Hi there everyone!

A lot has happened yet again since our last update on the FGASA level one course. Spectacular memories have been made and the ‘once in a lifetime’ sightings continue to prevail…

The yawn of a cheetah…

Every single week unexpectedly out-competes the previous one. We spend all our nights around the fire discussing how incredible each day has been and how unbelievable it is to learn and experience countless incredible things in the bush every single day. To wake up with that hunger for the day to begin and the utter excitement to see what nature has in store for us is truly amazing.

We had our very first cheetah sighting! It was a beautiful male cheetah resting in the heat of the day. We spent quite a bit of time observing the rare cat as he elegantly posed and yawned for us. We also had another stunning lion sighting. Three gorgeous males doing what they do best… resting!

We have had countless majestic elephant sightings, even in camp which is always absolutely incredible. Our wild dog sightings have also improved as we had the privilege of seeing these gorgeous animals around the reserve. All this and a blood-curdling three metre long black mamba! A highlight for many on the course. We have been so incredibly lucky!

A large female leopard with a Nyala kill

What an incredible sight!

The lucky leopard sightings haven’t been scarce either! We have had many unique and unforgettable sightings of these magnificent cats… One in particular was when a female leopard and her cub sat in a tree and protected their meal (and themselves!) from an impressive female spotted hyena lurking below waiting for any scraps to fall to the ground. To see a leopard cub is wonderful enough… but to see this whole interaction was priceless!

Another unbelievable scene took place as we watched a different female leopard rip a Nyala to pieces as she fed on her well-deserved meal. We watched her in awe as she enjoyed her meal in the safety of a Marula tree with her cub lying in the shade of a small shrub on the ground below. No one can describe the adrenaline rush after witnessing something like this! Our most recent leopard sighting was when we were out on drive scanning the area for grasses to identify when all of a sudden we spotted a leopard right next to the road on a termite mound. We enjoyed the sighting before speculating which grass the leopard was lying on 🙂

A curious female buffalo approaching a pack of wild dogs!

The stare of a buffalo bull

We approached an enormous herd of buffalo which we saw in the distance when suddenly we got a huge surprise and found the wild dogs… again! They spent the heat of the day lying down under a couple of Magic Guarris until the buffalo started grazing in their direction. Both parties were completely unaware of each other and we couldn’t wait to see how their unexpected meeting would unfold… A curious female buffalo was the first to break the ice as she approached the pack and gave a short burst of a chase to intimidate the scurrying dogs. Absolutely unforgettable!

The class of September 2014

The lodge placements were a massive success as all of our students learnt how a five-star lodge operates… inside and out!

They had the opportunity to learn first hand from experienced field guides how to conduct the ultimate guided experience. They worked in the kitchen learning how the food is prepared and the procedures that take place to make sure everything runs smoothly. They learnt how to change tyres on the game viewer as well as how to do a basic service on the vehicle and to make sure that is is spotless and polished at all times. They were involved in habitat management as they had the opportunity to implement a number of conservation management practices. Laundry was another department where they learnt what goes on behind the scenes to ensure the guests’ rooms are immaculate. The students had the opportunity to see some of the fully furnished rooms and what has to happen on a daily basis to maintain the highest standard.

All in all it was priceless experience!

Another amazing bush walk

More of the wonderful wild dog…

We recently saw the most beautiful lion brothers. The bond between the two was truly incredible to see. They are in a coalition with one other male and seem to be the dominant male lions in the area at the moment. It has been an amazing couple of weeks in terms of experience and knowledge gained as well as unforgettable sightings.

The ANT Blog

Sand River males