Ulovane Update: January 2020 Semester Week 3

05 Feb

Apprentice Field Guides

Meet Jesse from the Apprentice Field guide course, to share with you all this week, their adventures of week three!

If I had to pick a favourite moment of this past week, it would be seeing a male and female lion on one of our game drives on Amakhala Game Reserve! I have chosen it as my favourite because I have never seen lions in the wild, out in their natural habitat where they belong, because where I come from you only ever see them in cages or small enclosures, which I believe is cruel because big cats were not made to be enclosed, but instead to roam free in wide-open spaces, without limitations. Even though I have had some work experience at a zoo, feeding carnivores, seeing them in the wild was a real, life-changing experience for me.

This week we also had an exciting night out that we got to spend in the bush with Schalk and Justin! We camped at a spot on Amakhala Game Reserve called ‘Bush braai’. It was another favourite for me from this week because being out in nature, right in the thick of it that night, is something that I know I will always be passionate about. On this sleep-out, something quite amazing happened for me. As you can see from the pictures, some of us are blindfolded. This was a trust exercise which Schalk and Justin did with us. The exercises required real teamwork and communication, as well as leadership! It was wonderful to see how everyone worked together; communication was not a problem! Everyone knew their boundaries.

Something I found very interesting to have learned about, was the stars and the moon (Astronomy); how to find the constellations of Orion and Scorpio as well as being able to find direction if you ever get lost in the bush, by using the sun and the stars.

I would like to say that I have begun to acquire a new skill for myself since having been here at Ulovane, and that is I have been a relatively quiet person who has kept mostly to myself my whole life, but I am beginning to learn how to actively communicate with others in my group, which I am quite enjoying!

We had some various D.I.Y projects going on at camp this weekend; the classroom painting project continued, whilst some of us went to do our part for both conservation and practicality, by gathering some firewood for camp which has the added bonus of us clearing areas of indigenous woody plant species so the vegetation in these areas doesn’t become impenetrable.

Sunday after our exam, we have an exciting activity to look forward to, which is called, ‘me time’! During a 24 hour period, we are given the opportunity to spend time alone in the bush on Ulovane Reserve, to be able to be one with nature, to think about what we are doing here, and to be in the moment I guess, appreciating what we have and where we are! I think it is going to be an interesting experience, which you will hear about next week from Liam & Anthony!

  • Jesse.

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler

Apprentice Trails Guides

Tyron has written a great account of the Apprentice Trails guide course week three for you all! He has been with us since the Apprentice Field guide course and will be staying through to his marine guide course after that!

We are already into week three of our Apprentice Trails Guide course, the time is moving incredibly quickly!

This was an amazing week! It was our first week since having started the Apprentice Trails guide course, of walking on Amakhala Game Reserve. The walks at the beginning of this week were to get us back into the feel of being out on the reserve, and we were ecstatic and very eager to get out again and not be behind the books!

If I could find a way to describe how I felt being on foot in the bush, in a place that we all know so well; it was like a lucid dream being able to see all the little and beautiful things one doesn’t get the chance to be able to see from a vehicle!

The walking aspect of Apprentice Trails takes getting used to, as it’s a bit tiring but it is absolutely worth it.

We have done a total of 29 hours of walking so far this week, many more to come! Although the weather was extremely hot on one day or two this past week, we pushed through and had some amazing encounters with beautiful animals; elephants, hippos and giraffe to name but a few! We were fortunate enough to have one of the Apprentice Trails guides, Chris, from Hilsnek, a lodge on Amakhala Game Reserve, join us for two walks this week. He took the lead for half of our walk on Friday, which was great for us to see him in both roles of back-up and lead rifle. He has taught us a lot in the time we have spent with him, and being a guide on the reserve already, having studied here at Ulovane a few years ago, he reiterated to us all how easily one develops habits when you are guiding full time, but he found it incredibly refreshing to return to Ulovane, and be reminded of the respect and ethics that Ulovane instils in each and every student who passes through their doors.

We learnt a myriad of interesting things this week! It was captivating to go into depth about the Vachellia Karroo (commonly referred to as the Common Sweet thorn) tree, and to learn how many different insects inhabit the tree and what their different roles are; each as unique and important as the next! We also learned that the tree would defend itself by increasing the tannin production, which then sends off pheromones to ward off browsers.  We also learnt how the caste system of termites works, when the queen dies, what happens, like for example how the blister beetle will sneak into the ‘graveyard’ of the termites and wait for more to be put there to eat!! Nature is so fascinating.

Come back next week for more:)


“Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Ginni Rometty 

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