Life as a trainee Trails Guide: Stalking skills….
Ulovane Update: This will probably come up a lot, but wow, time flies. It’s already our 5th week and it feels like we arrived here yesterday.
Week 5 was another week full of amazing walks. On Piet’s side we had quite some amazing encounters We had quite a fright on Monday! I was walking as a lead and we came to a little corner in the road where we had a good view of the plains in front of us. We stopped there to have a look at the animals ahead of us. Suddenly, we hear a growl and the squealing of a warthog. Most of us had no idea what was going on until Piet said “Guys that was a lion kill”. After that everybody jumped into action pretty quickly. A while later we didn’t hear much else, but when we concentrated we could hear her dragging her kill and breathing loudly when she was eating. We stayed there for another 30 minutes and then everything went absolutely silent. We couldn’t hear her, we couldn’t hear any birds, we couldn’t hear anything. That’s when we decided we needed to get the hell out of there. As back-up I took the group to safe space underneath a tree about 300m down the road while Piet walked behind us facing where we thought the lioness was. We put some distance between us then I looked around and saw Piet standing quite far from us. Eventually he caught up with us and told us that we were being stalked by the lioness. He crossed her path as she was stalking us and took her by surprise, which probably saved our lives as it made her stop stalking us. It was quite the adventure and I learnt a lot of lessons as a back-up and as being a lead.
Other than that we had some amazing sightings of the buffalo at several times on Kariega East. Piet’s group has also done quite a few bits of mock assessments for our upcoming tracking assessment. I think it’s safe to say that it has helped everybody a lot and we’re feeling a lot more confident for the tracking next week. Overall it was a really good week in Ralph’s group, walking as lead a few times now I’ve definitely learnt a lot. Coming across a close encounter with a Buffalo Cow and Bull about 20 metres away was quite an experience, glad it happened so I know what I can improve on for the next time.
We had some really awesome sightings, one of them being from within a Boer Bean tree . Leaning a lot more about birds and tracks, which really underlines what Trails is about, you don’t get to do much of it from within a vehicle. I think everyone will agree that Trails is one of the better aspects of being a Nature Guide.
Emma & Troye
Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley