Ulovane Update: September Semester Week 10

10 Dec

Apprentice Field Guides: Time for Goodbye!

Chris, from the United Kingdom, joined us for and successfully completed our 10-week Apprentice Field Guide course. He was referred to Ulovane Environmental Training by a student who did her Apprentice Field Guide course through us and now works at one of the lodges as a guide on Amakhala Game Reserve.

Where has the time gone!! It really does fly when you’re having fun.

We are now in the final week of our Apprentice Field Guide course, with the final FGASA exam approaching. It feels like only yesterday that everyone arrived from their various destinations, settled into the Ulovane campus and then sat in the classroom for the introduction talk to what was to be our home, classroom and living area for the next ten weeks.

Since then, so much has happened. All of which has made me a more confident person and has sparked an interest in the natural environment. Throughout the course, I have learnt so much, but what stands out most to me is the ethical behaviour and sustainable living that goes on here at Ulovane. Before I arrived here to attend the course, I wouldn’t have thought twice about certain things, but because of what we learn and are exposed to here, I now know things that are very damaging to the environment. On a trip into town, it even felt weird to throw some of my rubbish into a general waste bin, as everything is carefully recycled on the campus.

One of the most enjoyable practical components was getting to conduct our own game drives. It was great fun driving the big 4×4 vehicles, as well as getting to educate others on everything you have learnt. It’s a great component to the course that Ulovane provides; having real guests who visit Ulovane during our game drive assessment week. We are marked for our ability to conduct a guided activity for our guests, showcasing all we have learned over the previous 8 weeks. It really gives a feel for what guiding as a career feels like.

I heard about Ulovane from when I came to the reserve on holiday a year ago. I was interested by how our guide became qualified to guide, so upon enquiring she told me she had studied through and completed her Apprentice Field Guide course here at Ulovane and recommended it to me. It’s nice to drive around the reserve and bump into her with other guests whilst she is guiding!

In the introduction talk, the instructors made various statements and predictions about the upcoming course. Things like how the time fly’s by after the first couple of weeks. But most of all just like it was said in the talk, I can say now that we are one big family, and I hope I see everyone again soon.


“The formula of life is simple. It is the formula of giving – giving courage, attention, peace, love and comfort to yourself and the society.” ― Amit Ray

Marine Guide course: Week 3

Francois brings you the adventures of week 3 of our marine guide course. What a journey he has been on, being with Ulovane since the Apprentice Field Guide course in July!

Sitting this morning watching the sunrise over the ocean, it hit me like a tonne of bricks, “It’s almost over my boy”. Second, last week is gone!! 6 months went by so fast it is quite unbelievable. The saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” is now a reality and very true!

We had a very eventful and busy week having to finish the last bit of work in our marine workbooks, but still, enjoy being at the sea and on the beach, you know! We are staying in the most awesome place – thanks Ulovane (Schalk & Candice).

This week, we had to plan an outing in groups of two. First up were Chiracq and Danike. They really put in a lot of thought for a wonderful day starting it off with a nice chat on ocean conservation. Great choice seeing as the weather didn’t really play along, but besides that, let’s face it, we are the biggest predators in nature. Thereafter we went to Port Alfred Kowie museum to learn a bit about the history of the area. All I can say is well-done guys; you are naturals at marine guiding.

Then Jenna and I decided that we would take a different approach and planned a lovely walk at ‘Canon rocks walking trail’. The weather was on our side this time and played along well! With our own encyclopaedia of marine nature, ‘Shani Preller’ herself – it turned into a nice educational walk and exercise.

We ended it off with a mock field & sign assessment this morning to test our knowledge on shells, seagrasses, seaweeds, birds, tracks, anything! It is amazing what you can learn in 3 weeks with the right guidance and teacher.

Well, it brings tears to my eyes when I think of the person I have become in this journey with Ulovane. I would never be able to thank the whole Ulovane team enough for everything they have done for me!! And for anyone out there that might be considering this for a career, don’t even look any further. Ulovane is like finding an ice-cold glass of water in the middle of a dry desert!

Unbelievable! This place doesn’t just quench your thirst, it quenches your soul.


“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” ― Sylvia Plath

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