Starting fire with sticks

29th October 2013

Wednesday 16th October 2013

Half four wake up is now the norm for the morning game drive, tough after a disturbed night with eles in the camp.

Today’s focus was mock field observations again but this time concentrating on tracks.

In between locations we had a great viewing of a female hyena trotting along, she was so nonchalant, not surprising given her size.

Our stop for tea and rusks was pretty special, we knew there was an Ele in the riverbed, so we stopped and waited. He eventually came out of the reeds which gave us such a close view.

We watched him feeding on the sycamore figs, at one point he almost went up onto his hind legs to reach the branches, that would have been such a great sighting.

Our sleep out spot was about thirty mins from camp on a riverbed. Once we’d set up we had the afternoon off.

People used the time in lots of different ways, some dug a big hole, others carved wood, plenty took part in the favourite sport of throwing dung and the rest revised.

We were split out of our normal groups and set a challenge of staring a fire using sticks. We had a sycamore fig base plate and a red bush willow drill. Taking it in turns we managed to start a fire in about twenty minutes.

My luck is pretty rubbish, I drew the 0200-0300 sentry shift again, this time with Ben. The fullish moon made it really easy to see, no need for a torch.

Plenty of activity on our watch to remind you that we were very much in the wild – eles feeding on the river bank, hyena calling, lions roaring and leopard mating. At one point one ele came out onto the river and another went to sleep, we could tell by the snoring.

In the next shift the eles crossed the river bed just behind the Landy and walked up to about two metres to were Duncan and Joost were sleeping.

These 7 tonne eles are incredibly huge when you’re lying in your sleeping bag on a river bed.

Very little sleep for all during the night. Going to be pretty shattered for tomorrow’s “field observation” test.