Monday, April 8, 2019

Eco Training,a morning drive....Selati Game Reserve.

Pour yourself a cup of your favourite beverage
and join me on a voyage of discovery that I was
a part of for just a few days.
I was recently invited to visit the EcoTraining facility
 in the Selati Game Reserve.
What I discovered was truly inspirational.
Let me put this into context.
The mission statement of the company is... 
1] Vision: To be the Global leader in environmental education
 by reconnecting people with nature...
(The most important part of that statement is the word *reconnecting
But more about that later).  
2] Mission: To provide inspirational & immersive learning experiences
 for professional safari guides and guardians of nature
and finally...
3] Values: Inspire. Professionalism. Caring and Accountability.

Days start early in the bush...
Waking up in an unfenced camp, 
with lions vocalizing relatively close by was more exciting
than be woken by a regular alarm clock.
The tents in Selati are not supplied with electricity,
 so dressing by torch light was required.
Having been a Boy Scout MANY years ago, 
I was well prepared and had laid out my clothes the previous evening.

Not a full moon but bright enough to allow me to see the pathways
and to make certain that there was nothing untoward lurking in the bushes.
Fun fact #89: Did you know that the line that splits the moon in half 
is called the 'terminator'?

The sun, starting to peek through the trees, 
the camp started to wake.
The kitchen was already a hive of activity
as students and instructors alike were busy preparing hot-boxes
 while the water boiled for pre-drive tea and coffee.

Students "fight" to be in the tracker seat.
On this particular drive, that duty fell to
 one of the International students.

This young Impala ram had made it through the night!
They are one of the major prey species and seeing them in
 the early morning light means that they survived the hours of darkness. 
Impala are highly underrated as photographic opportunities,
mainly as a result of being seen constantly and in large numbers.
Fun fact #089: Only the males have horns. 
These can take several years to reach their
 full length of approximately 75cm.
The horns are used for both protection from predators
and for fighting during the build up to the mating season 
Only mature rams will fight for dominance or mating rights.
Younger males will play fight in preparation for 
a time when they will challenge the dominant male.
Fun fact #02: Males have a scent gland on their foreheads
 to convey their status to rivals. 
When a dominant male loses his position, he will produce less scent.

It is not only about the animals, birds or insects.
Students have to know about the vegetation and grasses as well.
For those who are wondering about the bird in the background,
it was a rather noisy Natal Spurfowl.

This is NOT the cast of the South African version of "Moonshiners".
This is roaming instructor Mike Meidlinger, flanked by two students
 as the trio watch a pair of lionesses lying on a rock

This is what they were observing...from a safe distance.
They might look sleepy and relaxed, 
but these predators can become highly mobile in a matter of seconds.
And with a top speed of  81kph,
they are certainly able to outrun a human...
even Usain Bolt.

A lone Hooded Vulture.
Fun fact #671: Their scientific name, Necrosyrtes monachus
means a "monk-like(bird) that drags away the dead".
Being the smallest of the vulture species,
they are able to utilize the thermals to their advantage
and are often first to a kill ahead of their heavier cousins.
Fun fact #580: As a result of their size and weak bill strength
they usually have to feed off scraps 
discarded by the more powerful vultures.
In an urban setting, they can be found scavenging in landfills. 

To end of the morning experience,
a stunning Woodland Kingfisher catching the mid-morning sunlight.
Fun fact#12: Of the 10 Kingfisher species found in Southern Africa,
only 4 have a diet that is solely based on fish.
This kingfisher falls into the first category 
and is known to be insectivorous.

Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself and your future?
If so, then visit their website for more information:

A big thank you to each of these brands
 for coming on board.

This has been my constant travel companion 
for the past several years.
It might look worn,
but that represents the kilometers/miles
we have shared together.
From Kilimanjaro to the beaches of India.
To coach trips across Europe and Vietnam
and to a variety of game lodges and road trip destinations
 in South and Southern Africa.
Check out their Facebook page:

This torch has been turning heads!
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:

My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!

When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.

I have worn the orange Veldskoen in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.
Now to try out the rest of the colours in the range.

When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

This Powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...

When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
My constant travelling companion.
To find out more about the collectible Funko range of figurines,

I could not do without this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,

This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:

To see who else were winners in 2018, visit:

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and may not be used without permission

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Instagram: Davidbatzofin

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