Once again, another week has blown by, and what a week it has been! Yes, the much anticipated Cybertracker tracking week has come and almost gone. Since the program for the course was printed and pinned on the wall, students have been looking forward to this week, keen to learn as much as they can about the “bush newspaper.” The focus of the week has been to identify and interpret tracks and signs, yet the week started off with an amazing sighting. While on the way to one of the junctions to look for tracks, one of the vehicles came across a male lion and two lionesses. Having passed a herd of Kudu only metres back, we expected (and hoped) for a little bit of morning action to wake everyone up. After only a few minutes, success, but not in the way we had expected. A steenbok had been caught by the lions. A fantastic rare experience to witness first hand. Not a bad start to the week!
Tracking week then began in earnest. Morning and afternoon game drives were replaced with days spent staring at the ground, our eyes glued to the signs of the bush. Impala, kudu, civet, genet, leopard, black backed jackal, and the list goes on. Students and trainers alike were tested again and again, deciphering simple marks in the sand, creating a story of the events that occurred on that very soil. Celebrations were had at correctly untangling how a hornbill had taken a dust bath, and differing opinions were voiced as to what left claw marks and snake skin scales next to deep hole. Although not studying in the usual sense, students spent hours studying these marks in preparation for the Cybertracker assessment taking place today. I can safely say they are not the only ones keen to prove their worth and see just how much they know. And whether the answers are right or wrong, guaranteed, everyone has learnt many new things this week.
In the latter part of this week, an entire day was spent out on the reserve, with the aim to refresh ourselves on tracks learnt earlier on in the week. A full day of faces glued to the ground and dirty knees, meant that a distant herd of elephant crashing our lunch spot in the river was welcomed.
This week we had two other special guests joining us (Besides Colin of course!). Journalist for Nightjar Magazine, Erik Brits, once again joined our course, this time for the entire tracking week. Erik we hope you have enjoyed your time with Bushwise and now have an in depth view of what a field guide student’s life is like on our course. Our second special guest is local guide, Frank Ndlovu, who joins us for the Cybertracker course in a sponsored position. Frank has 16 years worth of experience as a tracker and we are happy to have assisted in attaining his formal track and sign qualification.
We have been extremely privileged to have such a knowledgeable and professional instructor, Colin Patrick. I would like to thank him, on behalf of everyone on the course, trainers included, for such great insight and invaluable information, as always. Thanks Colin!
(Frank, Erik & Colin)
So to end off another brilliantly mind indulging week, Good luck to everyone for today’s assessments, and remember, not all Grey duiker wear Steenbok shoes!
Until next time,
Rogan & The Bushwise Team