Backup Trails Guides Week 2
Communication is Key!
After spending our last Sunday at the beach, on Monday morning we dived head first into our favorite activity as back-up trials guides again, meaning we rise with the sun early in the morning and enjoy the first sun rays out on foot in the bush. This morning was exceptionally hot, so we mainly focused on identifying the tracks and signs that we could find on our way. Solving all the little riddles the bush provides us with is always a lot of fun and you can be sure, that after every walk you return to the Ulovane campus with more knowledge than before.
On Monday’s walk we were spoiled with the track of one of the inhabitants of Amakhala that we rarely get to see, and which easily makes it into the top 5 of animals that we would all love to encounter: the honey badger. Of course he was nowhere to be seen, but it was interesting to follow its tracks a bit and see what it had been up to.
In the middle of the week we started walking with the rifles ourselves. Having the rifle in your own hands and being responsible for the safety of the group together with our instructor changes your perception of the environment drastically. You have to pay a lot more attention to every noise, movement, smell and track. Nevertheless, even being on high alert cannot always keep you from being surprised by some sneaky visitors. So in order to remain safe at all times, two important points stand out to all of us, communication with the lead guide and remaining calm at all times are key!
One of our highlights this week had to be when we found ourselves in a position where we had a tower of giraffes above us and a herd of elephants below us, which left all of us in a state of excitement that easily outweighs the exhaustion of a seven hour walk. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be sitting in amongst giraffes and elephants. It was truly amazing and the best part, we did not disturb them at all, just sat, observed and enjoyed.
- Bianca Schenk
The difference between an ordinary life and an extraordinary one is only a matter of perspective. – Beau Taplin
This is life, this is the Ulovane Experience!
Where to start?
We can start 13, 6 billion year ago. It was the Big Bang, when all the matter of the Universe was created: when we look at the sky we can imagine the inner surface of a bubble, 13, 6 billion light years far away. That’s the “wall” of our Universe.
Anyway…is still too big for us: let’s go to a closer scale. That’s the Milky Way. Did you know that our galaxy counts hundreds of thousands of stars (and solar systems) and is just one among 100 billion of others galaxies?
(And we are just talking about the observable universe…)?
Still too big to compare, let’s go to an even closer scale: our sky, using our eyes, here at Ulovane. Orion is just over the roof of the Campus, the Southern cross on the other side, a little bit on the left: just check for the pointers…the star at the bottom is the nearest to us…but is still more than 4 light years far away from us.
That stars can be useful to get an orientation, to know which direction to aim. It is useful to us today, and it has been useful for thousands of years.
If we now skip from these bigger scale examples to a very little one, for example a little grain of sand that is under our feet, even an apparently insignificant sand mound has a story to tell: that little group of quartz crystals is the same age as the universe (we never think that all the matter which our body is made up of…is the same age…) and has hundreds of millions of years of history. Year after year, or thousands of years after thousands of years, the landscape has been modified and shaped through the forces of the Nature, winds, flood, seas and heat and finally that little grain of sand contributed to the beauty of the panoramic view that we can admire everyday from our deck at Ulovane.
These are just two reflections that are a consequence of some of the pages that we studied last week, but Ulovane is not just books and theory: its tens of hours of game drive, it is wonderful wildlife sightings, it is a night in the wild around a fire at Carnarvon Dale, it is swimming in the Bushmans river and then fishing for carps (and then cooking and eating it…), it is learning how Nature (and life) works.
Its an incredible experience, its true life.
- Giorgio Sandrone
“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back, and realize they were the big things.” – unknown