The importance of game paths
A blog by Jack Hutchinson (Head trainer at the Bushwise Balule campus)
Every guide or tracker will at some point in their career wonder ‘where that game path goes?’
We take many hours and even months to study and remember the road networks of reserves. This is mainly not to get lost, but also to call in sightings.
A game path is a naturally occurring pathway made by animals – typically a well used track going to and from water. Game paths are not mapped and can go unnoticed for many years, especially in the summer months when the grass and bush is very thick. Some can be kilometres long while others may be as short as an average car driveway.
These beautiful little roads take you away from the normal game driving routes. They can lead to brand new discoveries that do not get seen by many guides and guests.
These paths can take you past the remains of dead animals, which may sound odd, but showing guests a skeleton of a large mammal like an elephant is a basket of interest for the guests and adds incredible value to their experience. A very common question from guests is “Where are all the dead animals that lions eat?” An equally common answer is “Somewhere in the bush.” These game paths can take you and your guests to these little gems.
Learning where game paths go can help with the tracking and finding of animals. Some of the big 5 (like lions) prefer to walk on these paths and not through thick bush. Often, these paths cut across large expanses of the bush, so knowing how these link up can save a lot of time.
Next time you are out in the bush learning roads have a look around for game paths and then take a walk to find out where they go. Who knows, you may discover something new and exciting to share with your guests and other guides.