July 2021 Apprentice Field Guides Ulovane Update: 6 Weeks in and we are truly living the dream!
To be honest, I don’t even know where to start… I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so long! I have wanted to do a field guide course since I finished high school about 7 years ago.
A friend of mine (Margherita) and I were supposed to come here last year already, but Covid-19 ruined all of our plans, big time. We are both Italians and it was a really exhausting procedure to get our student visas and get to South Africa safely. Even after everything though, I am beyond glad that we eventually made it!
The first two weeks were just amazing, everyday there is a new lesson to learn, new mammals, plants, birds (and I was definitely not into birds before getting here!) and so much more that we learn on a daily basis. We have been learning about every single aspect of the environment and it’s crazy because everything else starts to make sense! You realize how rocks, vegetation, climate, and animals are all depending on each other.
I am also very glad that we’ve already been able to drive the vehicles and experience the 4×4 driving. Roads in the bush can be pretty tricky sometimes and having the right amount of driving experience will definitely make the difference at the end of the day especially when it comes to our assessment drives at the end of the Apprentice Field Guide course.
We saw lions!! Lions on a giraffe kill during our first night drive on the second day of the course! That was definitely my highlight so far, as lions are one of my favorite animals.
Last but not least I would like to take a moment to appreciate and thank Schalk, Candice, and the whole Ulovane family so much for the wonderful support, never-ending kindness and the big, warm family vibe spread all around campus.
I cannot wait to discover, learn and experience so much more!
“With determination, discipline and hard work all dreams become a reality.”―
4 weeks ago, I joined Ulovane to complete the Apprentice Field Guide course, so far, we’ve covered so many amazing topics it’s hard for me to believe it!
We have all expanded our knowledge on Geology, Vehicle skills, Astronomy, Weather and Climate as well as tracking and much more!
We start each week off with a lecture on the week’s topics that are then covered practically out on Amakhala Game Reserve where we put into practice everything we have learnt in the classroom. We have the privilege of looking out onto beautiful landscapes, plants, and animals while we study, which definitely makes the cold early morning game drives worth it!
Ulovane takes you out of your comfort zone and educates you in the most efficient and fun ways imaginable. Just this past week we joined the apprentice trails guide students on a guided walk where we worked together on track interpretations and identifying key species of plants for our Botanical studies. We ended up sleeping out in the bush while we heard jackal cries and many amazing animal calls throughout the night!
Ulovane has so far blown away my expectations and we aren’t even halfway through the course yet! The team structure and amazing educators make learning fun and interesting!
A huge thank you to everyone at Ulovane for making this the best environment to learn in and making us feel perfectly at home.
The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”– Dr. Seuss
This week was such a jam-packed week and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
On Monday we were able to start conducting game drives on our own, in preparation for our final assessment drives. I did my game drive on Tuesday and the aim was to find cheetah however our goal was not achieved but we did manage to have very beautiful Giraffe sightings which was mind-blowing.
On Wednesday we were able to see most of the big 5 on our full-day drive through Amakhala Game Reserve which was really spectacular. We drove in an area where none of us had explored before, which made it even more exciting! This area in particular is very densely vegetated, it almost felt as if we were driving through a small rainforest. We found a dead Aardvark up a tree while making our way through this untouched little piece of the reserve that hardly anyone utilizes, which was a very interesting find!
I am enjoying this Apprentice Field Guide course so much and learning something new every day. I am so privileged to be here. We have so much freedom out in nature, it feels like I’m in another world. I am extremely appreciative of this journey I am going through.
Life is a journey and it’s about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are. – Kelly McGillis