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WILD LIFE EXPERIENCE
It is difficult to put into words how it feels to see your first giraffe, zebra, wildebeest or even impala in it's natural habitat, even harder to describe how it feels to be up close to these magnificent animals and almost impossible to describe the feeling when you are on foot and up close! On the Game Farm you will have the opportunity to try and describe this feeling for yourself! Oh!! Did we mention that you may also see lion and elephant this closely as well?!
The Game Farm is part of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 35,000 hectare Big 5 reserve with open borders to Kruger National Park making it part of the Greater Kruger National Park. It is an open system where game is allowed to wander freely over several privately owned farms that make up Balule. Because the project does not have animals in cages or in captivity this is not a 'hands on' animal project, rather it enables you to encounter animals in their natural habitat.
The aim of this project is to give you an introduction to all aspects of game farm management. Not for nothing their motto is 'Conservation Through Education'! You will be studying ecology, conservation and wildlife specific to the owning and running of a game farm through a structured lecture program combined with a practical approach, like anti-erosion work and alien plant control. Daily bush walks with your guide will give you plenty of chances to spot wildlife on foot and will give you the opportunity to learn navigation, tracking and survival skills, as well as learning all about the wildlife, flora and fauna. Theory and practical combined will give you a unique behind the scenes view of South Africa's most renowned National Park!
This project is an ideal initiation to the whole African bush experience and is a great way to start your adventure. It is a family run project and you are treated not as a guest but as one of the family, which is important whether it's your first time away from home or your hundredth! During your stay, you will get ample time to relax and enjoy Africa's peace. Also, the project leaders have built in time to accompany you to your choice of the awesome excursions in the area. They are really not to be missed!
As part of the curriculum you can expect to learn about:
- Educational bush walks, game drives and hikes
- Ecology definition, understanding and protecting global, macro, micro and microscopic ecosystems
- Identification of mammals, birds, insects, snakes and other reptiles (in short: from elephant to rhino beetle!), tracks, droppings, trees, shrubs and grass species
- Habitat: definition, identification, threats and protection
- Animal behaviour, speed and comfort zones: The dangerous nine
- The food chain and energy flow - "Thank you Mr. Elephant"
- Elephants: Family structure and their impact on the environment
- Pollution of eco-resources (water, soil, air) and sanitation
- Educational wildlife videos and documentaries
- Nature's "Clean up Company"
- Geology and basic study of the Lowveld region
- Conservation and preservation
- A game farm or nature reserve: The planning, designing, building, maintenance, management, marketing and budgeting for it
- Hunting, culling, problem animals and green hunting
- Poaching and anti poaching techniques
- Erosion: causes, cures and prevention
- Alien plant identification and control
- Foreign objects, dangers, prevention and removal
- The ranger: his function and responsibilities
- Fencing, patrolling and maintenance ~ consequent status of the land
- Classification of South Africa's animals and exotic species
- 24-hour waterhole monitoring and game assessment
- Animal Rehabilitation projects and Breeding projects
- Animal diseases
- Fire: A management tool
- Knowledge of and competency in the bush:
- Navigation by day and night
- 24-hour practical survival in the bush
- Astronomy of the southern hemisphere
- Camouflage of game and people
- Rifle handling and shooting
- First aid - snakes and insect bites and general first aid
- The art of game tracking: ground and aerial spoor
- Bush craft: weapons, snares, rope, fire, water, sundial and finding north
There are five separate rondawels to accommodate from 1 - 8 as well as five caravans to accommodate from 1 - 2. Apart from this, there is a 3 story tower where you can sleep out under the stars above tree level. The separate ablution block has got hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, showers and a bath. All bedding is provided, but bring your own sleeping bag for sleeping on the tower or in the bush.
||Lecture and Games Room
||Tower for Game Viewing
Group size: 1-15 students, from July until October upto 22 students
Click here for program costs
- 3 meals a day (breakfast and lunch self service, dinner provided)
- Tea, coffee, juice, fruit
- Bush Walks
- Night Drives
- Educational program
- Transport to and from the project
Minimum stay: 2 Weeks, however we do advise you to spend at least 4 weeks at this project. There is so much to learn, see, do and experience that you probably run out of time if you stay less than 4 weeks.
- Laundry, which will be done for a nominal fee
- Internet and telephone costs
- Personal expences such as toiletries, excursions, etc