Ulovane Update: May 2017

02 Jun

Ulovane Update: May 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the May Ulovane Update.

 A jam-packed month, the month of May! I would have to say our busiest month of the year! It has been awesome.

Schalk spent a week in May in Phoenix, Arizona. He was hosted by the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Early College High School. Schalk and Dr William Fowlds, got to visit all the AAEC campuses and did talks to raise awareness about the state of conservation in South Africa, including poaching and how they can get involved and help! It was a fantastic week for the chaps. We host 10 of the top students every year at Ulovane for a few days, before they join Dr Fowlds on his veterinarian adventures. Will post some photos (of their trip to the Grand Canyon!!) and an update in next month’s newsletter

We welcomed our Savannah Guides guests, Sylvia, Allan and Maria in the middle of May. They are with us for four weeks and get to experience a week with each one of our courses running. So far they have spent a week with the Trails guides and the Field guides. They still get to experience the marine and bird guide courses before they leave us. Enjoy the rest of your time with us, make the most of every day!

Our young learners from the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Early College high school (AAEC) joined us for four days in the month of May. What a wonderfully busy 4 days they had with us. Game drives, boat cruises down the Bushman’s river, a marine guided walk with Schalk, a starlit bush dinner of steak rolls, early morning bush walks on Ulovane reserve, conservation talks and to end off their first ever braai – a full program, but the perfect way to kick start their South Africa trip. Huge thank you to Jason and Justin for being incredible guides and hosts to our visitors, we look forward to hosting a new group in 2018!

In between our new arrivals and departures, it has been business as usual with the in house students. All their news is below and as you will see for yourself, it really has been a MAGIC MAY!

The Trails guide course came to an end this month and it was a sad farewell for some, lucky for us most of the students from trails have stayed on for the marine course, which also started this month. The Field Guides are reaching crunch time now with final game drive assessments and the FINAL FGASA exam coming up! Wishing you guides all the very best, we trust that all the hard work you have put in till now will enable you all to shine!

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Herman Cain

News from the Field Guides

Week 4: Our subjects this week were Arthropods, Fish and Reptiles. With each subject we always go out to experience the practical aspect of the subject. We enjoyed our scorpion hunting and insect finding. On Thursday we had a fantastic first-night drive where we got to experience the nocturnal behavior of our local wildlife. Finally on Friday we headed out for our fishing practical.

The group started off fishing with rods and hand lines down at the boat site on the Bushmans river. Once we sorted out the tackle and baited up, first using bread but then not being very successful we tried all sorts of new weird and wonderful baits – pieces of apple on our hooks, chips and even bread coated in tomato sauce (which by the way, caught the biggest fish of the day).

Some of us in the group eventually split to go and do a fish survey. The process of the fish survey is quite an entertaining process. It involves everyone climbing into, the river, laying the net on the ground in waist deep water, swimming out and then swimming back in beating the water which herds the fish towards the net, the net is then lifted, trapping the fish. We managed to catch quite a few River Gobi, some Carp, some Telapia and a small catfish.

The rest of the day was spent on the jetty, fishing with some more weird and wonderful bait… Between fishing and swimming and the warm sunshine, it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable days I’ve had at Ulovane, then again every day at Ulovane is an enjoyable and memorable occasion. – Kristin Mace, Hamburg South Africa and Michael Stader, Germany

Week 5: This week, our main topic was Amphibians. That meant we learned a lot of interesting and fascinating information about these animals, their incredible life cycle and the strange metamorphosis they go through from a tadpole to an adult frog. In the practical classes, we went out into the field and searched all waterholes for frogs.

Wednesday we did an evening walk to the dam on Ulovane reserve. We all went into the freezing cold water to catch frogs and finally, we got to see some cool Platannas.

Next day we went canoeing. It was great fun, making canoe races, splashing water at each other and watching the birds at the shore weaving amazing dome nests.

After we paddled up the river, we reached a little Island, which was the perfect place to have a coffee-break. After our paddle and picnic, we headed out for a game drive, searching for more frogs. We not only searched but also found many frogs. And we even got to see a frog performing Thanatosis (playing dead) and lying motionless on its back. SO COOL!

On Sunday after we wrote our tests about Amphibians, Ecology & Animal Behaviour, new guests from Australia arrived. They were welcomed with open arms. While showing them around camp we got to know each other well while exchanging interesting information about the plants and animals from Australia and South Africa.

Now we are all together and look forward to starting a new exciting week full of adventures, fun and new things to learn, find out and to discover. – Lars Jager – Germany

Week 6: Another week at Ulovane that has surpassed all my expectations! This week was all about birds, taxonomy and historical human habitation. We enjoyed many guided walks, which greatly helped with trying to identifying the birds. A few that were regular around camp included the Sombre Greenbul, with a now iconic call to the group, sounds like a high pitched ‘Billy’!

Saturday morning began with attending to the veggie garden with our new guests from Savanna Guides. Myself, Maria and Sylvia shared stories whilst weeding and gaining a sense of satisfaction making the garden look great if I don’t say so myself!

I can’t express how special Ulovane is, and how much I am being taught academically along with the life lessons gained. The kindness and skill of the team that are willing to look over us is overwhelming and I’ll never forget it! – Hope Connelly, UK

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Mead

World Environment Day 05 June 2017 

News from the Trails Guides

Week 4: Carrying on with the walks this week. Had a bit of rain and cloud cover which was nice for a change. Had an awesome sighting of a serval today and got charged by a zebra! Been focusing a lot on tracking and dangerous game encounters building up for our upcoming jungle lane and tracking assessment with Adriaan Louw. We joined the level 1s on Friday for some fishing on the reserve which was nice and relaxing.

Apart from that just studying hard – Richard Smithers, South Africa

Week 5: It was quite an interesting week. This week we had a sleep out on the reserve with walks before and after the night of the sleep out, we had an interesting night with rains during the early morning hours and a pair of lions walking around the camp checking what we were up to. WHAT!?! We ended the week with a full group walk with Schalk which was great, we shared a lot of information and learned a lot. – Michael Kitchen, South Africa

Week 6: From the moment I stepped out of the plane and into Eastern Cape. I knew I was in for an amazing adventure. However, I didn’t realise the magnitude of the experience that I was about to receive from Ulovane Environmental Training. After the meet and greet, I was ready to settle in at Eastern Cape and to start to paint my new picture of my wilderness experience at Ulovane Environmental Training. With a dynamic group of new friends at this new environment, it took time for me to adjust but it shaped the amazing experiences I had at Ulovane Environmental Training for the last 17weeks. After countless hours absorbing some principles of ecology, fundamentals of using a rifle and other aspects of being in the wilderness, I started to enjoy the beauty of being in the pure wilderness on foot for hours. Sometimes, I would just get up early in the morning and just get lost in the wilderness of Amakhala game reserve, I would sit and observe how everything revolves around another on the horizon, I would track wildlife and feel the footprint they left behind, smell the strong scents of their territories and hear the incredible little creatures above the earth working jointly to shape our environment. This incredible experience moved me, it took my passion for wildlife into a whole new perspective; It taught me to appreciate nature even more than before! My newly acquired knowledge of wilderness was vital to my full comprehension of my surroundings. I felt like this course has unlocked my sixth sense!  Thanks to my trainers Schalk, Pieter and Shani, many new friends that I made through this program and everyone at Ulovane environment training for a lifetime experience! Lastly, it was such an honour to be assessed by one of the legend Adriaan Louw– Shatri Mafinga, Tanzania

The ocean is a central image. It is the symbolism of a great journey ~Enya 

World Oceans Day 08 June 2017

News from the Ulovane Team

Farewell to the January Field and Back up Trails Guides

What IF
We only had twenty seconds left
Twenty seconds to make your life count
Twenty seconds to do something you have always wanted to
Or say something to someone you have always wanted to but were always too scared
Maybe you will use those twenty seconds to reflect back on your life-
Will you be happy and satisfied with what you see?

Will you see your MARK left on someone?
Have you done ENOUGH?
Have you done something DIFFERENT?
Were you BRAVE enough to do something different?

Time is a precious thing and too often we only realise this when it is too late.
Then, the “what if” and “I wish I had” phrases plays off in our minds over and over again.
Why wait until it’s too late?
Why not do something NOW?
Take that new job, go on that holiday, make a change in the world. The time is NOW!
Not tomorrow or the next day, or next month or in ten year’s time, because you do not know where you will be by then.
Live every day to its fullest, make every second count, think about your actions, make a change in the world. LIVE!!!

BE the change!
It starts with YOU!
And the time is NOW!

Six weeks have flown past and we are entering our final week with the back – up trails guide students. On everybody’s lips is the question- “where has the time gone?”

From our side, we want to say THANK YOU to all our students who have chosen Ulovane to be their home for the last five and a half months. We have gone through some tough times together but we also had a lot of fun. We hope that you have enjoyed your journey with us as much as we have enjoyed having you with us.

Now, the world is your oyster. Go and be yourself in the big bad world out there and take with you the valuable life lessons that you have learnt.

We wish you guys the best of luck for your final assessments and exam! Go out there and get them!!!!

–       Shani

Sighting of the Month

The day started off as a normal everyday morning drive… We had stopped at a sighting of some Plains game where one of our fellow students was practising his guiding skills when a game viewer and an ever so eager guide came past us. We radioed him to find out the reason of his excitement and it turned out to be a brown hyena who was scavenging on the eland kill (in the middle of the day!!) that the Lions had made a day before. We changed course completely and headed over to the once in a lifetime sighting. The sighting was absolutely amazing and one way to keep all of us completely quiet!Kristin Mace, South Africa

Where are they now, Ulovane Ambassador: Tayla McCurdy

When did you finish at Ulovane and briefly tell us what you have been doing since then?

I started off at Ulovane in 2012 just doing the FGASA level 1 course, however, I returned in 2014 (took some time off work) to do the backup trails course. I then continued guiding on a beautiful property in the Eastern Cape called Kariega Game Reserve. I then moved to Zambia to work in the Lower Zambezi National Park as a lodge manager, I missed guiding way too much and got an opportunity to work in the the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Where are you now?

I have been in the Sabi Sands for just over 2 years, started in the south at Sabi Sabi’s Earth Lodge, however, I have moved on from traditional guiding. I now work for WildEarth as a Presenter on the show SafariLIVE.

What are your future plans?

Not too sure what my next plans will be! I love what I’m doing at the moment and as long as I continue to grow as a guide, expand my knowledge and get the opportunity to bring joy to people lives then I’ll stay put! I’d like to complete my FGASA level 3 and eventually get my assessors.

How did your Ulovane experience prepare you for a career in the guiding, hospitality industry?

Ulovane is really a great training provider, all aspects were covered in immense detail! From learning how to cook, setting up a simple sundowner to taking a moment to appreciate how wonderful nature is! You showed me how important it is to conserve the wilderness areas and portray this in an educational way to guests from across the world.

What was your favourite memory of Ulovane?

I have 2 favourite memories from my time at Ulovane, the 1st one is the day that Schalk pulled me aside and told me that I needed to work on my birding… After this conversation, I had never in my life been more driven to improve in an area! I remember sitting outside for the rest of the afternoon looking for birds! Today I can say that birding is one of my passions! (All thanks to you Schalk!) The 2nd experience was the 24hrs alone in the bush… I was petrified, to say the least, but it made me realise how small you really are in the world! What a humbling experience that was!

What has been your most memorable moment working as a field guide? This may seem strange but my most memorable experience so far is the day I got the call being offered a job at WildEarth. I’m

This may seem strange but my most memorable experience so far is the day I got the call being offered a job at WildEarth. I’m surrounded by the best guides in the industry who are the most amazing mentors! The laughs, unbelievable sightings and comradery the team has is like no other I have ever experienced!

What advice would you give to someone entering the guiding industry?

The guiding industry is becoming a very competitive market, my advice to anyone wanting to join is be prepared for hard work, keep your head down and set yourself goals! Don’t become a stagnant guide continue to further your studies and go on as many safaris as you can with experienced guides! (Listen to their stories) You can never stop learning in the bush!

www.wildsafarilive.com is the SafariLIVE website – have a look what these guides get up to!

You can contact her via email for any course related questions taylamccurdy@hotmail.co.za.

If you would like to be one of our featured Ulovane Ambassadors please contact me! We would love to know where you are and where life has taken you after Ulovane.

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 one of our upcoming Open Days if you would like more information, you will be able to meet the team and view the facilities.

Applications for July and October Intakes for the longer courses are open and 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


 “We must stop seeing the natural world as a commodity and start seeing it as we would see a family member, something to love, protect, care for, and cherish.” ― Barry Babcock

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