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    BY: Tommy Curley, Bushwise Student 2020

    Another early start this week with our first two exams, botany and introduction to guiding. Students were nervous but after a solid study session on Saturday and Sunday we were ready and we all think we did well, just waiting impatiently for the results!

    That afternoon we started our 4×4 training course with a lot of theory and A LOT of paperwork to complete. That’s one thing they don’t advertise about bush life – paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! Once that’s out of the way the real fun can start with the practical training. We were taught how to go up and down steep inclines in a game viewer safely, and we also learnt how to recover a vehicle that had got stuck, which I must say is a lot of fun. 

     

    4 X 4 training, vehicle recovery

     

    While some groups were doing the 4×4 practical course, the other groups were out in the best classroom the world has to offer, the bush. Some groups were lucky enough to get some great sightings of the Tembe pride of lions, some saw cape buffalo, there was a wonderful sighting of elephants and one group even saw four white rhino. So that’s 4/5 of the Big 5 and we’re not even a whole semester in. I actually saw a cheetah the other week but nobody believes me. My personal wildlife highlight this week was definitely getting to see a young martial eagle perched on a dead tree and an African fish eagle in the space of ten minutes!

     

    Juvenile martial eagle

     

    While out on practical drives we learn so much. Apart from the animals, we learn all about the fascinating plants and trees we have in the area. One common tree we have is called a knobthorn, and as the name suggests it is covered in thorns. Driving through the bush you have to be careful not to get snagged on these thorns because they can really hurt! One student however obviously wasn’t paying much attention and suddenly wondered where on earth her fleece had disappeared too. We came back down the road and a few seconds later… 

     

    The lost fleece

     

    Another fantastic week at Bushwise!