Monday, July 22, 2019

At Mashatu with EcoTraining for Mandela Day.

The Icon...he would have been 101 this year.
In 2009, the United Nations declared that July 18th, Madiba's birthday
would be celebrated internationally as Mandela Day.
In tribute to the 67 years that he fought for equality and social justice,
communities, businesses and individuals were tasked
with 'giving back' for 67 minutes.
At Mashatu, the EcoTraining tracking group students,
 together with their instructors
and back up guides celebrated both Mandela the icon,
together with legendary musician Johnny Clegg,
who had died of pancreatic cancer a few days earlier.

With thanks to Des and Dawn Lindberg for permission to use both this image
 and the song "Woza Friday" that was recorded at one of their Soirees.
And the legend...
Johnny Clegg.
This posting is dedicated to his memory.
June 1953- July 2019.

I was with the EcoTracker students on the tracking course 
that took place in Mashatu, Botswana.
These were my experiences of this very special Mandela Day.

Ready, set GO...
It was time to clean up the Limpopo River...
The EcoTracker students, together with their instructors
 and back up guides.
Not only was the 67 minutes going to be spent on rubbish collection,
but it was also going to be used as a conservation walk/learning exercise.

One of the EcoTracker students with just some of the rubbish that was collected.
The variety of plastic and other foreign items were taken
 back to camp to be properly disposed of.

If you find Dung Beetle balls and you can juggle.
Then THIS is what you do...
These particular balls had been opened by a Honey Badger,
who had eaten the grubs inside.

Much of the 67 minutes allocated to the clean-up,
were utilized to uproot this noxious imported Mexican Poppy weed.
It serves no useful purpose and in fact parts of the plant
 are poisonous to both humans and animals.

Digging the weed up turned out to be back-breaking work,
and most of us ended up using our boots
 to get them out of the sandy river bed.

The local population uses elephant dung to 
get rid of evil spirits.
Does it work? I am not sure.
However, the pungent smell of the burning dung
 brought tears to my eyes

On the other hand, the smell of the anal paste of the civet
is sweet and almost perfume-like.
Not at all what either I or the EcoTracker students were expecting.
Seeing that Civet poo coffee is highly prized,
I can see that this too might one day be on the shelves
in upmarket fragrance shops worldwide!

EcoTracker student and guide heading back to the vehicles
after a very successful clean-up.
Camera, rubbish and rifle in hand.

As the sunset, it was time to head back to camp.
A day well spent from both a commemorative
as well as a learning experience.

Not quite African Sky Blue,
but certainly a starry night.

(Image by Norman Chauke)
 We ended off the day with a tribute to the 'Great Heart' himself.
Johnny Clegg
A time for introspection and a few moments of shared silence
 as the group listened to some of Johnny's best-known songs.
"Oh, it's funny how those once so close and now gone
Can still so affect our lives"
A line from...
The Crossing
Johnny Clegg.
Songwriters: William Stuart Adamson/ Mark Brzeziki/
Anthony Earl Butler/Bruce William Watson.

Unless credited, all images are the copyright property of
and may not be used without permission.

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
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 kilometres/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.

Breaking in my new pair of Green Veldskoen Shoes.
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...

ALWAYS choose to be Batman.
My constant travelling companion.
To find out more about the collectable 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 a 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,

To see who else were winners in 2018, visit:

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