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Bush Survival Skills & The Art Of Wildlife Tracking

Tracks radiating from a waterhole

One of the key elements to survival in the bush is the art of tracking.

Understanding the tracks and signs around you provides a window into the recent activity of wildlife in an area. This coupled with a deep knowledge of the drinking and feeding habits of the animals allows you to predict the movement of animals and map their distribution in a four-dimensional manner and this is a key survival.

On our wildlife and ecology courses in the Okavango, we teach wildlife and survival enthusiasts about the daily routines of the African wildlife.

We all know that a key element to surviving in the African wilderness is finding water. Wandering around aimlessly hoping to stumble upon water is not likely to have the desired results and when we are trying to survive in the bush we do not move more than we have to.

We are far more likely to have an encounter with a potentially dangerous animal when walking than when resting up in a safe location. So in order to find water, we find the game paths and look at the tracks.

These well-worn bush highways are the links between the feeding grounds and water holes. Herbivores use these paths very much for A-B movement and determining the time the tracks were laid down and knowing what time of the day or night that particular animal prefers to drink will help you to make the right decision of which direction to follow the path.

When we look at an aerial view of waterholes in the African savannah we notice that the game-paths radiate out from the waterhole and therefore when we are heading towards water we will have other smaller paths merging along the way and the opposite trend of paths splitting off when we are moving away from water.

Read our next blog to find out what to do once you find this critical component for survival in the wild.

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