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Browsing: Bush Craft

Reaching 30m in height, with a circumference in excess of 28m, the baobab tree can live for several thousand years. If you found yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, you would be hard-pressed to fi nd in one place all the elements you require to survive. You have to go hunting for them. Th at is, of course, unless you fi nd yourself in the proximity of Adansonia, the Baobab tree. In my view, this tree is a living survival kit, as it can help you out in so many ways. Sometimes known as the ‘upside-down tree’, the Baobab

If you are open to their clues, various animals can lead you to water in an emergency, but once you have found a water source, you should not simply go and drink it, even if it looks clean. Water is a two-edged sword. It is the most important element we need to keep our body working, but it can house bacteria and pathogens which can cause us great harm. It is therefore important that we treat all water, irrespective of how ‘clean’ it may appear, in such a way that we render these harmful organisms harmless to us. Before we

There are four basic priorities in any survival situation: food, fire, water and shelter. (Some people consider first aid as being a fifth, and signalling a sixth). How you prioritise these will depend on your environment at the time. For example, if you find yourself stranded near a cave with a river running alongside it, then shelter and water are not high on the list, but food and fire will be. On the other hand, if you are stranded in the middle of the desert, water and shelter will be more important than fire and food. I am sure you

There’s a killer on the loose, and she wants your blood… Scientists have been waging war against the mosquito ever since Sir Ronald Ross (1857- 1932) identified the mosquito as being the culprit in the spread of the malaria parasite. Ross actually won the Nobel Prize for this discovery. No matter how much insect repellent you cover yourself with, no matter whether you wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts, tuck your trousers in your socks, make sure your shirt is tucked in, wear light-coloured clothing, or wear a mosquito net over your face, these little critters still manage to find

It’s not always the big critters you have to watch out for… They often say “It is the little things which can do us the most harm”, and this is especially true when it comes to ticks. Ticks are external parasites which latch onto their host and suck blood. As if blood-sucking wasn’t enough, they can also act as vectors (transmitters) of some very nasty diseases. Ticks are classified as Arachnids (relatives of spiders, scorpions, mites) as they have eight legs and two parts to the body; and they are further divided into soft ticks (Argasidae) and hard ticks (Ixodidae).

What to do when confronted by a dangerous animal One of the greatest pleasures in life is parking and setting up camp in the bush, or in a campsite in natural surroundings where you can feel at one with nature. The sights we see become memories for ever, and being in close proximity to wildlife only adds to the enjoyment. Having the odd warthog mooching around the camp, as common as they may be, is an amusing event. Of course, some encounters with animals are memorable for other reasons. Stumbling across an elephant in the bush can be a very

Words & Images Paul Donovan You may be thinking that because you have a 4×4 and are carrying everything including the kitchen sink, you have no need to carry a survival kit. Well, you would be wrong. The wilderness is the best place in the world to be – right up to the time that things go wrong, and it becomes a very dangerous place. Imagine having your vehicle catch fire when you are stranded in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and you aren’t carrying a fire extinguisher. How would you manage to survive after losing everything? In our imagined

Words and pictures by Paul Donovan. Snake bites have always been, and will always be, a major worry for travellers in countries which have large endemic snake populations, such as those in southern Africa. As we travel deeper into the wilderness, we venture into their territory and consequently expose ourselves to the risk of getting bitten. When someone is bitten in a remote area, hours away from medical treatment, proper management of the bite is imperative. Please note, what you are about to read is how to manage a bite from a ‘first aid’ point of view, when you are

Words and pictures by Paul Donovan. EINA! Eina How to avoid (and treat) spider and scorpion bites & stings. Paul Donovan, a zoologist living in Botswana, has encountered a number of off-road travellers who’ve been bitten by spiders over the past few months (particularly when collecting firewood). Read on for his advice on how best to deal with these creepy crawlies. A The bush presents us with many hazards, but often the emphasis is placed on the dangers posed by large animals such as elephants, rhinos and lions, when in fact it’s the little creatures which can cause us more

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