The week started off with an amazing canoe trip up the Bushman’s river to an overnight hut an alarming fifteen kilometres up the river. Tuesday was an early start with the long paddle awaiting us, but the weather turned out rather pleasant considering the few days of constant rain that we experienced prior.
A midmorning start to the canoe trip meant that we were paddling against the tide, however, it did have its rewards, including a whole smuck jellyfish, two African Fish Eagles and multiple Jackal Buzzards.
Fishing breaks were taken, which were never successful, but we ate, swam and were ready to take to the canoes for the journey upriver. Further upstream we saw a mud patch which provided the perfect opportunity to observe some of the mud prawns that occupy the area, however, we decided that mud racing would be more fun and the human seal was discovered.
We finally arrived at the cutest little river hut which borders Kareiga Game Reserve and we were fortunate enough to hear the lions roar in the night. The paddle back started the next day and the weather seemed to be on our side again, with an outgoing tide and back wind that made progress very promising.
Diogo and Bart decided to be creative and take advantage of the wind and decided an upgrade to the canoe was needed. They built a makeshift sail out of the paddles and a towel and did prove to be successful, managing to ride the wind most of the way down the river.
The end was greeted by exhaustion but the morale was high and food and sleep was the chorus in our minds. But the river wasn’t finished yet, having taken most of our electronics to their grave.
Thursday was a relaxing day, and time was spent in the books preparing for our Sunday exams. The afternoon was spent with a walk, and an octopus was discovered amongst the rocks.
Friday was the highlight of the week as we made our way to Port Elizabeth to attend Raggy Charters. Seasickness tablets were given around, but we all managed to keep everything together.
We had the most amazing sightings seeing the African Penguin and a Bryde’s Whale, which for most of us was a first time ever. The ocean is really an amazing place, and to be quite honest I will let the video explain the magnitude of the view we had on the boat, because words simply cannot express it.
- Justyn & Diogo
Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. ― Roy T. Bennett
We have entered the last few days of being here at Ulovane. Game drive assessments have been a blast! Meeting guests from all over and being able to share the knowledge that we have received from our lectures, as well as getting a real feel and experience of how it would feel being a field guide has been interesting. Hosting all the guests and learning where they are from has been exciting. This experience of hosting each others’ guests has taught us how to be a good host to people. Once again a huge thank you to all the guests that joined us on assessment game drives, we had a wonderful time with you all!
Over the past week, we also did a bit of conservation work here on Ulovane reserve, as well as on Amakhala Game Reserve. It was tough, but the work that we did has started to come together; some of the guides from Amakhala even came out to help us. This activity made me realise that there is more to field guiding than only guiding guests around. Hopefully, the next group can see what we have accomplished because I must say not only was it physically draining but mentally as well. However, knowing that it will benefit others in the long run and that it is good for the environment made it worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears.
We can already smell home! But still, even though we may have had some leave us along the way, we are a pretty solid group and will miss each other deeply. There have been laughs, tears, birthday celebrations and some mental breakdowns, but if I can guess, I’d say everyone here will miss this place and the memories we have made together! Some will be returning for Trails, some moving on to University and some will become full-time employees, exciting times ahead for all!
Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment to become excellent at what you do. — Brian Tracy