It looked like a Spotted Thicknee, but it is a Korhaan! I am sure it is a mongoose, whether it is a Dwarf, Slender, Banded or a White-tailed mongoose is a mystery to me! These are but a few questions that have been racing through our heads as we embark on the much anticipated Tracking week.
Day 1 kicked off with a meet and greet and an introduction to what would be expected of us as budding Track and Sign gurus. A very warm welcome to Colin Patrick of Colin Patrick Training, our host for the next 6 days and in my opinion, the Jedi Master of Track and Sign, as the rest of the students were soon to find out and agree with after assessment day!
Days 2, 3 and 4 were spent with morning and afternoon drives focused entirely on observing various tracks of animals, birds and reptiles in every conceivable habitat, from loose sandy soils, to muddy and rocky terrain in order to correctly identify. Minute details such as how many toes, how many lobes on the pads, which direction are these creatures moving, what are these creatures doing were some of the criteria looked at and studied. The permutations are endless, challenging and to say the least for some students, seemingly impossible. However, Colin, with his cool and calm demeanor gradually began to swing these students around, and the individual growth of each student as their confidence grew was amazing to witness.
One of the highlights of these few days in the African bush was a surprise visit from a large herd of elephant that interrupted one of the morning sessions. Students moved into a position of safety on high ground, whilst observing the elephant’s drinking water and interacting with one another only several meters away from them, all under the watchful eye of one of the trainers Cobus with his trusty .375 calibre “equalizer” should things have gone awry? Exciting stuff to say the least.
The fun stuff however come to a halt on day 5 and 6, as now, the assessments had begun! After a grueling 60 odd questions and scenarios, and a practical joke session at the end of the assessment that left one of the other trainers a “marked man” for playing along, the results were out.
Suffice to say, although some may not have achieved what they had set out to do, well Done to all! Especially those who got their Level 3 Tracker!
At least the week ended with all having being enriched by the wonderful world of nature surrounding us, and having being inspired by the teachings of aforementioned Colin Patrick. (The Jedi Master)
We look forward to seeing you again Colin!!
Trevor and the Bushwise team