Ulovane Update: June 2017

24 Jul

Ulovane Update: June 2017 Ulovane Update 

Better Late than Never! Huge apologies in getting this newsletter out! It was a crazy month of June and a time out was much needed! Enjoy the updates and photos, they are amazing!

We said farewell to our 3 Savannah guides who joined us for the four week Nature Experience. Sylvia, Allan and Maria, we loved having you around and enjoyed sharing the Ulovane experiences with you. Congratulations and farewell to the Ulovane January students, they successfully completed the Field, Back up Trails and Marine Guide Qualifications with us. All of them are off to great and wondrous career opportunities. We wish you all the very best! Go forth and conquer Jenny, Mike, Joshua, Seamus, Toby, Chris and Alex.

The April 6 month students had a very well deserved study break and as we speak are kicking butt all over the shooting range in the second week of their Back up Trails Guide course. Lots of updates and photos from them coming in the July Ulovane Update.

The Ulovane team sure showed us their dedication, hardworking, never give up attitude in the second semester. We rocked and rolled, we laughed, we cried. A HUMUNGUS thank you to the entire team for giving your all during the semester, it is definitely one of our busiest semesters ever recorded, even running out of beds at one stage!! Without you all, none of this is possible and we trust that you all had a wonderful well deserved break!

Semester 3 is in full swing and we will share with you all the happenings, welcomes, updates and photos in the July Ulovane Update!

“There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.” – Josiah Gilbert Holland

News from the Field Guides

Week 7: This week we had our tracking assessment, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

This involved taking turns to assess which species created the tracks and which foot it is, we also had to identify a variety of animal scat and dung. This was all very interesting and I really enjoyed walking around looking at different tracks and signs, trying to identify species of herbivores and carnivores.

On Tuesday, we participated in the trails guide assessment walks on Amakhala. This was a brand-new experience from being on the vehicle in our field guide training. We were lucky enough to experience a sighting of an elephant on foot. I found this to be a very humbling moment and am grateful to have been a part of it with my fellow students.

Ulovane is providing me with many special moments and friendships I’ll continue throughout this journey into my new career.

Week 8: It’s hard to believe it’s already been 8 weeks in what I now call my “home away from home.” We had the privilege to visit Intaka guest house for a few days and spent some time on the beach in Kenton (a small break from the books.) An early morning walk through the Assegai trails, sand boarding down the dunes of the woody cape beach, homemade fire oven pizza just made for more special memories. Game drive assessments started on Friday with everyone hot on their heels to make it a success, which in my case it couldn’t have gone any better. Well done everyone 👍🏽. Knowing that we only have 2 weeks left as a group leaves a heavy feeling in my heart. We’ve all become so close & learnt a lot from each other and am sure we will take with us what we’ve learnt throughout our lives. Good luck with the last 2 weeks. Couldn’t ask for a better environment to complete my studies 👍🏽.

– Nikita & Ryno, South Africa

Week 9:  Character Check!

There is no way to describe the combination of mixed emotions that hung around camp this week. Even the weather didn’t know what it wanted to be. An average June day to the next day being a hot windy day and back to a cold wintery one. From our Practical Assessments to Assessment Game Drives, studying and game drive preps. Eagerly waiting for our friends to get back to tell us how their drives went. And the nervous atmosphere before our guests arrived.

We had our hosting evening on Wednesday with a Wild West theme, and I think it’s safe to say that both the guests and students enjoyed it quite a bit. On Thursday evening we attended an eye opening Rhino talk which touched and moved many if not all of us in the room that night.

So after a week full of hosting and prepping, studying and assessments we are all still standing strong and it’s all thanks to each and every one on our course who have worked together to motivate, encourage and stand behind each other. It was definitely one big, exciting roller coaster!

But it’s not quite over yet and I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. – Keryn, Zambia

Week 10:  I can remember the day I landed at PE airport to come to Ulovane like it was yesterday. I cannot believe how quickly the last 10 weeks flew by! Just the other day we all got to Ulovane, eager eyed and making awkward conversation with the people who were yet to become family. And all of a sudden we were in the last week rushing to finish our final game drives and do our final practical assessments. Late night study sessions and bottomless coffees! And the last 4am study session before our final exam on Friday!

These 10 weeks were jam packed with learning, once in a lifetime experiences and unforgettable adventures. Just when you think you’ve seen and learned about all there is to know, nature surprises you with something new. Not a day went by without us learning about something new. It has honestly been the best, most challenging and unforgettable 10 weeks of my life. Not every day was the easiest, but we had each other’s backs and got through it. It’s definitely been worth it!

Once you pass through Ulovane you will never see life the same way again. You notice everything around you. That bird you see in the garden every day has a name. The grass that grows next to the road is not just any old grass. The clouds in the sky aren’t just pretty shapes made of who knows what. You even try and identify what type of wind is blowing over! The things we have learned and the knowledge we have gained has unlocked a whole new world and once you get a taste you just can’t get enough!

I will not forget the great people I met on this course and all our crazy adventures! To the strangers that turned into family.

We could not have asked for a better, more dedicated team to have led us through this journey and take care of us. I cannot wait to come back for Trails!  – Keryn, Zambia

“There is simply no issue more important. Conservation is the preservation of human life on earth, and that, above all else, is worth fighting for.” ― Rob Stewart


News from the Marine Guides

Week 1: After spending 17 weeks at Ulovane camp, the so called “Lucky 7” soldiered on into marines. We were immediately thrown into a new environment and camp called Intaka. (The place was amazing) which is by the sea (makes sense).

Anyway it all started with a canoe trip up the Bushmans River. Which was a two day trip. We were supposed to bring sleeping bags… I lost the memo (forgot) and left mine behind. Luckily I have made a couple of good friends over the 17 weeks and simply shared body warmth (please don’t ask questions). Fishing was done and a MONSTER was caught by the springbok colours fisherman Chris Van Zyl. Two particularly fine chaps (myself and Josh) gave up on normal canoeing and started a new sport! It is stand up canoeing (SUCing for short) and I think it is really going to catch on.

The highlight (of course) was when Chris slept outside so he could fish through the night (…it was cold) and of course, the next morning was full of fisherman stories of “massive lost fish”. We all believed him of course and didn’t mock him at all.

All in all, was an eventful trip, full of laughs and a brilliant start to the first week! – Toby, South Africa


Week 2: It was once more a very busy week as a marine guide with testleft right and centre, but luckily every succeeded and is ready and waiting for the next testers. On Thursday evening we had a real heart breaking talk from Schalk Pretorius and Dr William folds regarding Rhino poaching, it brought nearly the entire audience to tears including myself. I will never forget the how I felt during that presentation and how the animals felt in the worst moments of their lives. As brilliantly stated by Schalk Pretorius:” even though I am terrified of speaking in front of crowds I always remember the rhinos cannot speak for themselves and thus I need to speak for them”. Www.chipembere.org/donate/ – Chris Van Zyl, South Africa

Week 3: This past week we had a wonderful few days in Haga – Haga where we were able to experience coastal life and really immerse ourselves into the marine world. We walked through the dune thicket did a couple of beach walks and snorkelling. We had the pleasure of being visited by dolphins and whales, we were even able to see a massive flock of Cape gannets stretching as far as the eye could see that were diving in and feeding on bait fish. All in all it was an amazing week and we were able to learn so much! – Michael Kitchen, South Africa

Week 4: Our last week on the marine course was spent with noses in the books as we prepared for our slide assessment, the mock exam and the final FGASA exam. We took a day out to go deep sea fishing in Port Alfred and it was a great success for all except one who couldn’t find her sea legs. What an adrenaline rush coming in and out of the river mouth, definitely worth the trip alone!

The end of the week arrived rather too quickly and it was time to say our goodbyes. We started off as a group of 17 in the field guide course, all new faces and not knowing what to expect. The course far outweighed our expectations and 10 of us were lucky enough to be able to continue with the trails course.   We learnt many valuable lessons about the bush which further strengthened our passion for it. The marine crew was made up of 7 of us who had grown through shared experiences, lots of learning and plenty of laughter along the way.  It is true that Ulovane makes exceptional, ethical and passionate field guides, but equally, they make bonds and friendships between people that will last a lifetime. Thank you to everyone at Ulovane who made it one of the best experiences of our lives – Justin, Shani, Piet, Schalk, Candice, Oom Ben, Jacques, Mama Thabs and Mama Joyce – our sincere gratitude to you all! – Jenny Thomas, South Africa

A breathe of fresh air!

Saninigo Fadile from Tanzania (Beho Beho Lodge), joined the Birding team for a week, this is what he had to say about his week at Ulovane!

It has been a week now since I have joined Ulovane exceptional field guide training. Since I joined the team I have just suddenly become a member straight away with not being shy to anybody! The guys been so friendly! I have got really what I was expecting. Or more than what I was expecting. Today I had the opportunity of going on an assessment game drive with one of the guide students, she performed so well. Really Keryn you have done great. Mr Pieter on my right side really I do envy your knowledge about the whole of wildlife. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with me. Final moment was as always sad to say good bye to people you been together for some time. But! Times flies always! It’s my time to go back to Tanzania, by which tomorrow morning I will be leaving this team here sadly, and yoooh! Next week I will be in a middle of Beho Beho team. A great family ever sharing some news of what I have experienced in South Africa. – Saningo (Tanzania)

Savannah Guides 4 Week Nature Experience

I came to Ulovane on a 4-week program designed for Savannah/Wet Tropics guides in Australia. We participated in class and practical training for field, trail and marine guides. It was very interesting to witness the new generation of guides ”in the making”. I was full of admiration for the professionalism, dedication and deep knowledge of the trainers and impressed with the range of subjects thought during the courses. Every day brought a new adventure, something new to learn and discover. Never a dull moment, like in a big family in a lively household where through character building experiences people bond, form friendships, awareness expands. Exceptional trainers: Shani, Peter, Justin and the adopted parents: Candice and Schalk, people with passion and deep respect and feel for bush and nature. And “behind the scenes” heroes: Jacques, Mamma Thabs and Joyce who were keeping us well fed and clean. Thank you to the Ulovane team for an awesome experience. – Sylvia Pecinska (May 2017 Savannah Guides)

“It’s not about the credit. It’s about making a difference. And we all did that together.” ― Aimee Cart

News from the Ulovane Team

Farewell to the April Field Guides

The second Field Guide course kicked off to a great start on the 10th of April 2017 with 12 students from various nationalities, ages and backgrounds in attendance. Our first week was a busy one as we did a morning game drive on Amakhala Game Reserve to show the students where they will be gaining their skills during the following ten weeks. Also during the first week we have an incredible First Aid Level 2 Wilderness course offered by Douglas Lang from Medwise. Here students were faced with an amount of theoretical classes as well as very real life scenarios which they had to apply the correct procedures.

The following week was fully packed with lectures and practical’s covering module of Astronomy, Geology together with Weather & Climate. It is always a lot to learn but students were given various practical’s on the reserve such as game drives pointing out local geological features and stargazing in the evenings.

The next week blossomed with this week covering the botany module thus including trees, grasses and wild flowers. Activities the students took part in was learning about the various and diverse biomes we are so blessed to have as well as collecting the samples for their botany practical’s. One really is amazed about the various medicinal properties and folk lore we learnt about and thus makes up a great component to master in becoming a well-rounded Field Guide.

One of the biggest weeks students enjoy is learning all about the creepy crawlies, slithery and slimy creatures therefore modules such as Arthropods, Reptiles and Fish were covered ending off with a cold but fun practical by getting into the Bushman’s river a partaking in a fish survey.

The last stretch of the course was jam packed with loads of learning and practical observations covering Ecology, Ethology, Birds and Mammals which is always a big favourite as we really went into depth in the various subjects. In between all of this the students put together a great Wine tasting evening and the following week students were given the opportunity of hosting guests from the reserve and surrounds. This was a great event with students doing a great job regarding cooking delicious food and providing a superb evening filled with fun and laughter.

The last two weeks are always important as we start preparing for two sets of  practical assessment drives where students have the job of providing “real life” guests with a guided experience and putting all they have learnt to the test. In between all these busy moments final preparations for their Mock examination were made and overall went really well. At this point of the course students realize which areas improvements need to be made before their final FGASA theory examination. The last day of the course arrives at the blink of an eye and this the time during which students write their FGASA theory examination with all the students doing a great job and a well-deserved graduation evening that followed.

Well done to each and every student that completed their ten week field guide course with us at Ulovane, I have no doubt in my mind that you all will do exceptionally well whether it be placement you are partaking in and for most of you coming back for our Trails guide course in July. Best of luck from our side and I wish everyone well for your future endeavors. – Justin Barlow

Feathers Unite the Eastern Cape Guiding

Here we are at the end of yet another birding course, and what a course this was. Setting out with a new initiative we ran the course with the idea to involve more reserves and guides with birding in the Eastern Cape. We had two students who joined us at camp for the course, Saningo for a week and Laura for two of the three weeks. They were my two Guinea pigs for the experiment, so a huge thank you to the two of them for spending the time with me, some days with very early start to accommodate for the travels between reserves.

Being the Guinea pigs however did have a huge advantage though. With our new ideas offering birding in the area we had the opportunity to go to various reserves where each was allowed to allocate a guide for the regional birding specialization practical drives. A big thank you as well to all the reserves who opened their doors to us and our initiative. Due to these arrangements we were able to cover a huge diversity of biomes and bird species. During a practical assessment the learner is expected to find a minimum of 70 bird species in an entertaining and informative bird guide activity.

The reserves we visited included Lalibela, Shamwari, Kichaka, Kariega, Kwandwe and Sibuya. Huge congratulations to all the guides who participated and passed the assessments with flying colors.

It really was an amazing experience to see all the different reserves and see how big the diversity was in quite a small area. We had some lovely sightings and some really nice specials like Rufous-eared Warblers, Capped Wheat ears, Melodious Larks and much more.

The thing that stood out the most for me was how the feathered friends out there was able to do something that we have never been able to achieve, and that was to unite so many different reserves and guides in the area. People were joining for bird walks in the Woody Cape forest and attending classes for easy identification tips and discussions of various topics. For so long everybody has been confining their knowledge within their reserve boundaries, and now, well now we are a unit, going out together and sharing, learning and educating with, to and from one another.

It was such a wonderful experience seeing how everybody started to work together to raise the overall guiding skills and potential in the area, well done to all involved and let’s keep it up in courses to follow, we can change the industry and if we can build on what ended up to be a very productive first attempt, we will change the industry. – Pieter Dunn

“Believe in people, they fly for a day. Teach them to believe in themselves, they soar for a lifetime.” ― A.D. Posey

Thank you for taking the time to enjoy our updates. Any positive feedback or comments are always welcome. Huge thank you as always to all the students for their stunning photos and updates.

Please join us at our upcoming Open Day on the 30 September contact us for further information!

We still have availability on the October Intake for the Career Focus courses, however space is limited!! We still have availability for all of our upcoming Specialised Courses for existing guides. Follow the link for dates and contact us for rates enquiries@ulovane.co.za.

Until Next Time,

Candice and the Ulovane Team

 Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – Napoleon Hill


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