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  • Writer's pictureGrant Reed

Adventure on our June Wilderness Trails Course!

What an incredible day. Walking out of camp at dawn, we decide to head south toward Skimmer Pan. This persistent pan still holds an impressive number of hippo and attracts game from far and wide as the bush dries out. As always in nature, we have a couple of surprise encounters along the way. The most memorable was with a puff adder making the most of a warm winters day. Our students have a rare the opportunity to learn all about this wonderful but venomous snake that is so often villainized.

Arriving at Skimmer Pan around mid-morning we have time to sit, relax and let nature come to us. Time to discuss the bird calls, the tracks and the comings and goings of wildlife at the pan. With more than a hundred elephant drifting in and out to drink there is tonnes of activity😁.

A breeding herd of around 40 elephant appear, almost out of nowhere and start drinking. Suddenly all the elephant go dead-still for a moment. And then panic erupts... What triggers this response will remain a mystery but suddenly there are 40 elephant fleeing towards the group. Julien, a very well experienced trails instructor realises it is time to let the elephants know that they are running into a group of people. With gentle prodding the elephant stop, reevaluate and pick another direction.

As is so often the case, remaining calm is the key. Julien's swift and decisive action eliminates any need for panic. A wonderful and exciting encounter becomes a valuable lesson for future trails guides.

Another truly incredible highlight of this experience is the opportunity to be in this temporary floodplain of the Okavango when the waters from the highlands of Angola reach the 1000 mile mark of their journey and bring life to this landscape. To stand at the leading edge and watch a trickle of water making its way through this dry, dusty landscape is truly humbling.

Three days later we are poling ourselves through this waterway. In the months to come we will watch the succession of this charred grassland as the vegetation changes. Pioneer wetland species will colonise this area in a matter of months. Fish, frogs, dragonflies and countless other species begin a race to breed here before the typical wetland predators become established and the window of opportunity closes. There are few ecosystems in the world as dynamic as the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

Why not book on our next Wilderness Trails Course on the 9th of September. We guarantee it will be the most memorable week of your life😁

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