Apprentice Trails Guides
Adriaan is back with Ulovane again for his Apprentice Trails Guide course! He has brought you the adventures of week two of their course. Read on to see what the four Trails students got up to, and what important lessons Adriaan learned about Trails guiding this week.
After passing our two unit standards for PFTC firearm control exams the week prior, this week we went to the shooting range, where we practiced shooting at first, with dummy rounds using the .375 calibre rifle. The purpose of using dummy rounds was to drill in the fundamentals of shooting and to run through the exercises required to pass A.R.H.
Tuesday was the first day we went to the shooting range and shot with live ammunition. I soon learned of the tremendous amount of pressure these exercises put a person under and this changed my perspective on the amount of respect a Trails Guide has to have towards the potentially dangerous game, so as to prevent charges in real life. I also learned that in your career as a Trails guide you are bound to find yourself in some sticky situations and that it is of utmost importance to be as best prepared as possible so that the LAST resort, will be your dependence on your rifle as your saving grace.
Halfway through the week, we started the day off with a cup of coffee and a cosy fire before we started slinging lead and reinforcing the steps to be taken when faced with a life-threatening charge. After handling all the other exercises, only the dreaded simulated charge, A.K.A ‘Sarabi’, was left but unfortunately, on this day, curiosity killed the Trails guide!
Thursday started off much like Wednesday, with a cup of coffee and a fire. Once again passing all the exercises with only ‘Sarabi’ to be ticked off. Luckily, this time I got the better of the lion and passed A.R.H ending the day with a huge smile!
It was a real winter’s weekend, and so I made a lamb potjie for everyone to enjoy on Sunday lunchtime, which was a great way to end the week, as we sat around the fire chatting whilst it was brewing away slowly.
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” -Robert Tew
Apprentice Field Guides
Tyler is here with us for the one-year course, as he wishes to pursue a career in guiding. He is here to share the adventures of week two of their Apprentice Field guide course with you all.
Week two started with an 8 o’clock lecture on geology with Schalk, learning about the quartzite ridges, limestone toppings as well as a timeline of the landscapes in and around the beautiful Amakhala Game Reserve and how they were formed over millions of years.
The afternoon saw us on a game drive, headed by Dominic, a fellow field guide student. On the drive, we discussed the practical part of our morning lecture and then made our way to the Carnavon Dale section of the reserve for our first “bush sleep out” beneath the stars.
Myself and Dominic were placed in charge of being the braai masters and ensuring no one ended up with food poisoning. However, that was not an option as we decided the potatoes should stay on for about two hours, leaving us with potatoes that looked like our coals. Thank goodness for braai sarmies I’d say! Although it drizzled throughout the night, we stuck it out and cocooned ourselves into sleeping bags around our campfire.
Tuesday morning was an early and very wet start! We woke up around 5 and packed our soaking wet equipment into the vehicles. I was tasked with driving us back to Ulovane. The roads being wet led to some unexpected ‘bundu bashing’, keeping everyone slightly on edge. Eventually, getting back to Ulovane around lunchtime, we all arrived in one piece.
Our afternoon was followed by much-needed showers as well as an astronomy lecture with Ben.
Midweek had some incredible sightings for us on Amakhala Game Reserve. On one of the afternoon drives, we came across a coalition of two male cheetahs on Amakhala, during the most stunning golden hour with the sun setting off in the distance behind the cheetahs, leaving them in a golden halo. Further along our game drive, we came into a sighting of two male lions and a lioness laying on top of a hill. As we stationed our vehicle, the pride headed off down into the bush below us and we could hear their mating calls, leaving us all in awe.
On Friday we spent our entire day out in the bush, along with the Woodbury guides learning about the art of tracking and trailing animals with Shani. A few of the tracks we came across were that of lions, cheetah, hippos as well as many of the antelopes. It was a truly phenomenal experience learning about animals through feeding signs, dung, and their tracks, as well as having the Woodbury guides sharing their knowledge within the profession with our group of students.
The week ended off with various activities around the camp. Some of the group busied themselves with bush clearing around the Ulovane campus, while the rest of us did some work in the sustainable vegetable garden, prepping new beds and transplanting a few herbs to new beds.
That wraps up our second week at Ulovane, time really does fly when you are out having fun daily and doing what you’re passionate about.
Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to.-Henry van Dyke