Ulovane Update: January 2018 Field and Backup Trails Guides Week 2
After an exciting and busy first week at Ulovane, we couldn’t wait to see what the second week had in store for us. Week two was packed with many memorable moments including beautiful elephant and cheetah sightings, coffee stops on the highest part of Amakhala, walks on Ulovane reserve, early morning drives and very insightful lectures (our focus this week has been astronomy, geology and climatology (ALOT of cool info to take in)
This week we focused a lot on teambuilding with tasks such as fishing in the muddy dam, war cries in our 2 groups and other group activities. It was huge fun and slowly but surely becoming a team and growing closer together.
We learned many survival tips for when in the bush such as being able to use the Southern Cross to determine north from south. Let’s just hope we never get lost on a cloudy evening. The information we learnt on medicinal uses of plants and trees was also fascinating!!
We were taught about the Cape Super Group while sitting among those exact mountains, that experience really helped to understand how everything was formed, how it is all structured and how it changed over all these years.
- Steffi & Tobias
Backup Trails Guides
The second week here at Ulovane has passed and I must say that it has truly been amazing. After all of us, Trails students passed the PFTC (Professional Fire Arm Trainers Council exams), we were finally legal to go to the shooting range. We started off by practising with ‘dummie rounds’ so we could work in our muscle memory with the rifle. It took many hard hours for all of us to learn how to handle the firearm. But in the end, when we started with live rounds we could clearly see how much we’ve learned just by doing the same exercises. over and over again. Very happy to share with you that the majority of our group has now passed the Advanced Rifle Handling assessment. The rifle handling is all about safety, we are the backup guides, Pieter or one of the other Ulovane mentors will always be in the lead. We still need some experience before we get to lead the pack.
After we were done shooting we finally got to go for our first walk on Amakhala, which we’ve all been waiting for! We were lucky to stumble across an elephant bull on the first day, which was so great! It’s definitely something else to be out on foot compared to sitting in a vehicle out in the bush. You really start to understand that you are no longer just a visitor in nature, you are actually a part of it. When you are in a vehicle you are pretty much safe. You can always drive away from a dangerous situation and the animals are often intimidated by the car. On foot on the other hand that’s not the case. Our amazing teacher has already taught us so many new things which I had never thought about before. I’ve always wanted to come close to the big and dangerous animals and see their reaction to our presence. But this is not the case anymore. It’s by far more amazing to appreciate the animal you’re watching doing its everyday habits, without knowing you are there. When we saw the elephant bull carrying on, on his own mission undisturbed, I truly experienced something else. Something which felt so much better. The elephant didn’t have to waste any extra energy to flee away from us. I think that this is a very important aspect of nature I’ve learned which I hope that you as a reader can start to think about in the future. To realize that just showing up and watching an animal can change their behaviour in the long term. I’d much rather from now on be part of the bush as a distant ghost, than driving straight up to an animal in a big loud scary vehicle.
I’ll sum up this blog with a Swedish quote my grandfather taught me. “Keuken har sin musik, för den som vill suega den ” which means ”The earth has its music, for those who will listen”