A week with lions and leopards

A week with lions and leopards

BY: David Miles

Camp manager blogs are written by our current students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

I enjoyed being camp manager during an eventful week! The week started with game drives and practical observation tests. We learned about animal feeding signs, as well as local trees and shrubs. 

 

A Bushwise student identifying a plant.

 

On Tuesday, we had game drives in the morning and afternoon, practising for our practical game drives. 

During a practical drive on Wednesday morning, we observed a herd of elephants and had an amazing lion sighting following a tip from the guests at the connecting reserve who had spotted the lions just hours before they were scheduled to leave for the airport!

My favourite subject is probably tracking because I love how you can connect guests to nature. Tracking during a game drive gets the guests involved in the natural experience and helps build a real-life understanding of animal behaviour.

 

Track and sign is an important part of the field guiding course.

This image was taken pre-COVID-19. 

 

On Thursday, we had the long-awaited assessment on mammals, amphibians, and arthropods, which tested our ability to recognise different species from photos and sound recordings. The rest of the students and I had been talking about this test for a long time, and we studied hard to learn to identify birds based on their calls, and other animals like mammals based on their features. 

Despite all the hard work, we all enjoyed the experience of the test and I think all the studying we did for it will really help us when leading game drives in the future.

After the test, the students got to go on a trip to town to get some supplies. On the way back from town, we saw a leopard with an impala kill less than 25 metres from our vehicle. It was a fantastic sight!

 

A leopard feeding on an impala.

 

We went on interesting bush walks on Friday morning and afternoon, focusing on identifying birds by sound for the bird exam we had coming up in a few days’ time. Oxpeckers, rollers and kingfishers were our group of students’ personal favourites. 

During our walk, we came across a giraffe that had been killed by lions. We had been tracking these lions from the river for a few kilometres, so this was an exciting discovery! 

It was a week I’m sure none of us will ever forget. 

Spend time in the African safari and get to share your story like David. Join a Bushwise course.