Ulovane Update: April Field Guides Week 8 and May Marines Week 1

04 Jun

Ulovane Update: Field Guides

Our week 7 was honestly one of the best weeks that I personally had with my fellow field guides because we were able to spend some really fun times together on our little getaway.

It all started on the Monday where we set off to a place called Mansfield which is a private game reserve situated just outside Port Alfred alongside the Kowie River. You can imagine how all the fisherman in the group felt about this, not even half an hour after settling in Eric and Tristan were at the riverside trying to catch a monster but unfortunately they weren’t very successful.

My personal highlight of the trip was when TJ and Warren decided that they wanted to head off on a short canoeing adventure down the river when all of a sudden the canoe started filling up with water until it eventually forced them to evacuate and swim back to the shore.

The rest of the days at Mansfield were filled with morning walks that gave us some more information on plants and trees and we had evening fires just filled with jokes and laughter, and I can’t forget about our good friends the Vervet Monkeys that trashed our rooms everyday in the mornings and afternoons. Thursday we all made our way back to Ulovane and it is always a good feeling to be home!.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday we have all been busy with our assessment game drives which is proving to be very tiring for most of us, but has definitely taught us to all work better as a team. It was exciting, it was nerve wracking, it was so worth it! We have all worked hard to get to this point and it is now time to put our work into practice. Huge thank you, must go out to our guests who braved wind and rain to join us!

  • Matt

“Plan strategically for a very fulfilling future, but don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful sight of this precious moment.” ― Edmond Mbiaka

Ulovane Update: Marine Guides

After having spent the first 19 weeks of our time at Ulovane on Amakhala Game Reserve I think we were all looking forward to a change from the dry bushveld we have become so accustomed to. Fresh scenery, fresh smells, and an exciting new array of flora and fauna for us to learn about.

On our first day of Marines we headed for the beach at Cannon Rocks for the start of a 3 day adventure. For our first introductory walk on the beach we were lucky enough to see an evil-eyed blaasop and an octopus, something not a lot of us had seen before. We also learnt a lot of new things about shells, algae and sponges. The sheer multitude of shell types was overwhelming for most. Before this week I think most of us had just seen shells as something that have washed up onto the beach that we may just pick up as they look pretty, not realising the ecological importance they play in the marine environment. Later in the day a typical South African braai was enjoyed for dinner.

The next day we again went for a walk, but this time in the thicket line on the side of the coast. Unfortunately, this walk was cut short due to the weather, so we decided to try and squeeze some lectures in, so that when the weather improved we could spend more time on the beach. Later that day some us braved the weather and went for a quick walk on the beach. Much fun was had, jumping off the top of the dunes until the wind finally caused us to call it a day.

Wednesday we went to the Bushmans River mouth to continue the updating of the photo and video shoot of Ulovane. It was time for us to show how much fun we were actually having at the beach.  So out came the inner child in most of us, running down the dunes, jumping over the dunes doing tricks and stunts, whilst having as much fun as possible. Of course, with all the energy expended a hearty breakfast in Kenton-on-sea was well appreciated by all. The afternoon was spent studying for our weekly tests which were written later in the day.

We awoke on Thursday to the most beautiful day. It always seems to happen that the best day is the one that you leave on. With the sun shining brightly, we completed the full forest walk and a little bit of the Alexandria dune fields which were beautiful. Having walked almost 15 km, most were exhausted. Sadly we had to leave the beach and return to Ulovane.

Friday was again time for class as we continued our learning on marine mammals. I certainly will look at these mammals in a very different light going forward. Weekend weather was decidedly miserable, so was a pleasure to lie in bed keeping warming studying again for the weekly tests on Sunday.

Let’s see what the next week has in stall for us!

  • Kyle, Allan and Lampies

“To allow ourselves to be truly in touch with where we already are, no matter where that is, we have got to pause in our experience long enough to let the present moment sink in; long enough to actually feel the present moment, to see it in its fullness, to hold it in awareness and thereby come to know and understand it better.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn

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