Well,who would have thunk??? Today 2 weeks ago I went to drop of my husband to do his Professional Hunters license course. I dropped him off late in the afternoon at the Selati Game Reserve. While waiting for the other prospective P.H 's, we got to talking to the director of the Hunting School and it wasn't long before he asked me why I wasn't doing the course with my husband....I said I don't like killing animals and mumbled something about the astronomical fees involved in doing it and what would we be eating until payday and we never organised anything about supervising on the farm and I haven't got enough knowledge on weapons and ammunition and bush craft and..and...and.... I said my goodbyes to Cules and left in a hurry,but had no sooner left the Reserve when my phone rang and I saw it was Cules calling me...I warily answered the phone and low and behold it was "go pack your bags and report for class at 6 o clock tomorrow morning!" I said "I can't leave Minki for a week,there is just no way" To which he replied that he had already gotten special permission for her to come with for the duration of the course!
The entrance to the Selati Private Reserve we used to access our camp.
And so starts another adventure of a lifetime for me!
Totally unplanned and totally unforgettable!
The Lodge where we stayed.
Minki had herself a good old time keeping the vervet monkeys at bay!
She was absolutely fascinated by the squirrels and would lay quietly watching them all day if necessary while we had our lectures in the "classroom."
I was petrified of her being taken by a leopard or hiena at night as they were prowling around the campsite every night with fresh "spoor" seen every morning as we left at 6 o clock for target practise at the shooting range!
I also only found out after walking alone to our chalet at night for a couple of nights in a row, that the gates to our camp wasn't necessarily closed every night!!
Needless to say,after that,I made sure to be escorted to the chalet every night by Cules!
The classroom in the background and the camp fireplace where we spent every single night telling and listening to, campfire stories...
As we left,after the course,we realised we never once watched television,there wasn't one, and never even realised or missed it...at all!!
In between taking turns at the shooting range we discovered who had the biggest and smallest(yours truly) feet...
During one of our bush craft sessions , we were amused by this young elephant bull's antics!
Look at the swag!!
Very important at this age!
I AM THE MAN swag!
Female giraffe,look at the way the horns bend "in" slightly.
We went to see the vulture restaurant...
What an amazing sight to see these huge birds!
The bird on the lower right has a yellow transmitter attached to its wing..
Research has shown that these birds fly from Kimberley in the Cape to our area in just two days!!
There were at least three different species of vultures present....
Cute buffalo calves and not so cute cows!!
Most dangerous when they have calves around!
This Sable called De La Rey had the longest horns in South Africa but has since moved down the list a bit apparently....
The bull never mingles with the herd but stands aloof,apart from the herd..except when it's breeding time.
Very strange to see...
I was so fortunate to see these rhinos up close.
They moved very quietly and we could hear the little stones crunch under their feet as they moved along...I will never forget that sound...
We then went to visit the lions.
My camera's batteries were dying on me and so I didn't get to take a lot of pictures.
These were the young males
There was also a separate camp with 2 young 18 month old cubs in it and we were allowed to go in with them....except me,the owner told me as I was too small, (short) like a child,I would trigger the hunting instinct in them and they would target in on me in "attack mode!!!
Even though he said that to me,other people could not wait to get in with them!!
I stood quietly back and to my surprise my husband and the Hunting School Director also opted not to go in...
On asking him why he wasn't going in, the Director said to me..
" They are kept in a camp,but they are,and always will be,wild animals with an instinct to kill"
As I stood back observing the young lions,it quickly became apparent,that they were checking out everyone in there with them,summing them up and choosing possible targets..one lady in particular was told to keep her back to the fence(as was everyone) for that matter...but they quickly managed to get one or two people away from the rest and almost jumped on one man from behind..not long after, the lady bent down to tie up a shoe lace and they were both on her in an instant....luckily no damage done as their owner was on them in a hear beat and they were young and playful.
But,if anyone ever asked my advice,I would say..never,ever be tempted to go in an pet a wild animal...
Observe from a safe place,enjoy them,but accept that they are just that....wild.
Well,at the end of the course I am happy to say that both Cules and I passed our exams and are now registered and licensed Professional Hunters!
I have learned so much and appreciate the Game Industry a whole lot more than I ever could have imagined!