A special thanks has to go out to Justin, Shani, Piet and Koen for helping us through the last 10 weeks and giving us the fantastic knowledge we have gained along the way. All the Jokes and life stories from you all kept us going and kept the spirits high although times got tough. Thank you to Mamma Joyce and Mamma Thabs for taking care of us! A very special Thank you to Tatum for being there for everyone as moral support and for managing the media, not only were you a support figure you became a fantastic friend to us all.

Thank you to Candice and Schalk without you we would not have been able to experience this great adventure and make our dreams come true.

From all of us the 2018 January Field Guide Class Thank you all and we hope to continue to use the knowledge you have given us and to always have you special people in our lives going forward.

  • James Hallier (January 2018 One Year student)
I am one of the four students who did all 3 courses starting from being an April Field Guide and now ending in September as a Marine Guide. My heart is filled with both joy and grief that my time at Ulovane Environmental Training has come to an end. Joy on that I have gained so much knowledge and cannot wait to share it with the world and grief in that I leave the ones that have made an important impact in my life.
My journey started on the 8th April where I walked into a familiar yet strange place. After a couple of weeks had gone by I settled in nicely and had made friends with all the students. The workload was a difficult task to keep up but by the end of 10 weeks it all came in hand with me graduating as a field guide and 3rd in my Class. It was a heartfelt goodbye to many of the students but an awakening adventure to come.
After 3 weeks of holiday at home, the 7 week Trails Course begun. I was really nervous and had second thoughts about this course knowing I wasn’t prepared to encounter animals on foot. After some encouragement from the instructors and fellow pupils I decided to continue. The experience was the best!! The early mornings and all the walking was worth it. Unfortunately the girls of the course didn’t pass the ARH assessment but we know we will be back for that lion charge. This course taught me some mental challenges that I’m glad I was able to overcome and I learnt that I am capable of doing anything if I put my mind to it.
The final course to end off the 6 months was the Marine Guiding course. It’s amazing how much can be learnt in such a short time. This course makes you see the beach/ocean differently and opens yours eyes to so much more.
To my fellow 3 students who have been on the journey with me  since day one, fly and soar those wings of yours in following what you really desire and love. To Terence and Kristi who joined us for the Marine Course, thank you for the endless laughs and encouragement. I wish you all the best for the future and hope our paths cross soon for a catch up.
To the Ulovane Team, as I write this blog with a heavy heart I am so happy and proud to have studied with you. There are no words to describe the feelings I have experienced while studying here for 6 months. I am beyond grateful to have experienced all that I have accomplished in these past 6 months. I thank you for the love, support, laughs, adventures, lessons, encouragement and always assisting the needs of the students. But most importantly I thank you for being my Ulovane family.
As we bid our farewells, go our different ways and leave the Ulovane gates, we leave behind the memories we shared, the footprints we walked and the people who had an impact on our lives but always knowing this will be our second home 
Again I thank you Ulovane and wish you all the best of luck for the future.
“Today is the day! Your mountain is waiting…..so get on your way!”- Dr Seuss
Amber Tweedie (April 2018 1 year student)

Thank you for ‘convincing’ Rogan to stay on in the Eastern Cape and for arranging the interview (and appointment!) at Leeuwenbosch.  Rogan is so excited and he couldn’t  have wished for a place better suited for him, and Mike and I are extremely pleased to know that he will stay being part of your Ulovane/Amakhala family! It is also comforting for us to know that the support (professional and emotional) is around the corner – something easily underestimated.

What a fantastic opportunity you, Schalk and the phenomenal Ulovane team made possible for him – thank you, thank you!

Kind regards

Kleine Riley (Mom to Rogan July 2017 6 month course)

The end of an incredible 6-month journey has arrived faster than one could ever have imagined!

Ulovane has, once again, ensured for a completely wholesome learning experience and because of this, we feel so well equipped to begin our careers with vigour and excitement at the prospect of the impact we can have on preserving our planet and making sure that we’re the ambassadors for ensuring there are still furry ridged triton and cape keyhole limpet sea creatures still alive in the next 30,40,50 years!

To Candice & Schalk, words will never suffice to deliver the amount of gratitude I and so many others feel for what you do at Ulovane, “the home away from home-for real!”.
Thank you for the love, guidance, support, ethics, morals and outstanding values that are always central to everything you teach us.

To all the instructors, Shani, Pieter & Justin – we wouldn’t have graduated without what you have done for us. You deal with the grumpy, tired, short-fused, happy, laughing, crying bunch of misfits and you never fail to make us believe in ourselves. I have taken away special & important life lessons from each one of you, thank you for all you have taught us, FGASA related or not!
Jacques, thank you for always making light of every situation, no matter how dire we think or feel it is!! Your outlook on life is somewhat inspiring, & from you, I have learnt that if you rise above the storm, you will always find the sunshine.

Mama Joyce and Mama Thabs, without you the camp wouldn’t run nearly as smooth as it does, thank you for everything you do for all of us! Thanks to you too Koen for holding things together and always making sure we have hot showers, comfortable rooms and working equipment that’s in operating condition.

Ulovane, it has been the most intense & memorable 6 months of my life. I have loved, lived, laughed, cried and celebrated. Thank you for going above and beyond standard norms.

The lessons from all three courses has given a sturdy base for the start of our guiding careers; the rest is now up to us! The life lessons that came along too were unexpected, but profoundly rewarding and will stick with us for life.

To all my fellow classmates from every course along the way, we have made special friendships in this beautiful place. Bettina, it was so awesome having you join us for the marines, thank you for your input and all you taught us. Roguey and Roelie- there are no words… We went through it all together and the bond we shared is something to treasure. Thank you for absolutely everything!!

Thank you for this reminder, Shani: “Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring!”

Kind regards, Melissa Gomes. (July 2017 6 month course)

I was one of the lucky ones to attend the 10-week level one course at Ulovane in April 2017. I know that people say this time and time again when reviewing something or writing a testimonial but in this case, I have to say it and when I say it, I truly mean it but… WOW!

I didn’t quite know what to expect on the course but I had a feeling that it was going to be one of the most memorable and exciting things I have ever experienced. they say that you’re gut feeling is never wrong, in this case, it was very far from wrong.

Day one when you arrive you’re warmly welcomed by Ulovane’s amazing team of unbelievably knowledgeable instructors (and let’s not forget Ulovane Master chefs Mama Thabs, who is the Queen of the kitchen and Jacques, who sure knows how to spice up your life ?). Day one is also the day where you get to meet all your fellow students and the people you will be living with for the next 10 weeks. You will feel like you’ve never introduced yourself to so many people and you will definitely be self-conscious of your name after repeating it to so many different people in such a short space of time (hahaha). Repeating your name so many times means that you get as long of a list of names that you will try your hardest to remember, my suggestion is don’t stress about names, it took us all a week before we knew everyone’s names. A thing that I was most fascinated by is the fact that men and women of all ages from various parts of the world all gathered in this one small part of the Eastern Cape and we all shared one thing in common, we all had a passion and a thirst to learn as much as we could about the flora and fauna in the natural environment around us. Oh and let’s not forget the fact that we all wanted to achieve the qualification in Guiding, that comes with the thirst for knowledge.

Over the period of the course, you do admittedly go through the various stages of highs and lows. From the stress of exams to learning 40 different bird calls or having to identify and provide medicinal uses of various plant species found on the reserve. You however get to experience incredible highs of waking up and leaving camp by 6am to reach a certain lookout point that sits above the clouds in order to watch the sunrise which casts a golden sheet over the clouds below you and even the excitement leaving camp after dinner to go swimming in the ice cold dam in search of frogs for your amphibian practical. The highs heavily outweigh the lows, you get to experience so much you never ever dreamed of or imagined doing, like getting involved in a buffalo capture, watching a pair of lions mate metres away from you and even accumulating a really long list of tequilas after stalling the game viewers (one girl got over 20 tequilas but don’t worry, we don’t end up taking the tequila shots haha). Going through everything with the people that you’re with definitely cements lifelong friendships. You end up with the most amazing support system of friends and instructors that will help you through thick and thin for the rest of your life.

The Ulovane campus is green and “off the grid.” It’s situated on a Ridge overlooking the AmakhalaGamee Reserve which is known for its Big 5 and it’s also the reserve where we do all our gain all our practical experience, through game drives, canoe trips and bush walks. However the Ulovane reserve is free of any dangerous game which allows students to explore the natural environment on their own or with friends. I often went off on my own to explore and discover new things when I needed a break from camp and a little alone time. A couple of us students all got together and formed a running club where we’d run different routes around the farm, on these runs we’d often surprise a herd of unsuspecting zebra or impala. Having this freedom to explore nature really contributes to the experience as a whole.  As I mentioned Ulovane is off the grid, before life in camp I was always aware of green living but I never really practiced it. After living green (recycling, practicing different sustainable living practices every Saturday and bring exposed to various other methods of greener living) for 10 weeks and practicing ethical guiding I have developed a passion for practicing greener, environmentally conscious methods and I strive to promote greener living as well as ethical guiding.  Not many guides realise the importance of guiding ethically, your impact on the environment during a guided experience should always be considered because without the natural environment you don’t have a job and most importantly you lose what you’re passionate about.

Life in camp honestly becomes home, after a while you start calling camp home. After graduating, I went to visit a couple weeks later and when I walked in my first thought was I’m home again..  I recently chatted to a guide who graduated from Ulovane a few years back and he had said that he has never met an Ulovane student who has not been passionate about the academy. He then went on to say that he had never met a student who graduated from another training Academy in the country that has been as passionate about their training Academy as an Ulovane student is about theirs.

So if you’re looking for an amazing wildlife experience, a chance to make lifelong friends, an opportunity to learn amazing new things about the Bush and to go on one of the wildest, most entertaining rides of your life, I can only suggest one place and that’s Ulovane Environmental Training.

P.S. Imagine sitting around a crackling camp fire (after a long day out on drive where you got to see some graceful ballerina like elephant browsing on some picture perfect African thicket and young cheetah cubs with their tear stained faces happily play fighting, honing the much needed skills needed for their futures) with some amazing people while listening to the wild sounds of the African bush after dark. Ulovane….

  • Kristin Mace