It was great getting back to the Ecotraining camp yesterday afternoon. I got a great welcome and enjoyed catching up with everyone over a few beers and a braai. A lot had gone on despite the fact I was only away for a week. One of the students, Liz, had been taken ill with Malaria, the Landagreenie was no more and sadly the characterful resident Impala, Steve, had died.
There was a leopard calling on the ridge behind camp as the sun was setting, despite taking a drive to find it we had no luck. I had even less luck trying to convince everyone that it was calling closer to camp when I tried imitating it by sawing a piece of wood on the deck of my tent. According to Estes, the renowned author on African Mammals, “The distance call of a leopard, given both while inhaling and exhaling, sounds a lot like someone sawing wood. A typical series has 13-16 ‘strokes’ in a period of a dozen seconds.
It was Jomi’s turn to go on leave today so I dropped him at the gate after we’d done the morning chores. We bumped into the musth bull on Pafuri Main. He was heading our way and simply moved into the Mopane when he heard us coming. Neither Duncan and I are walking at the moment as there are a couple of “back-ups” with us from KPAMA who are clocking up their hours and encounters. This meant that once we had everything done around camp we were able to get on with some self study and fitness which for me included a 10k in the afternoon along with a stop each lap for some weights.
The trails students are having some great encounters, as they would with the legendary Alan MacSmith in camp. Last night they trailed a bull elephant that had been hanging around camp, once they found him Alan simply sat everybody down and let the elephant come right up to them to have a little nose.