It is a 7 hour drive from Johannesburg to the EcoTraining camp
at Makuleke, in the far north of Kruger National Park.
For this reason I had left home at 04h15,
and this was my coffee stop as the sun rose
at 06h28 over the N1 highway.
With permission, you can drive to the EcoTraining camp.
Otherwise you can leave your car at Pafuri Gate
and a staff member from camp will collect you.
In case, like me, your Google maps "vanish",
use these directions to guide you there:
They are accurate, as I measured them...twice!
From Pafuri gate to the Outpost sign: 5.7km
From the Outpost sign to the turn-off on the left: 5.4km
From the turn-off to the four-way intersection: 4.5km
From the four-way intersection to
the turn off (on the right) to the camp parking area: 3.4km
From the turn off to the parking: 0.9km
The camp is well hidden in a grove of Nyala Berry trees
and is invisible from the main road.
But the trees are rather distinctive
and therefore easier to find than the actual camp site.
By the time I eventually got to the EcoTraining camp,
I was certainly ready for a steaming cup of coffee.
I was at Makuleke to join students on the Trails Guide course.
Join me as I share my first impressions of the camp.
My first view of the camp site walking from the car park...
Still well hidden in amongst the Nyala Berry trees,
the accommodation looked impressive.
Course participants share accommodation. (2 students per tent)
All the tents are identical, with a large sleeping area, an outside covered deck
and an attached bathroom.
From what I saw, many of the students on this course
had personalized their accommodation.
Either by bringing exercise equipment or, as in this case, a hammock.
There is hanging and shelf space in the tents,
but it does look like my suitcase had exploded.
This was as close as I got to unpacking.
I tend to live out of my suitcase no matter how long my stay is.
I have a suspicion that this Rock Monitor lizard
was coming to see if I had any snacks secreted in my bag.
It left dissapointed.
The stairway to one of the tents,
caught in the early morning light.
The surrounding vegetation totally hides the tent.
Some Tree Squirrels indulging in some early morning love...
For the uninitiated, the alarm call of this rodent
could be mistaken for a bird call.
One of the EcoTraining students hard at work.
The Trails guide course is intense and there are both theory and practical
aspects that need to be passed during the final assessment.
Students would often arrive at breakfast with their work books!
A Forked-tailed Drongo enjoying a meal on my doorstep.
This part of Kruger is a birders paradise and the early mornings
in camp were filled with a variety of calls.
To listen, click on this audio link:
Sunset...and another magical African day comes to a close.
It had been a very long day for me and a shower and bed beckoned.
But there was dinner first...
The sound of the cow hide drum calls all to meal times.
The beating of this could be heard in the farthest reaches of the camp.
And, with all the walking that the students (and I) did,
we did not need to be summoned a second time.
Post sunset and pre-dinner...
The sky had clouded over in the late afternoon.
A portend of the rain that was soon to follow.
Like all the EcoTraining camps, Makuleke is unfenced.
The immersive experience allows for interactions that
often lead to "calling cards" like these being discovered on the paths.
I had seen and heard this elephant feeding outside my tent
in the middle of the night, so this was no surprise.
Sunrise...and another day begins!
I would like to thank the camp staff, instructors and the students
for making me welcome.
If you are considering being part of the guiding industry,
then contact EcoTraining for their course dates and costings.
This is 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
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:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.
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.
Even when you are "knee-deep" in poop,
ALWAYS choose to 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: