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Below the lastest Report from the Eco Training Game Ranging Practical Selati Camp. For more information go to www.ecotraining.com
September was definitely the month for rhinos! There seemed a proliferation of the prehistoric-looking pachyderms on the Selati Game Reserve this month and we clocked up ten different individuals on separate occasions in various different postures, be it feeding contentedly 50m from us on a Mopane-rich ridge or typically drinking at Gallon's Dam at the end of a hot day.
And summer really has arrived with the barest of announcements! Only the profuse flowering of the Knobthorns and Weeping Boer-beans alluded to the fact that it was in fact September (and spring!) and not mid-December! We have already hit the mid 30C's with only the very distant (and occasional) rumble of thunder to torment us and allude to the coming November rains (hopefully!). The students quickly began to bemoan the bone-dry state of the Selati River that runs past camp, but after an exercise in orientation and locating water, soon engineered a river 'Jacuzzi' elephant-style! It could hardly accommodate all 20 students but provided a little relief for the die-hard volleyball or touch rugby players!
The lion sightings this month have been lovely with the pride being viewed a couple of times atop the boulder-strewn Lillie koppies. It is seldom that one has the pleasure of watching lions on rocks! With the sinking sun bringing out their golden colour and highlighting the males' manes, the scenes were something alike those in Disney's 'Lion King '!.
Other specials this month included the return of the yellow billed kites and Wahlberg's Eagles from the northern hemisphere. The Wahlberg's pair nearest camp comprises a brown and pale form individual. We have also had a few sightings of the relatively rare white breasted cuckoo shrike - once even a pair in tandem! An African Wild Cat provided some unusual and special viewing and both eland and sable featured as more regular sightings than normal - both on foot and in the vehicle.
As usual the students did two sleep outs and this time we tried a new spot along the river with a spectacular view of the Selati bed meandering through a grove of Sycamore Figs and Jackalberries complete with attendant Green Pigeons. A deeper pool of water at this location provided a welcome and long awaited swimming opportunity for those who dared brave the icy-ness of it first thing in the still-chilly mornings!
Other highlights included several very well presented bush dinners, a tree-ID bonanza, birding mornings, group presentation competitions ( where students have to research topics and then present their findings in an engaging manner to practice communication skills and techniques - adding an incentive works like a bomb and many laughs were had!), koppie climbs and explorations, breakfast on a viewing deck against a koppie in the north of the reserve that overlooks the whole reserve (after a paced walk there!) and a visit to the sable breeding project and quarantine facility.