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Game Ranger Course and Conservation - Botswana

The Game Ranger course was brilliant! There were six of us, five guys and one girl of ages ranging from 18 to 50+. Our course leader was an absolute legend, an Afrikan, who had worked for 30 years in the bush.  He had a wealth of stories to tell, about everything from safari exploits to politics.  The location of the camp was great, right on the banks of the Oliphants River.  We did two game trips a day one by foot and the other by vehicle. I loved the walks and we got close to some big game including elephants, giraffes, hippos and buffalo.  We also had some great game sightings from the camp, especially hippos, crocodiles and elephants.

If you are carrying a rifle you need to be safe and sure.We did some studying each day and at the end of the course had two exams and two practical tests. I passed fine.  We also had a couple of outings to Kruger National Park and to an animal rehabilitation centre. The latter was interesting; I cuddled a baby rhino and fed a vulture from my hand, cool.  The team gelled nicely and we had some really fun times. It was quite sad when we parted company after two weeks, some went back home, some off to other projects .I now know lots about all the main African animals and the smaller ones, the trees and their uses, insects, reptiles and birds. Oh, and I am also something of an expert on poo of various types and I know what a termite tastes like!

"The Tuli Conservation project in Botswana was where I did the animal tracking, observation and recording work. However, it was also an exercise in wilderness living being so rustic.  We did most of our animal surveys from the research vehicle with some of the great sightings including a mother cheetah and two cubs on a fresh kill, bat-eared foxes, brown hyenas and an aardvark. We also saw some big herds such as the Elephant on the Tuli Reserve25 elephants and 80 eland! The bird sightings were great, with some lovely spotting points on rocky koppjes enabling us to view lots of vultures, eagles, buzzards, kites and waterbirds.

It was tough saying good bye to Tuli and the other volunteers.  It was a relatively short time that we were together, but you get very close to people when you're out in the bush and wake up with them, spend the day with them, eat with them and relax with them.  ACE isn't all about animals by any means; the personal relationships are quite special too. Those that embrace the true wilderness and special character will love Tuli - and I did!"

Stuart Spindler's placements were arranged by African Conservation Experience