It has been a great few months for Garonga Safari Camp, not just with occupancy but also game activity, staff training, and a school visit.
Muchuchi Primary School Visit:
We recently invited 6 school children (8-12yrs old) and their Principal from Muchuchi Primary School to a day at Garonga. It began by showing them around the different departments led by a member of staff who works within each particular department. This was then followed by a general talk on conservation, poaching, and other general topics. Patson Sithole, one of the very few Master Trackers in the Country who lives on the Makalali Reserve, was extremely powerful, funny and full of good old-fashioned stories from his boyhood to where he is now. They then enjoyed a BBQ lunch up at Little Garonga, followed by a Safari Drive of their own.
None of them had seen these wild animals in their natural environment and so it was a great eye-opener for them all. The day ended with the presentation of gifts and a fond farewell to them all. It was very humbling having these very enthusiastic young children visit. You can read more about this school initiative here
The Safari teams had 5 days of intense training with Adriaan Louw focussed on trails, signs, and tracking. It was extremely productive for all, and most improved their results from the previous time about 3 years ago. All our trackers are Tracker Level 3. All guides got above the required 75%, some as high as 95%. A big thanks to Adriaan for really improving the skills and techniques for our safari teams.
Shortly after this, safari teams and some of the general staff were taken on first aid training for 4 days under the great trainer, Andrew Millar. We carry out first aid training every 6 months. The aim here was to refresh or improve on the previous training. All safari guides, and some key members of general staff, achieved or improved on, their previous grades and reached Level 2 or maintained their Level 2. The training ended up with some firefighting training on the airstrip.
At last, and after many years of waiting, the Makalali Reserve has released the buffalo from the ‘breeding boma.’ Some buffalo, of course, decided they quite liked their home and would not move out. This has been resolved by removing the fence. So now we finally have free-roaming buffalo.
The 3 wild dogs that we received recently have now also been released into the reserve. We hope they stay, but generally, they tend to escape out the fences. Time will tell.
All photos © Sophie Barrett