Set in a beautiful sand forest, Ehlathini bush camp is where Bhejane Nature Training courses take place. Up in Zululand north of Hluhluwe village within sight of the north-west arm of Lake St Lucia, the camp borders iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Jess was assigned a wooden cabin in a mango orchard to share with Lydia from London.
Better than a tent, eh Jess? “Just, Dad!” Lydia from London had arrived before her, so got the better bed!
With much trepidation and bravery Jess waved me goodbye and started her first extended spell away from home!
Update: She’s now in Ebandla Trails Camp in Amakhosi Reserve up near Nongoma. She’s out of comms but today they were up on a hill and she borrowed her friend Blessing’s phone and let me now she’s well: Hey Dad, We walked right near an ele herd, and a lioness with a cub, and we’re staying here till Sunday 28th May, and will I visit when they get back to Ehlathini that day? – “Sure thing my love!”
At night they took turns standing guard while their colleagues slept.
Jess & Lydia being brave:
Lions roared in the dark nearby. This scared them, but not as much as harmless spider they found in the wooden camp back at base camp.
Jessie’s Team: She was one of the two teenagers. The rest ranged from low twenties to mid-thirties – and one aged 67.
The course proved very challenging, the lectures long (“and boring, Dad”) and Jess decided not to wait for the exams.
The books and notes were more extensive than I’d have predicted when I booked her on the course:
Ehlathini – ‘in the forest’
Ebandla – ‘where men assemble’
Amakhosi – ‘of the chiefs’
Bhejane – ‘black rhino’
Hluhluwe – ‘thorny monkey rope (creeper)’
iSimangaliso – ‘miracle; wonder; surprise’