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Geology, Climate & Weather, and Astronomy – a fascinating week 2!

To kick off this intense week we began with weather and climate. Karien explained the different types of clouds and what they mean. We also discussed what weather is associated with each cloud type; for example, cirrus clouds, which are also called Mares tails, can indicate that in the next 24 hours the weather will change and sometimes warm fronts. We moved on to the different types of winds, for example, Anabatic winds which form when warm air comes to the valley and is often evident in the form of fog rising out of the valley up the mountain slopes in the morning. The other wind is Katabatic winds which result from the air on higher ground cooling due to radiation at night.

Straight into Geology – the science of the composition, structure, and history of the Earth. We learned about everything from the layers of the earth, to the different mineral and rock formations and the earth’s major rock types. Mind BLOWN, so much to learn!
After a full day of lectures, we headed out for a sunset and evening drive, absolutely magic! I always find myself staring at the stars looking at how beautiful they are and how fascinating the galaxy is with its billions of stars and planets and thinking are we the only planet that has intelligent life on it, it’s so amazing that we can see 2500 stars and 5 planets with the naked eye.
The geology on Amakhala is fascinating and we covered the three major formations, the Cape Super Group, the Uitenhage group, and the Algoa group, and what rocks occur in these formations. During our afternoon game drive, we came across the herd of elephants in the river bed and we got such an amazing view of them. As luck would have it just behind them was one of the rock formations the Cape Supergroup which is the oldest formation of about 500 million years old. Schalk explained to us how it was formed and what it consists of – fascinating!

This week was exciting for us, as it is the week that we all start conducting the game drives during our practical sessions! Bit by bit, day by day we are going to start preparing for operating the vehicle, looking after our guests, navigating the reserve, and learning radio procedures. So thankful to have time to do this before our assessment process later in the course.

  • Leandro

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”― Rumi

I take pleasure in expressing myself and explaining the amazing events that I experienced in week 3 at Ulovane Environmental Training.

I was happy to learn about the 9 biomes and flagship species found in South Africa.  Among the nine biomes, it was nice to learn that 6 biomes are evident on Amakhala Game Reserve and to see the flagship species found here.
It was good to learn how important it is for a field guide to understand how ecosystems work in ecology.  How biotic and abiotic (living and non-living components) are all interconnected and influence each other.
We had the opportunity this week to take part in a game capture.  It was vital exposure for all the students, especially because it was our first time to see and have that kind of practical experience.  I enjoyed meeting people who hold authority for these activities, like the ecologist, Natalie, and some members of other departments on the reserve.  Physically touching a wild animal with my bare hands is an experience that I will never forget.

It was the first time that I had to take my fellow trainee guides on a game drive and I had to give a game drive briefing.  I learned a lot during this, the first of many to come.  Watching the birds, animals, talking, watching out for obstacles (like uneven ground, branches, mud wallows, and river crossings) whilst concentrating on driving really was an eye-opening experience as far as guiding in a dangerous game reserve is concerned!
During Taxonomy we learned about how organisms are classified in a hierarchical order and six kingdoms exist for living organisms.  It is amazing to learn that animals, birds, reptiles, frogs, and insects are classified in accordance with their body structure, feeding characteristics, and the way they reproduce.  It is fantastic!

Sustainable living this week was also a good moment for me.  I learned some gardening skills.  We dug a small trench to put up some fences and we started weeding out unwanted plants inside the garden.  It is through these various gardening skills one may become successful in life.  Feeding the nation at large and making our planet beautiful.
At the end of the week, I was really happy with the exam results that I got.  Now I am looking forward to a day of resting!
Stephen Nkhata

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.”― Roy T. Bennett