BY ETHAN KINSEY
We began the training season with some self-guided learning and preparation for the Global Big Birding day. First, the guides and interns headed out on early morning jaunts to different habitats, recording the bird species and developing their own lists. Next, a day was spent exploring the workings of a diesel engine and drive-train together with a mechanic. Next up, the interns and guides attended Wilderness First Aid courses gaining valuable skills & certification in dealing with potential medical problems.
From there, we headed to Randilen WMA (where our new Olkeri camp will be opening in a few weeks), where we set up a simple base camp and began an intense introduction to firearms safety and handling and a walking safety course. Then, rising with the dawn chorus of birds, we headed out on diversity walks, birding, tracking, and interpreting. Inevitably, as is the norm in Randilen, no sooner had we left the safety of camp than we would come across a buffalo or elephant sign leading us into the invaluable lessons on observation, approach, and, if necessary, evasion.
Returning to camp for a late breakfast, we would spend the rest of the day reviewing theory and practicing safe handling of appropriate rifles for walking. Finally, as is tradition on safari, our days would end around the campfire discussing the day’s events, watching the milky way and the skies constellations move across the sky.