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The Makings of a Thornybush Tracker

11 Feb 2020 | By Author Thornybush | Lodges

When you stay at one of Thornybush’s luxury safari camps, you will get to take part in early morning and evening game drives with an experienced game guide. To heighten the experience, one of our Thornybush trackers will always ride shotgun with your game guide, their sharp eyes ensuring that you get the most from your outing, with no tracks unseen!

What is Tracking?

Tracking wildlife is an ancient practice born of necessity. From the moment the earliest humans tasted their first bushveld braai, trackers became the individuals who put the “hunt” in ”hunter-gatherer”. Those who were able to track and find prey species quickly moved up the rankings in prehistoric society.

These skills soon became defunct in the first world where you only had to find your way to a trading store for a meal. In Africa, the tradition lived a lot longer. Although local tribes discovered the ease of agriculture soon enough, tracking wild animals was (and still is) a sustainable source of protein for many.

The arrival of the Great White hunter meant these indigenous tracking abilities became a sought-after talent – and it remains so in these gentler times. Without the expert assistance of our trackers at Thornybush, game sightings would be a lot thinner on the ground.

Being able to find elusive species while out on a game drive is key to our guests’ enjoyment during their South African safari with Thornybush. That’s why we employ only the best.

What Makes a Good Tracker?

Patience, persistence and keen powers of observation are key requirements for a career as a tracker. From their lofty position in front of the game vehicle, trackers are all eyes and ears, watching for the slightest clues which could lead you to your next big sighting.

Track and Sign

Trackers learn to distinguish and identify the tracks, territorial markings, feeding signs and droppings of animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. They will also learn vital skills for ‘reading’ obscured tracks.

Following Animal Trails

The trackers practise recognising tracks and following them. At the same time, they must anticipate animal movements and develop a constant awareness of their surroundings.

Alarm Calls

To the uninitiated, the sounds of the bush are a pleasant backdrop to our game experiences. For a tracker, this cacophony becomes a bush telegraph giving constant clues as to the living creatures around them and what they are up to.

While learning the skills, prospective trackers are constantly assessed and guided by experienced mentors.

See our Trackers at Work

It’s a delight to watch these professionals who are so in tune with nature at work. Get in touch if you would like to see the trackers of Thornybush work their magic during your South African safari.