Exciting times at Ulovane as we kickoff 2019 with 25 enthusiastic and passionate aspiring guides. 18 Field guides and 6 Back up trails guides have started the year off with a bang and it is great to be back!
This year the Ulovane team pledge that we are dedicated to training exceptional guides who are committed to the Conservation and Eco-Tourism industries in Africa. We truly believe that to become a successful guide one needs to be a successful leader and we will continue to focus on developing personal traits to develop extraordinary leaders and guides. The Ulovane team is 100% focused and ready for the year ahead and we look forward to taking you on this mind blowing journey with us!
13th January 2019, the day of arrival. The day was filled with excitement and a little bit of sadness from all of us saying goodbye to the people we love the most for the next ten weeks at Ulovane.
The introduction of the majority of the students took place just outside the airport and it was at that moment I realized how diverse we are as a group. We have people from Holland, Italy, England, and South Africa starting at eighteen years old going to as old at 50! Wherever I turned my head there was a smile or giggle taking place as everyone introduced themselves to their newfound family. As we headed off on the road to Ulovane I just kept thinking about the adventures and future opportunities ahead and the adrenaline was starting to kick in.
Once we arrived at the Ulovane campus, I knew right away I was at home with my new multi-cultural family. The Ulovane team has been amazing with the teaching of theoretical components and showing us how to conduct game drives. Ah yes, the relaxed game drives. I say relaxed for now because soon we will no longer be the guest but the drivers taking other people on drives and being in charge in the face of dangerous animals.
As I sit sweating in the Eastern Cape heat that hardly any of us are used to, I’ve just written my first Ulovane exam. After just three days of learning, I guess that comes with having the very best facilities and teachers. In the few short days that we have been here we experienced some amazing sightings such as a cheetah with its kill, mating lions and elephant.
Within the space of one week, I have learned Xhosa names, the history of Amakhala and loads more making this new 2019 adventure a great one!
“The earth is what we all have in common.” —Wendell Berry
Backup Trails Guides
And so it begins, the long wait is finally over, and we have made the transition to the back-up trails experience of Ulovane.
Emotions ran high, (for our parents of course), as we prepared for our expedition back down to the Eastern Cape to kick start the year off, and in the best way possible, in the great outdoors. It was fantastic to be reunited with some of the old friends that were made during the duration of the last course, and although the numbers may be significantly smaller, the relationships are still strong.
Our first walk started on Tuesday, and Pieter didn’t hold back getting us accustomed to the intensity of a bush walk, seven hours out and about in the bush and on foot. As fun as it was, the repercussions of a few too many Christmas treats were evident. I’m pretty sure that all the weight I put on during the holiday is going to be used up quite quickly.
As a group we learnt that walking in relation to driving in the bush is at opposite ends on the scale, and we all now have the opportunity to really listen and use our senses.
We do all really look forward the surprises that lay in store for us in the upcoming weeks.
“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” —Stewart Udall