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Trails Guiding, is a humbling experience

Advance Rifle Handling

Stance, Grip, Sight Picture, Sight Alignment, Breathing, Trigger Squeeze…..

Breathing breathing breathing…. Seconds before my first shot with a .375 caliber rifle, by the way, the first shot ever in my life with a loaded rifle.

Many thoughts were going through my head and then the trigger squeeze…

Everybody talks about the massive recoil of these rifles. What is awaiting me here?

After a few more breaths, I finally squeezed for the first time the trigger of a loaded rifle… a short moment, then I heard Piet saying… still standing! Ok yes, I do, but what was that? It felt somehow weird and at the same time amazing. 4 more shots to finish this exercise, exercise number 2 of my Advanced Rifle Handling.

Learning how to shoot, is one of the contents of my Apprentice Trails Guide Course. It is necessary to learn to protect your guest’s life if you are getting in a dangerous situation with potentially dangerous animals. As I am in love with nature and these beautiful animals, it is my intention never to get in a situation where I need to squeeze that trigger! It rather is my personal wish to let people feel the same amazing moments of being out in nature and teach them how important it is to protect the wildlife.

This week we did 3 amazing nature walks. We focused a lot on tracks and learned how to distinguish between the tracks of Vervet Monkeys and Chacma Baboons. Moreover, we found a nice place with many tracks of antelopes. At first, it was very confusing, but then we started exploring and found out how to assign the tracks to Springbok, Mountain Reedbuck, and Impala. Regarding the big game, we got the information that the male Lion caught a Warthog in the morning. Following his tracks, we could see how he was dragging the prey up the hill into the bushes. A male warthog’s weight is 60kg and more. Just believe that this Lion was able to carry a prey of this weight just in his mouth up the hill.

What exciting walks that I experienced so far. 3 more adventurous weeks are ahead of me and I am looking so much forward to it! – Susann

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

— Albert Einstein

The Trails Guide course is not just about walking but also about becoming part of nature.

Our first week was faced with some challenges, the Advanced Rifle Handling. Even though we couldn’t reach our goal how we hoped, it was a fun-filled experience to be able to handle a .375 caliber rifle and to shoot while the recoil almost kicks you back!

Our bushwalks are incredibly busy with new findings, tracking, bird sounds, and best of all animal sightings. We had an incredible opportunity to sit with the elephant herd playing and feeding, just across from us in the open. It is another world they live in. I absolutely love every moment with them, watching how the baby elephants hit one another with branches and the matriarch leading the whole herd to the next destination is mind blowing! Elephants are a lot like humans, they feel like we do and nourish the young and teach them the do’s and don’ts providing support and protection when needed. A huge elephant bull came from behind us out of nowhere to drink some water at a pan and he charmed us with his majestic presence, oh wow it was heartwarming. We could see his eyelashes and every little wrinkle on his body while he just calmly walked past us.

If you respect nature it will return your respect by giving you the chance to get closer and be in moments of amazement and mesmerizing encounters. Trails to me is extreme dedication and a little exhausting due to needing to be focused and be constantly aware of any danger.

We tracked the male lion and could see the drag marks of a warthog kill on the ground and bushes as he pulled his kill with his strong jaws to the upper thickets. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get any closer to him and get a visual of him, as he was busy feeding and it would have been a dangerous attempt. But we could still hear him chewing close to us, and I think my heart skipped a few beats.

I feel free on Trails, being nothing compares to all the wonders out in nature. – Cherene

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

—John Burroughs

Thank you Ulovane!

Week 5 and what a time it has been. It feels like yesterday that we all arrived at Ulovane.

The time at ULOVANE has been so special that every day is a learning curve for me personally. This week we had our tracking assessment which was a challenge and a super enjoyable time. With Pieter Dunn helping us get our tracking fundamentals right and Andrew Kearney assessing us it turned out to be a great adventure. Personally, I have learned so much and I’m not going to stop looking at tracks and everything associated with it.

Even though we are here for studying I have met the most amazing people. People I would not have met if I hadn’t come to Ulovane. It was and still is a personal journey of finding yourself and really realizing what you want to do with what Ulovane provides.

Nothing is done halfway. They don’t give a qualification, you EARN it. Everything is achieved by dedication and hard work. Even though there is a lot of work to be done, all the staff is willing to help and assist where you need help. It feels like Ulovane is there every step of the way when you need them.

My time at ULOVANE I deem very special and will always strive to keep their exceptional spirit alive in my work. – Johan

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie