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    It’s finally exam time here at Bushwise. The last week has been pretty much transferring all we have learnt in the bush over the last few months onto paper for our FGASA level 1 theory exam.

    Monday began with the botany practical assessment on Makalali. If we’d been told back in January that we would all know a seriously impressive number and array of Lowveld trees, flowers and even grasses by now, I think we would have said they were having a laugh! But here we are….. Tuesday tested our knowledge of the feathered kind – identification of a large collection of bird species, along with their calls. Some are definitely easier than others but I reckon the best has to be the green pigeon or ‘Tarzan bird’ which whistles just like the jungle man’s call.

    In an effort to relax, we were taken on a chilled bumble drive to clear our heads of the studies for a few hours. It was so nice being out in the bush without playing the guide or well-behaved question asking guests. It was a beautiful afternoon and for some reason it seemed we were destined to spot  most of Makalali’s warthogs (all the little piglets) as well as our favourite young giraffe – a highly characterful individual we’ve named Frikkie who has the most outrageous ossicle hairstyle ever. Almost like a very spiked up hedgehogs on each.

    The elephants have been busy recently so we also did some reserve management with pangas and saws in an effort to clear the roads of trees and branches before our driving assessments next week.

    Heads were fully down on Thursday as we crammed for Friday’s FGASA exam, with light relief provided by a spotted bush snake and its lunch of a foam nest frog outside one of the rooms. Because it was mid-swallow it didn’t dash off into the grasses as they usually do so we were able to get a really good look.

    Friday dawned with a lot of excitement about getting one step closer to starting our guiding careers after completing our level 1 exam in the morning. We got provisional results in the afternoon which indicated that we all had passed!  This weekend we are going to relax and prepare for next week – posh game drive snacks will be out on full force in an effort to tart up our ‘guided experience’.

    Blog & pictures by Nathan Dowds