Growing up in the Eastern Cape with both parents involved with Amakhala Game Reserve my love for nature was sparked at a young age.
At the young age of 4 years old, it is my dream to become a so-called ‘game ranger’. I used to set up my plastic animals in my bedroom and use my wooden green Land Rover for game drives. Quite frankly I’m not entirely sure if I knew what being a field guide entailed but that is why my experience at Ulovane has been so eye-opening! For my 6th birthday, I received my first tree book which is when I started learning their scientific names and falling in love with them. From this point onwards my love for nature has continued to grow, in fact, over the last six weeks, its growth has been exponential!
I have found that even growing up so close to nature my lack of knowledge has hidden so much from me. I have realised that you really don’t always see how much you walk past every day without even noticing it. This course has helped me a lot in acknowledging my surroundings and knowing that however insignificant something may seem it, plays a vital role in the ecosystem.
We have had yet another jam-packed two weeks as always full of awesome experiences. It started off when the buffalo herd decided that they would like to join us for coffee and rusks, leaving us franticly packing up our tea station just in time for us to enjoy their company, safely in the vehicle.
In our constant hunt for the rare aardvark latrines, we found a truly strange phenomenon. A jackal had overeaten that afternoon, dug a hole, and vomited some of his meat which he covered up to come back to at a later stage. This is something unheard of but of great interest to us, our instructors and field guides on Amakhala Game Reserve.
Over the weekend we decided to try some camping out on Ulovane. The only problem was that the weather had a different plan forcing us to pack up and go home at half-past twelve in the morning due to our wet, mud-caked sleeping bags and the pitter-patter that refused to allow us to sleep. To add insult to injury it ended up being under 2mm of rain.
During this last week, nature showed us yet again that good things come to those that wait. We started out one of our game drives with the mission to find some lions. We were successful and had a brilliant sighting of two male lions who seemed to disappear into the thicket at which point we stopped for a quick coffee break. On our way home we found some impala who were very much on edge, something was really bothering them. Piet recognized the situation immediately and within seconds we spotted the lion coalition walking a well-used game path adjacent to us. After a lazy hunt on some Impala and a rather feeble chase of a warthog, the two lions separated one looking very relaxedly as he walked away but the other one got a bee in his bonnet and took off. We moved into position to view the lion that raced off. It was a matter of seconds and the scream of a warthog indicated that lunch was almost ready. It lasted a long time and the brother had already arrived when the warthog squealed his last squeal. What proceeded after that was lots of bone-crunching and the movement of two dark mains in and amongst the blue bush. A big red smile from the two boys indicated that it was a good meal.
These are just a few highlights of the incredible time we have been having here at Ulovane over the last two weeks. It’s crazy to think that we as a group have passed the halfway mark of our course, the saying ‘time flies when you are having fun’ hasn’t ever been more relevant.
– James Gush
It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, then karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. – Randy Pausch