Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Game drives from EcoTraining Karongwe Camp


Awake before sunrise on a perfect Autumn morning.
 Almost time for the participants in the EcoQuest course 
 to head out on an early morning game drive...
However,even in the semi darkness,
 there are warm beverages to drink
 and muffins/rusks to be eaten.

African Harrier Hawk and Fork-tailed Drongo
The hawk has long scaly legs and a long neck
for getting into the cracks and crevices where chicks and eggs might be secreted.
Fun fact #23: When the Hawk is agitated, the yellow pace patch turns bright red!
In this scenario, it is possible that the Drongo had a nest it was protecting.
This relatively small bird will attack large raptors 
that are intent on killing her offspring.

Three-banded Plover searching for a meal at Omega Dam.
This small wader can often be found on the extremities of water bodies
searching for insects, worms and small invertebrates.
Unlike some other wader species that will use their feet to scare up food,
this bird uses only sight.
We passed this dam again in the darkness on our way back to camp,
and the night chorus of  Painted Reed Frogs was almost deafening. 

A proud Impala ram giving me the eye.
Fun fact #370: The alarm call of this species will alert both humans
and others to the fact that there might be predators present.

Southern Yellow Billed Hornbills squabbling over sand bathing rights. 
It was eventually resolved by one of the pair flying off.

Blue Wildebeest being harassed by a Fork tailed Drongo?
Or is it the other way around?

Time for some early morning fun...
Rushing around for no apparent reason other the joy of being alive!

Land Rover or Land Cruiser?
The fight between these two fraternities is intense.
It is almost as fierce as the constant Canon or Nikon
debate that rages between photographers.
In the end, there was no consensus amongst our group
as tow what vehicle HAD left these.
For all we knew it could have been a FORD!
Not a part of the EcoQuest course curriculum,
just a bit of game drive fun.

Assistant instructor, Michael Anderson... describing a track to a couple of the
international guests on the EcoQuest course.
This course teaches participants that it is NOT always about the Big 5.
It is about enjoying all the aspects of the surrounding natural environment
and not rushing from one sighting to another.

Cape Glossy Starling.
In the Eastern Cape these were seen as an invader species,
much like the Common Myna in KZN.
Their iridescent plumage and their bright orange eyes,
makes them an easy species to identify. 

Fresh water Terrapin.
These small reptiles can often be found in puddles of rain water in the road.
When driving through these, guides use caution
so as not to harm them. 

The Black Stick Lily is also known as the Monkey's Tail,
derived from its Afrikaans name Bobbejaan's Stert,
Baboon's Tail.
This is a resilient plant that can withstand extreme conditions. 
It can also go for long periods of time without water.
Its medicinal properties includes the treatment of asthma
and an anti-inflammatory.

A trio of giraffe...referred to as a "journey" when moving.
Usually I am in a vehicle looking UP at these animals,
but here we were on a rocky outcrop looking DOWN on them.
A new and exciting perspective.

A leaping Kudu.
This female was part of a group
 that crossed in front of our vehicle.
The genders are easy to tell apart as only the males have horns.
Fun fact #902: Kudu react in two ways to impending danger. 
They either  move off silently or they dash off
 while emitting a  sharp alarm bark!

Spotted Hyena track...and the scat to prove it.
The word "scat" is used to describe predator droppings.
It is usually used only in the context of wild animals.

What a glorious spot for sun-downers.
Sunday's Rock...
with the Northern Drakensberg Mountain range in the distance,
partially hidden by the impending rain clouds.

Peering through the tall grass, this male White Rhino
was more interested in his food than he was in interacting with us.
It is a humbling experience to be so close to such a large creature.

A look at the EcoTraining mission statement... 
1] Vision: To be the Global leader in environmental education
 by reconnecting people with nature...
For me, the most important part of that statement
 is the word *reconnecting
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.
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.
BEST SUITCASE EVER!
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!
Photo:

Photo:
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.

Photo:
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.

Photo:
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,
visit:

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,
visit:


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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