The Ulovane Updates, are not just for the students to keep a journal of their time with us at Ulovane they are also for all of you that have ever considered a life living and working on a game reserve. The students give an honest and open account of their weekly experiences and we hope that this helps give you an idea of what to expect while living and learning in nature, working towards the ultimate goal of being a field guide, conservationist, lodge manager, or even wildlife photographer.
Apprentice Field Guides Week 9
Our second last week of the course started off with our field guide observation assessment which was a walk through the Ulovane property, on a rather chilly morning, where we were asked 50 questions, on anything from botany, mammals, to birds and tracks and signs.
This week was the week for our final practical assessments, so on Tuesday morning, we wrote our final slide and sound exam. It is a big one to prepare and study for, as there are numerous sections covered in the exam – reptiles, arthropods, plants, grasses and flowers, mammals, and birds. It took about two hours to write!
I enjoy my own writing of stories in my free time, so in between classes or in the evenings after dinner, I will write my stories. On Wednesday night, it was pretty chilly, so I wrote a little bit, up to chapter two of the story I am busy with, and then lay in bed for a while listening to the quiet of nature, before falling asleep.
I woke the next morning to a beautiful, glamorous sunrise, rising and shining through a few fluffy clouds floating across the sky. There was a heavy mist across the basin, which is part of the landscape of Amakhala Game Reserve that we look out across from our deck of Ulovane. It is incredibly beautiful to see.
It is hard to believe this was my second last week in this amazing place. I don’t ever want to leave Amakhala, because it feels like home for me already. Especially the atmosphere here, where there are always kind, friendly people.
Our final practical game drive assessments were this week too! Due to the COVID pandemic, we didn’t have external guests on our game drives as we usually do, so we all took turns to be each other’s guests. The drive I joined was wonderful. Our guide stopped and he talked about the formation of the rocks, which was amazing how the high mountains were built during the pressure of the formation of the rocks. We learned about different types of rocks too, like metamorphic and sedimentary.
Friday was my turn for my assessment drive. I took the time to prepare for my drive so that I could make my guests feel as comfortable and provide as enjoyable an experience as possible.
I enjoy caring for people, and like the responsibility of ensuring a good time for them by providing and imparting the knowledge I have, as best I can.
Saturday was a hot day, and the game drives were wonderful with some great sightings being had.
I love nature, animals, and the bush! I have had the most incredible time here at Ulovane!
“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.” – Leah LaBelle
Marine Guides Week 2
Jesse recently completed all the components of his Apprentice Trails guide course with us and is now down at the beach campus in Kenton-on-Sea for the Marine guide course. He has written a short account of the goings-on of week two of their course!
Staying down at the coast is was a whole game changer! From the animals to the birds, all the way down to the soil. We have learned so much about the ocean wonders and its giants.
During our time here, we went on a boat trip to the ocean where we saw two different types of dolphins; namely the common and bottlenose dolphins! This was really amazing to see them in their natural environment. The guides on the boat were really happy and amazed too, to see the Common dolphins!
Back here at the beach surroundings in Kenton, we went onto a huge rock on the beach, from where we then spotted a whale. We even got to see some of the mammal behavior we learn about in our lecture, demonstrated by the whale, which was super amazing.
I really enjoy every lecture but my favorite of all was marine mammals and reptiles; these two stood out for me.
The weather here has had its up and downs but above all, we are still having a wonderful time. I only wish the marine course was longer.
I really enjoy fishing out with the guys and eating what we catch. We have been super lucky to have caught some Stumpnose and Blacktail! We had a lovely home-cooked Stumpnose fish n’ chips meal on Sunday.
The birds on the coast are super placid and much more interesting. I never thought a Goliath heron could get so huge – they are beautiful giants!
To conclude I am really having a beautiful time at the coast. It makes me think more about becoming a marine guide too.
“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.” – William Arthur Ward