Backup Trails Guides
We return refreshed and re-energized after our short weekend off. We knew what was waiting for us this week to come!
It was the week of Advanced Rifle Handling and we were as nervous as can be. For some of us, it was the first time in our lives to even touch a rifle or any firearm for that matter.
Monday was still somewhat relaxed, as we only did dry runs with dummy rounds at the outdoor shooting range. So no bruised cheeks or shoulders were acquired that day!
Tuesday was when it all began! This was the day where we all felt what a .375 rifle feels like and what happens when one doesn’t treat him right! This was also the day where we had some external people join us on the range to do their ARH assessments. This was good for us to see before our own assessments took place.
For the next few days, shooting was the main priority. Moving through the set exercises we need to complete, every day we got more confident and it just became easier as we became more familiar with how the rifle felt!
At the end of the Advanced Rifle Handling week, we all had managed to pass the ARH assessment; this was probably the biggest highlight of the week! Therefore, we as a group went to celebrate and have something to eat alongside our trainer Piet, who of course made that all possible.
Saturday was the first day of our sustainable living project. We enjoyed a day of bush clearing which included repairing the best camp out spot on Amakhala game reserve called ‘Bush-Braai’. It has received some ‘love’ and decoration by our herds of elephants throughout the years, and by love, I mean a true bashing. We are looking forward to fixing it up so that we can have some great sleep outs again underneath a brilliant starry open sky.
Next week our walking trails on the reserve start, we are all so excited for this! It has been an intense couple of weeks preparing for this exciting part of our course and we cannot wait to get these boots walking!
Francois & Sem
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius
Last Sunday we finished First aid, and overall I really found it very interesting, especially the practical training at the end because you get confronted with real-life situations. We handled the last injury much better than the first one and we were all very happy with our process.
Week two started with a bang, with Monday and Tuesday giving us – in my opinion – two of our best game drives this far! On the first drive, we saw a cheetah in front of an unbelievable panoramic view of Amakhala Game Reserve. We had lots of time with him so everyone was able to take lots of photos and to just sit and watch him. I think everyone was in awe because the whole vehicle was silent. On the second drive, we saw a herd of elephants in a thicket, and with Justin’s vehicle skills we were able to watch them really close. The herd had a lot of babies which was really cute.
The Night drive on Tuesday evening was luckily a pretty clear night, but unfortunately, we didn’t see any hippo as we all hoped. However, we saw many bushbuck and had a great time looking at the stars.
On Wednesday we had a sleep out at Carnavondale which we were all really excited about. It definitely fulfilled our hopes and it was definitely my highlight of the week. After we had collected firewood, we had a nice braai. After this we sat by the fire and were all given ‘night watch’ duty, which consists of two people over two hours, sitting awake to listen out for any animals venturing too close to camp, and to tend to the fire whilst others get some sleep. These two hours allow for time to think about all kinds of stuff and enjoy going back to our roots and really being ‘in’nature. I tried not to use my phone all of the time which pretty much worked out. It was new for me to be that close or even part of nature and to listen to all the noises it makes. Before I slept, I just enjoyed lying there, doing nothing and listening, which I normally do not do because there is always something distracting. It’s just a completely different feeling to be out in the wild which I (coming from Germany), didn’t really know before.
On the way back we did a trust exercise with Justin. We were in couples and one of each was blindfolded and the other had to lead him through bushes without touching or speaking. In the end, Justin put the exercise in perspective to life and explained that if we do things our way, there will be hurdles and also people who help us to climb them, but it’s just ourselves who actually have to climb them. This was really interesting for me because I never actually thought about it in this kind of way. I think that if I have any hurdles to climb in the future, I will remember this exercise which will help me.
The most interesting and useful thing I have learned this week was how to find North, East, West and South without a compass. The reason why I find it so helpful is because I always had difficulty with it in the past. The way I think I will now use all my life will be to point your 12 on your watch to the sun, and then divide the space between the hours and the 12. Your answer will lead you to a rough direction of North.
On Friday we had an orientation drive with Koen and this helped me a lot to orientate myself in the area. It helps me much more than just looking at the map.
On Saturday we had sustainable living where we worked on the volleyball field which was hard but still fun. It’s awesome to see your own work in progress!
The sleepout and all the time we spent as a group bonded us a lot and we are really getting a great interactive group where everyone is starting to find their place. We are having a lot of fun together.
All in all, this week was really busy but I learned so much and had a lot of fun. I am looking forward to Sunday afternoon to calm down a bit and go to the beach! Then we can start with power into the next week where we are going to start driving ourselves, which I am really excited for!
“To all young people out there: This is the time you should be fearless but not jobless. Identify the right job, find what excited you the most, find what you are the most passionate about.” ―