Ulovane Update: Field and Backup Trails Guides Week 6

26 Feb

Did you know that the Ulovane Update blog was born in 2006, the year that we welcomed our first group of students at Ulovane. It started out as a personal blog and has since evolved into weekly updates direct from the students themselves. It has been amazing to be apart of this blog and blogging for the past 13 years. It is photos and stories that previous students can share their children and even their grandchildren one day (we not going anywhere anytime soon). I am sure for many of you it was a memory in your life experience that you will never forget.

So if you have ever written a weekly blog for us, I know sometimes it was a pain, but go back now and look for your blog, go dive into those memories and share them with your family and friends. It will make you happy, that is for sure, remembering those crazy times at Ulovane! Thank you to each and everyone one of you that have ever contributed to our blog, it may well someday be a contribution to our life story in a book! – Candice

Field Guides

‘Billy, wanna come over for a fight? Scared…’ , ‘I-am-the-king’, ‘Yes, PLEASE’. No, we haven’t gone crazy. These are tricks to remember bird calls (sombre greenbul, brown-hooded kingfisher and black-shouldered kite), because that’s what this week was all about: birds. We returned refreshed and re-energised after our weekend off. Week six had a lot for us in-store. Not only was it birding week, but also reptiles were thrown in there for good measure.

With these two we were leaving the big 5 for now and started looking for our flying friends and some scaled critters. Major sightings included a giant rock monitor, a brown snake eagle and a secretary bird.


It was all cameras on board to ensure we get the best photos. Luckily we have some keen photographers (with lenses big enough to see Pluto) so that was not a major issue.

This week we also started with our mock practical solo game drives, where we had to do and prepare EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. In week 8 the first real guest will arrive to Amakhala for our first assessment drives.

Friday our tracking assessment took place, which had some of us in a bit of a stress ball. The fresh caracal track, the leopard tortoise dung and the yellow mongoose scat where the most tricky ones.

We are looking forward to our hosting evening coming up on week 7 at Sidbury Cricket Club, to see what it takes to host a great evening and what goes into such an evening front of house as well as at the back.

Francois & Casper

“Hustle isn’t just working on the things you like. It means doing the things you don’t enjoy so you can do the things you love ” – Unknown

Backup Trails Guides

As always at the Ulovane camp, time flies by so quickly. Week 6 started off with a very nice sleep-out with Shani and Koen at Kudu-Kloof on the southern boundary of the reserve, an area we had actually never been to before. We spent the night sitting around the fire, talking, braaiing and just enjoying the bush. The next morning we got up at 3am for a night drive, hoping for some exiting nocturnal animals, but unfortunately weren’t lucky this time.

The focus this week was however tracking for our tracking assessment on the weekend and preparing for our practical assessment. Everyone got another chance to take the group on a bushwalk. On Diogo’s walk on Wednesday we went into the Dune-Forest. We found some interesting fresh elephant tracks close to where we left the vehicle and followed them for a bit. Suddenly Joost, the back-up this day, received a call on the radio, that another guide had seen two Buffalo-Bulls at our car. The two bulls are new on the reserve and still quite aggressive, so we tried to get some distance between us and them, when we suddenly heard some big branches breaking in front of us (most probably elephant), but couldn’t see anything, so we changed directions again and fortunately the two buffalo bulls were walking quite fast, so we ended up with a nice long-distance sighting of them about 300m away.

On Wednesday it was time for Bianca and me to give the bush another try and after we struggled a lot at the last walk in the Grand Canyon, this walk turned out quite nice and we explored the waterfall at Klipgat.

Our group was very keen on the tracking assessment that followed on the weekend. We are always excited about tracking, because you find tracks of animals, that you will usually not see. We all passed the assessment and got a tracking level, which we can be proud of, because the tracks themselves weren’t easy and the substrate was mostly sand. My favorite tracks on this weekend were a monitor lizard and an owl track.

Now we are preparing for the last trails week ahead of us as well as our practical and theoretical assessments.

Keep your fingers crossed for us,


 All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

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