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After lots of hard-work, studying and practicals, sadly, the 23 week course comes to an end next week, with this week being a final week off. Activities are officially over and as we approach our last week on Campus, most students have departed for their placements and the rest have returned home. Those who remained behind pending their departures had a fun filled week and participated with great excitement.

Those who remained behind, were ready and eager for game drives to try and capture that last great photo opportunity and get out there to enjoy the great outdoors by means of a relaxed bush walk! They were rewarded with elephants, lions on a kill and cheetah on two separate occasions.

An added bonus was a visit to Daktari Wildlife Orphanage. An exciting day as the students met bush pig, banded mongoose, leopard, meerkat and black eagle (Verreaux’s Eagle) up close and personal and were afforded the opportunity to learn a little more about these animals and what the foundation does to rescue and care for all types of animals in distress. To find out more about Daktari, please visit their website on http://www.daktaribushschool.org/

The students also met an African wild cat up close and personal, with the cameras being used big time. A rare and extremely special sighting was greatly appreciated when Trumpeter Hornbills were spotted on the reserve which I believe the last recorded sighting was about 18 months ago. Definitely a highlight!

On Wednesday we departed for Mariepskop mountain, which is situated on the eastern side of the Drakensberg Escarpment with a magnificent view from the top as you are 1,945m above sea level. On a clear day you can see as far as the Indian Ocean and Maputo in Mozambique. Mariepskop is the highest peak in the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment. It is a floral beauty and a birders paradise that was definitely a bonus after all the birding training and lectures during the course.
The area consists of Savannah on the foothills, with forest species as you go higher up, and at the top of the mountain, there are highly protected species and a combination of tropical mist forest and cepensis “fynbos” species. Believed to have an even greater diversity of “fynbos” than the little Karoo!!!
Some braved the cold water in the rivers and challenged one another to a swim to refresh themselves. Crazy … to say the least! The perfect opportunity to sit back and indulge in the wonderful solitude, and to appreciate and reflect on the past few months.

The last drive of the course took place yesterday afternoon, and students had fantastic sightings of an elephant herd with a few very young individuals, and elephant bulls who will busy giving each other a go in the river – they were approached on foot from the bank opposite – great way to end off the course!

Thus, as we draw to an end, I want to wish each one of you good luck and the best for the future!
Whilst I am not big on “pearls of wisdom”, I would like to leave you with the following:-
“Each new day is an opportunity to start all over again, and your dreams can come true-If you have the courage to pursue them! Do not follow where the path may lead, but rather go where there is no path and….. Leave a TRAIL!! “

We look forward to meeting our next group of students coming in on the 8th July. Travel safely ladies and gents, an exciting experience awaits you!

Thank you and until next time,
“Happy trails”
Trevor and the Bushwise team