Today we look back on a journey that was full of incredible experiences that moved us deeply and that we will never forget.
We were apart of so many special experiences such as being present at two animal dartings on Amakhala Game Reserve. Having the privilege of being on the front line of a lion surgery with the famous veterinarian Dr. William Fowlds in the middle of the bush was just spectacular! We were lucky enough to spend some time with Prof. Tony Dold from Rhodes University on a botany excursion. Being introduced to the field guide community at Amakhala Game Reserve and getting to know each other and learning from their experiences was great! We had several overnight excursions under the open sky out on Amakhala and were thus able to experience nature intensively in the dark with a variety of new sounds.
The starting point was always the beautiful Amakhala Game Reserve with a huge variety of different ecosystems and colorful flora as well as diverse fauna, starting with insects, which surprised us with their constant presence, to the colorful, varied birdlife, to the most diverse antelope species and of course herds of elephants as well as the king of the animal world. The lion experiences will definitely remain unforgettable, the roars still echo in our ears. We are now not only able to recognize different animals by their voices and sounds, especially birds that sometimes make themselves invisible in dense trees, but after several tracking days and walking tours we can also read animal tracks and interpret events on the basis of tracks and signs.
In general, the focus of the training is on interdependences and interactions in the biosystem, on behavior and interpretations, and less on purely listing facts. In a multitude of modules, extensive knowledge is taught that goes far beyond the FGASA requirements. From geology to meteorology, the local flora, and fauna, etc. to animal behavior and conservation management. Of course, a bit of technology was not to be missed, as we were mainly on the road with game viewers and constant maintenance is indispensable to avoid unpleasant surprises. Depending on our preferences, we had a Landcruiser named Sullivan or our Landrover Theodore at our disposal. In addition to not just learning about nature, our photography skills improved tremendously.
The entire training – both in theory and in practice – was conducted by ambitious, highly professional trainers who not only fully shared their knowledge with us, but also brought us closer to their personal connection with nature, their passion. Their spark definitely rubbed off on all of us!
Ulovane meets the different needs of its South African and international students by offering two different options for the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide course namely the 10-week onsite course at the Ulovane campus, which includes both the theory and practical components of the Apprentice Field Guide course and the 10-week theory online course followed by a 5-week practical onsite course at the Ulovane campus. The 10-week onsite course has the advantage that one can immediately put the knowledge one has learned into practice in the field. As for the online course, it also has its advantages one being, If you start with the online course, you already have a theoretical basis done and dusted! Both options are very intensive. Ulovane claims to offer an “Exceptional” Field Guide Training and they do so more than 100%. It goes – as already mentioned above – far beyond the FGASA standards. The time with Ulovane is therefore not only characterized by incredible experiences, but also by a lot of learning. But as the saying goes, nothing comes from nothing.
We definitely all got to know nature in a new way and more intensively with this extraordinary training.
Albert Einstein once said: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. “
Many of us have not only been able to further develop our personality and by coming here boost our self-confidence and our view on the world in general and nature in particular, but have also created the basis for our future careers in guiding or other nature-related professions.
At this point, it only remains for us to say a very, very big THANK YOU for this sensational experience to the whole Ulovane team. We have made friends for life here. We are now part of the Ulovane family and proud of it! Although we are excited to be returning to our families we are very sad to be leaving this amazing place.
- HP & Devon