Ulovane update: Field Guides
Waking up to the distinct call of the Southern Bou Bou and feeling the crisp early morning air on your skin whilst you watch the sunrise are just a few of the many exuberant daily experiences at Ulovane Environmental Training.
I can remember the nerve wrecking, butterfly feeling I got when first arriving, seeing all the new faces, each person with their own set of unique characteristics, as if it was yesterday. Three weeks have since passed. Close friendships have formed creating one big family. There are however many adjustments to get used to such as the many creepy crawly arachnids that love to dwell within our living quarters.
Many activities have taken place and so much has been learnt in just three fast paced weeks. Us field guides all began driving this week and while some dreaded the thought of tackling the tough terrain, others couldn’t wait to experience the power and perks of a 4×4. Despite the mixture of emotions, everyone did exceptionally well with the help of Justin, Grant and Schalk.
Monday was an activity filled day as we set out for a day drive. We stopped midday for lunch at Boat Site where we were given team and skill building activities. We were split into two teams and told to come up with an intimidating war cry. Both teams had very different yet creative versions. Whilst one form of war cry consisted of a nature themed rap the other was a chameleon themed sing along with utilised natural elements to enhance the outlook. After our entertaining war cries most of us dived at the opportunity to cool down in the river, flowing with all kinds of life, after the sun had been at its most prevailing, beating down on the ground below it.
As the day began to cool down both field and trails guides went to Sidbury sport grounds to enjoy a relaxing hour or two of playing sport and interacting with guides from other reserves. This was a perfect end to a hot, activity filled day.
As there’s hardly a minute to spare one is reminded that each day presents something new, whether it be the array of brightly coloured Orange Tritonia (a flower) to the astronomical experience of a star filled sky. The captivating colours of the malachite kingfisher to the playful calf amongst the herd of elephants.
Nature never fails to provide valuable life lessons and everlasting knowledge.
The least we as humans can do is to preserve and protect it.
“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment.” Sir David Attenborough.
By Megan Saunders
Ulovane Update: Backup Trails Guides
Week three was the first week of walking for us, the level of excitement was sky high, the nerves were right there at the top too. What were we going to find, what could we expect, could we actually do this? Planning and preparing played a big role for us this week and it was important that we learnt to take responsibility for our equipment, especially the rifles. The biggest lesson learnt this week, was just how big a responsibility it is being a backup guide, you play just as an important role as the lead guide and we think for some this came as a surprise.
We had encounters with lions, elephants and rhinos in which all of our senses got tested to a maximum. After this week everyone is exhausted, but realised how different the experiences are as a field guide (more vehicle based guiding) and as a trails guide (guiding on foot). Not all of us passed the Advanced Rifle handling last week, but even those that did pass and are able to prepare as a backup trails guide, came to the conclusion that even though you can shoot, you are still not 100% prepared for what awaits you out in the bush. Sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, all of our senses were tested, even our unofficial 6th sense, intuition was used. It is a wonderful thing to be able to use what you have been blessed with to keep yourself and your guests safe. Now at the end of week three we all realised how much we still have to learn to be able to have an enjoyable and safe time out in the bush.
Every day out in nature is an adventure, we are learning to embrace every experience and enjoy every moment. There are really not many people who have the opportunity we have at our finger tips, so the next 4 weeks we are going all out to make the most of our course!
“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”― Immanuel Kant
- James and Tobias