.




A pre-walk briefing. An important part of the activity so that all involved are aware of what will be expected during the outing. For safety reasons, weapons are not checked on site but are loaded and made safe once out of the camp.




Leading out in an orderly fashion. Spacing between students and silence is maintained while walking.




Although the group had left in an orderly fashion, when the rain came pelting down about 10minutes into the walk, the rules were relaxed so that they could scurry back to camp to limit how wet they would be.

I had considered going out with them but at the last moment, I decided to stay in camp to get some images and to do some editing…As it turned out, it was the correct decision.




It is all about product placement.

I always wondered why EcoTraining instructors were insistent on students having binoculars…now I understand. Not only do they enable you to use both hands to explain a point, but it gives you better posture as you have to stand up straight in order not to spill any.

Thanks to Michael Anderson for teaching me this important bush hack.



Ending off the day the way it began. Students in the lecture room put in some work after dinner. Many of them would spend time here transcribing notes that they had made on the afternoon activities.

Soon the lights will be turned off and they will make their way to their tents to get some well-earned sleep before being woken by a beating drum, well before sunrise.

Just the end of another day in the African bush.

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