A diverse trip to Botswana centred around the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust’s annual Coaching for Conservation camp, but also including a film and photographic project for the Pride Of The Zambezi Houseboat on the Chobe River in Northern Botswana. The trip provided a fantastic opportunity to work with scientists and hopefully add my contribution to one of Africa’s longest running conservation trusts.
The BPCT is one of the longest running conservation research programmes in Africa. The Trust employs a multifaceted approach to conservation, combining chemical analysis, behavioural observation as well as education and community development programmes to preserve Africa’s large predators. I joined the team for their annual Coaching for Conservation camp in June. Their novel approach to conservation education aims to use sport as a medium with which to “inspire a generation of kids who care”. The camp teaches children to appreciate wildlife and how to translate what we can learn from predators onto the football field and what those predators need to survive in the wild.
I left the C4C Camp in Maun with the mantra “respect yourself, respect each other, respect your environment” ringing in my ears and then joined the Research Team at Dog Camp on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve. The dedicated team spend every day tracking, watching and collecting samples from large predators. Although this sounds like anyone’s dream job, in practice they frequently spend weeks unable to find their animals and have to deal with numerous flat tyres, hordes of insects, thick mopane scrub and the occasional enforced night in the back of the Land Rover.
The Pride of the Zambezi is a luxury houseboat moored on the Chobe River in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. Arriving from Botswana, I was surprised by the need to trek up to the seemingly deserted Namibian border post before being ferried to the Houseboat. The Boat berths up to 12 people and offers every luxury you could want – fantastic food, gorgeous wildlife and the chance to relax, kick off your shoes and watch elephants from the sun deck. With several launches for fishing and game viewing and being able to stay within the Chobe National Park makes a stay on the Houseboat an unforgettable experience.