As the weeks have flown by, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Whether it’s weather or game drives or even classes, we are used to dealing with curveballs. The week started off and we jumped straight into botany with an early morning walk. Immediately taking samples and doing our best to try and process all the valuable information that our instructors are providing us with. As the week progressed, we continued with our game drives, and we still have so much to learn.
As the week draws to a close and the botany work and studying becomes more familiar, we are really thankful for the short week that has been given to us. We will surely enjoy our time over the “long weekend”.
Each week has new challenges and each time we find ways to overcome these challenges and still form better bonds with each other. It is sad how quickly that time flies, I don’t think any of us want to leave any time soon.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” – Confucius
This fifth week of the trails course was exceptionally eventful. We were faced with new challenges, both mentally and physically.
It started with two of us walking as lead guide for the first time ever. The elephants were waiting for us that morning and we found a beautiful cliff to view them. There, we saw rock hyraxes, warming themselves in the early morning sun, too.
Walking as a lead guide is a whole new experience. First of all, you are responsible for your group and have to decide, where to walk and how to handle encounters with animals. We were so concentrated on our surrounding and planning our next steps and still we know that we miss a lot. I didn’t see nor hear the oxpeckers flying above us, that indicated the presence of a rhino in the area.
Even if you notice signs of animals, it is hard to decide, what to make out of the information. Your calculations could lead you in a safe or critical situation and you are not walking alone, your decisions affect your whole group.
The more I learn about walking in the bush and about animal behaviour, the more careful I realise I have to be in encounters with animals. I realised how much I still don’t understand and I started to see myself as an impostor in the natural environment we walk in.
There are more bush-walks to come and I hope I will gain confidence and be comfortable, because through the knowledge we get at Ulovane, we learn how to be in the bush without disturbing animals and how to stay more or less invisible; it just needs a lot of patience and practice.
Wednesday and Thursday was all dedicated to Advanced Rifle Handling.
The assessment is demanding and ends in the simulated lion charge as a last exercise. The paper lion charges you with only a third of the charging speed of a real lion, but is still incredibly fast. It is a very emotional exercise: you don’t have much time to act, have your guests to control, the lion’s brain is tiny and moving and none of us even want to pretend to shoot a lion.
The days on the range were long, but it is amazing to see how much we improved our shooting in such a short time. Most of us never even touched a rifle before we got here.
On Friday Jungle Lane came. The first rule of Jungle Lane is not to talk about Jungle Lane. The second rule of Jungle Lane is not to talk about Jungle Lane.
- Richard and Maya
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts” – Eleanor Roosevelt