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It`s not without a certain sense of nostalgia that I sit down to write, after all, the learners that joined us in July 2013 have now officially, all flown the coop. And, it is not without awe that I glance back, and in a haze of amazement, I find it yet a strange phenomenon, that we have had the privilege to spend some time in our beloved African bushland, with individuals from far flung fields of the globe, with backgrounds and intentions, and futures, equally diverse. One common denominator we all shared, and still do so indeed; An absolute Love, Passion and Complete Absorbendment with ~ …  AFRICA.

Ok, so let’s get our feet back down on the ground in order to give you a brief glimpse into the past week, considering that we only had three students on campus by this morning, and keeping in mind that we have gradually have had to say goodbye to the initial twenty, going off to lodge placements, research organisations and/or returning to their motherlands by plane and/or overland road trip.

At this stage I’ll speak about the weather for a mo` or two. Well It`s Been Atrocious! (That is, according to Lowveld standards.) Apparently it`s like that most of the time in, well, our Northern Hemisphere learners homelands. I’m not sure to share condolences, or offer my sympathy, yet, this is Africa, and things are unpredictable at the best of times, and chaotic at the worst. Luckily someone came up with the Butterfly Theory, so, all things are possible, yet all things are interconnected. Now, if that doesn’t lead you to: the sum of the parts is bigger than the individual, then, I don’t know.  Fact remains, in Ultimate chaos Eventually lies ultimate order. It’s one of the Principles of Permaculture, which leads me to my next point.

Getting consensus with three individuals is pretty simple, (yet more difficult that you would assume). So this week we got to do, well, pretty much, what we fancied.

We opted to go out on the brink, and visit the sustainable living fraternity. Initiation: Thomac, The McMahon family. Wow, cool.  And so it was. Essential oils wild harvested on the highly endemic and critically endangered Haenertsburg grasslands, found only in the North Eastern Afromantane mistbelt forests in Southern Africa. We did also have an introduction to rare and ancient motherstock of Frankincense and Myrrh from rural Somalia. Children in these surrounds seem multi-talented and un-re-assumingly (for some) sure of themselves. Son, Toban has not yet left school, yet, (and this is an open challenge) is extremely skilled at indigenous orchids, mushrooms, bee-keeping, megalomorph spiders, leather work, blacksmithing and, building cob pizza ovens. The girl, having finished school and going on to tertiary studies in Landscaping, Tamela has her own indigenous seed collection and distribution outfit, skilled in upholstery, and plays some rather mind-blowing metal.

Next we move on to Wegraakbosh, (`The disappearing forest`), mystical indeed, an heir-loom farm and homestead of the Thompsons. Nipper and Sylvia`s endeavours are  diverse, stemming from Old school Swiss styles and include – organic veggies, yoghurt, cheeses, goats, cows, ducks and geese, chickens and compost, forest walks and swings over glades, waterwheels and solar power… ok, you get the picture, if not, I can keep on painting…Actually, in all honesty, you probably want to, and have to, be there in order to really, truthfully, re-construct your own paradigm, as to re-member your inherent ancestral knowledge, married with  the latest applicability in sustainable technology,  in order to see  what can really, in real time, contribute to (mostly) your alteration of paradigm, relative to, The Conventional.

Before this outing we opted for two other outings, one to a boat trip on the Blyde Canyon Dam, and one to Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitaion centre. I’ll need to validate these choices, given the wide range available within the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve. Ok, let’s start with the Blyde Canyon Dam trip. Why is this worthwhile, Why is it different?

Look, I love Geology, and I love birds, in fact, coming to really think about it, I love most things wild, yet, more specifically, wild, southern African, and Rare. So let’s make this brief.  We got the Tufa waterfalls, and in all honesty there is just not enough space right here, right now to go into detail. Just GOOOGLE Tufa, the fact is that its unique, it’s awesome, and it’s something you are definitely not bound to see every year, month, or lifetime.As for birds, we picked up on Half-collared Kingfisher, Osprey and yes, African Finfoot.  

Moholoholo may need no introduction to a lot of you, yet, for those unfamiliar,  Moholoholo, in my opinion, is one of the more `realistic` rehabilitation centres in the North-Eastern parts of South Africa, and well worth a visit. `En’route we casually spotted Carmine bee-eater, and Trumpeter hornbill, just as a matter of fact… By now you might think me fibbing, but, true as nuts, our, yet again super competent guide, mentioned that he trained with; Bushwise!

Ok. So you got to see what happens when we got some time on our hands, and so, the next thing Real Awesome, is to simply get a real honest and goodness African experience.That thing you have always had dreams about… Give that` thing`, a chance in your potentially mirriadly beautiful lifetime.

Muchest gratitude to all that spent time with us, and may the force be with you.

May festive season greetings radiate from Africa all across the globe.

May the earth look after you,

May you look after the earth.

… and may the suburbs keep you streetwise,

until such time that we make you ‘Bushwise’.

We very much look forward to meeting our new group of student in January. Safe Travels! To our current students on placement, keep up the great work. 

Kindest Regards all round,

Cobus and The Bushwise Team