One of my most memorable moments this week was being able to take my fellow students out on my mock assessment game drive!
We had the opportunity to view an elephant up close from the vehicle. My first feeling was that she was a bit too close for comfort which made me nervous but it was almost as if an automatic switch went on and all my training started kicking in. I started observing her body language, trying to stay calm and keeping my guest’s safety in mind. I reminded myself that even though elephants are such large animals, they will stay calm if you treat them with respect.
That same evening, we had a sleepout planned on Amakhala Game Reserve. Knowing that we were about to sleep out completely exposed to the big 5 was exhilarating! We drove to a beautiful spot on the reserve where there was a big Milkwood tree that created a canopy for us to camp underneath.
On the way there our path was blocked by two big buffalo bulls, this made me a bit nervous again knowing that they were in the area where we had planned to spend the night. Schalk was with us on the game drive and I had to ask him how to approach the situation, he told me to trust myself and to trust the animal. After building up enough confidence in myself, I started up the Landcruiser and proceeded to calmly move past them leaving them completely unbothered.
We finally reached our destination and all started setting up camp for the night. We made a nice warm fire and soon started sharing stories around the fire about close encounters that our instructors had experienced before on the reserve. This made us all quite excited to think about what could happen during the night, especially knowing that the two buffaloes were close by. We all had a chance to do a night shift throughout the night. This is where 2 of us had to stay up for about 3 hours to check for anything that may be approaching the camp while the rest of the group tried to sleep.
We had no idea that there was a warthog in a borrow just next to us where we had set up our camp and made our fire. We started hearing strange noises during the early hours of the morning that sounded like it was coming out of the ground but we all just shrugged it off, not thinking too much about it. At about 3 am, this warthog decided to fly out of his burrow and run through the campsite which gave us all a huge fright and definitely got the blood flowing! Everyone’s nerves were on edge as we tried to figure out that it was a warthog and luckily not the buffaloes that had constantly been in the back of all our minds that night! We all had such a good laugh at this the next morning and it will definitely be a great story to tell around a campfire next time.
I will say that Ulovane has helped me understand animals’ way better and made me understand that they have such a forgiving nature about them if they get respected and treated in an ethical way.
Respect Nature and it will provide you with abundance. – unknown.