“Expect the unexpected” – that’s what we say when you book yourself on to this 55 day Field Guide Course in Kruger National Park, South Africa, or Botswana. It is specifically structured to maximise your practical experience in the bush, and Sometimes you don’t even have to venture out of the confines of the wilderness camp to experience nature at its finest.
This is certainly what happened to Kassie, 26, a recent FGASA Level One student, at the Selati camp, when a lioness bagged herself a meal right in front of the lecture hall.
“We were in the ‘classroom’ discussing our mini presentation on the history and culture of South Africa, when suddenly we heard a loud squealing sound. We all stopped mid-sentence and stared at each other’s shocked faces. Just as we were all questioning our own ears, suddenly there it was again! This time there was no mistake, it was most definitely something screaming for its life and it was close. It was coming from the dry Selati Riverbed right in front of the classroom – which is nothing more than a concrete floor, four pillars and a roof.
Margaux, one of our instructors, told us to stay put while she went to investigate. Her husband JP, the head instructor at Selati, came running from their tent at the other end of camp. ‘Margi, what’s happening?’ he was shouting in his broad South African accent. They briefly spoke in Afrikaans then quickly, but carefully, went down to the river bed.
We all stood watching with eager faces, twitching, waiting for that sign that would let us know we could come closer and see what was making that awful noise that was exciting us so much!
Then finally it happened. JP twitched his finger, which sent me sliding down the bank to see what was happening. I was crouched behind them, and then with a whisper as we were hiding behind some vegetation on the bank, he stretched out his finger and said ‘There, by the rocks, there is a lioness!’
We crawled along the sloping bank towards the lioness, but still remaining at a safe distance. She had pinned down a poor unsuspecting warthog by some rocks, which held a small pool of water. The poor thing must have been taking an afternoon drink in the hot sun before 130kg of teeth and claws jumped on it…”
So, if you’re one of these adventurous types, wanting to experience the excitement of the bush whilst gaining a greater understanding of how to interpret the ecology, this practical Field Guide Course is such a fabulous opportunity. Students should expect the unexpected, while taking part in game drives and bush walks where they will see Africa at its very best.
“A profound experience that taught me to see nature instead of only looking at it. I now have a better understanding of all interacting parts that form an ecosystem and how they are connected. An exciting new world has opened up!” Jaap
Do you have your own story, of an unexpected incident in Africa?