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Discovering the Art of Safari Guiding: One Step at a Time

Introduction to the World of Tracking

Those who wander are not always lost but aren’t those that are lost wander. This week we found ourselves a bit off-track, to say the least where we found ourselves wandering around looking for tracks and signs of happenings in the dirt.

We started this week with a mock tracking assessment having to identify 50 different animal tracks or so we thought. I guess we can now confidently say that our imaginations are alive. Never have I thought we would miss identifying a White rhino’s track as a Kudu track or a piece of grass altering the composition in the sand for an animal track. After this day I think we can confidently say that we have all been bit by the tracking bug as the rest of the week game drives instead of trying to find an animal found us all hanging over the side of the vehicle staring at the floor looking for any grain of sand that is out of place for us to shout stop, stop to look at a track.

The set work for the week included weather and climate as well as biomes. Starting our lecture on weather and climate was ironically interrupted by an alert on our weather app that a cold front was approaching.  Here we got to not only watch the cold front pass but got to learn and understand every second as to why and what was happening every second during the cold front. In short, I can tell you it brings quite cold chilly, and rainy weather.   

Wednesday night we were hosted by Candice for a hospitality lecture. Here we experienced the hospitality side from the guest’s point of view. As we relaxed, wined, and dined by candlelight we learned the ins and outs of the hospitality sector. An important lesson we learned is that Hospitality is not only about being welcoming, friendly, cordial, and kind. In this industry, it also means being resilient and able to adapt to any situation at the drop of the hat.

From fascinating tracking in 40°C weather to epic game drives in the rain, week 5 has been incredible. We find ourselves being more on track and wandering in the right direction as we prepare for life as Nature Guides! – Christopher

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”

― Germany Kent

Time is flying by!

It is already week 6 and time is flying, it feels like yesterday that we started this Apprentice Field Guide course.

The week started with a double lecture on Amphibians or little frogs and toads. Apparently, they are good indicators that an ecosystem is doing well. So if you see loads of frogs in a pond close to your place of residence just know that you are doing a great job in providing a healthy ecosystem around your house. Next to amphibians, we learned about the history of the human habitation of south africa or as we call it “triple H”. As most of us know, the life of humans as we know it today started in Africa and a large part is found in South Africa. Nowadays there are quite a few different cultures in South Africa, the most common in our area (Eastern Cape) is isiXhosa.

Next, we had another lecture, this time on conservation and how we can stop the erosion of our wonderful reserve. As well as stop bush encroachment and alien invader species. To get rid of them there are a few options, one of them is burning them down, this is also used to get rid of dead plant materials. After we talked about it in class we went out on a drive and noticed that there are quite a few ways that conservation is practiced on Amakhala.

The rest of the week was filled up with captivating game drives. On Thursday morning we went out to try and find frogs, but sadly we didn’t find any. Instead, we came across the lion cubs!! What an absolute treat. It is the first time we have seen them since arriving 6 weeks ago. What a wonderful sight that was.

Furthermore, we saw almost the entire Big 5 on that morning drive – how lucky we are to be able to go out and enjoy nature and all her gifts every day! We also had a visit to the old dairy which is now a little museum on Amakhala, and learned more about the Gush family which is one of the founding families of Amakhala. We ended the day with a magic sighting of two of the biggest land birds. The one I hope everyone knows, which is the ostrich the other is maybe less common, the Denham’s Bustard.

We ended off the week with some studying, because yes, you got to have a balance of work and play! – Bram

“When you have balance in your life, work becomes an entirely different experience. There is a passion that moves you to a whole new level of fulfillment and gratitude, and that’s when you can do your best… for yourself and for others.” – Cara Delevingne