Week 4 of the ULOVANE Field guide course has come to its end and was jam-packed with exciting days, filled with interesting information, awesome animal behaviour and good vibes!
Exciting times for the Trails and Field Guides, as we got to join the Trails guides on their walking adventures on Amakhala Game reserve. We as Field guide’s got to learn a few things about tracking from our “ seniors “ the Trail guide’s and gave them the opportunity to work with guests on foot for the first time. It was definitely a learning curve for us all, us field guides are still fairly new in the bush, so being out in a big 5 reserve on foot, was an all-new scary but exciting opportunity and we cannot wait till it is our turn to be out there on foot. The trails guides did a great job keeping us all safe and sharing nature on foot with us newbies! Thank you!
This week was all about animal behaviour and amphibians for us. We really enjoyed our animal behaviour experience during our walks, super interesting to see an animals behaviour change from when you are in a vehicle to when you are on foot and in their space, their zone. We were at all times respectful and kept our distance from all wildlife during our walks. The giraffes were extremely interested in us and this was really a WOW moment for many of us!! The elephants also took a keen interest in us during our frogging evening, which had to come to a swift end as the ellies decided they wanted our spot and were not going anywhere anytime soon! Most animals were very happy to leave us be and head off in the opposite direction of where we were, while on foot. When we were on a vehicle it was clear they felt safer, they were very happy to continue with their business while we watched quietly from our vehicle.
I really enjoyed this week and the variety of walking and then game driving. I am not sure I am ready to be on foot just yet, but I am definitely looking forward to it once I get through my field guide qualification!
Thank you everyone for a sensational week!
“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.” –Linda Hogan
Backup Trails Guides
It’s amazing how fast the weeks go by when you are having fun and learning so much all at the same time. Week 4 started with a bang (and I mean literally) where on Monday morning we were divided into 2 groups (and it happened to be the girls versus the guys) and had a Question and Answer session with Shani and yes, the girls won if you were wondering!
In the afternoon we drove to the shooting range where we practiced exercise 6 which was shooting at a stimulated lion charge. This had to be the most difficult out of all the exercises. Although not all of us were able to hit the brain area, we still held our confidence and remembered all the basics too keep in mind.
Tuesday’s walk greeted us all with a cold “End Of July” misty morning. We focused on tracking and observed a lot of animal behaviour that you wouldn’t often see when on the vehicles. There is so much more out there than just the odd tree.
As Wednesday is my favourite day of week, we also happened to do one of the many favourite activities on this day- TRACKING!! Both the Field Guides and Trail Guides along with the instructors set off on the reserve and did some tracking. The tracks were very interesting and we all achieved adequate results.
On Thursday we were broken up into two groups for a walk on the reserve. One group walked in the ‘basin’ while the other group walked in the valley area. Megan and I were back-ups for group one. Marco and Jaco were back-ups for the other group. It was an enjoyable walk as the field guides were able to join us and experience what it is like to do a walk in the bush.
As the week went on we prepared ourselves for our ARH assessment which will take place next week. Nerves are upon us, and stress levels are slowly increasing as we are coming down to the last few weeks of our course. However, each one of us has grown in so many ways during these past 4 weeks. We have all formed positive relationships that will continue to support us through our challenges we are about to face.
Good luck to my fellow students! Remain calm and aim!!
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”- John Muir