Charles, our head facilitator, introduced the week as a Big one. Now either he possesses the rare skill of vision beyond the present, or he must have simply known what he was talking about… or both, we dare say.
In relation to Africa…Big Five…and all the other Big Cool stuff, I’m going to ask to be excused from excusing the pun, and call it AWESOME!
Rather unassumingly the week started out with introductory lectures on Ethology and Rifles. Ethology in layman`s terms would translate to the behaviour of animals in their natural environment, leaving the observer with that anthropological `burr in the blanket` – but Why? Rifles on the other hand might seem quite a contradictory subject to be coupled with Ethology, yet, in the guiding industry, they are more often than not, like Siamese twins. See, the ability to keep you (as a guide) and your clients safe, is of paramount importance when dealing with Big Five and/or other potentially dangerous animals. Given that the safety parameters are in order, one can now go ahead with the business of observing animals – leisurely, unobtrusively and quite frankly AWESOMELY!
On the subject of safety – we as a training provider, have to make sure that our learners are prepared for emergency situations in wilderness environments – this is done through the first aid qualification done at the beginning of each course, but also through emergency procedure drills throughout the course. This week, the respective trainers drove out to unusually far flung corners of the reserve and simulated vehicle accidents, whereupon the learners promptly reacted according to their first aid training and regular briefing sessions. Back at campus we threw in another curveball to test the readiness of the group, this time a simulated snake bite. The sequence of actions taken and the reaction time is documented, and followed by a debriefing session. Well done to everyone involved. AWESOME! Vigilance.
Ok, let`s get out there, so, split the group down the middle, take half on a walk in dangerous game environment, and the rest are off to Kruger (well no, it was not impromptu but planned well in advance, yet it did really happen). I’m going to try keep this short – Elephant (tick), Rhino (tick) , Buffalo (tick), Lions (tick) , Hippo (tick) , Spotted Hyena (tick), Leopard x3 , Birds x78 , and all the other `small` plants and animals that makes it so .. Yes, AWESOME, just to get out there at every opportunity possible.
It`s a fresh day after all that buzz and we have to get back to some requirements for you as a guide to legally handle a weapon, SASSETA. After a long day with everyone having fired their allocated rounds at the shooting range, we drive out of town with a sigh of relief. Not only because we don’t specifically like town, but more importantly, because all 20 learners now hold their SASSETA accreditation. Considering that for some this was literally a first encounter with rifles – AWESOME! Once again, well done folks!
Eish, Friday, and noses still on the grinding wheel. Break of dawn and learners scoot of to (another) town to actually complete their final driving tests. Yes, I`d say, AWESOME!
And then, alas, a small inscription on the weekly program reads: Saturday PM, Free. AWESOME!
Enjoy ye`all, you’ve earned it!
PS: For anyone with a sibling displaying signs and/or symptoms of hormone levels akin to that of female spotted hyena`s, don’t be alarmed for they are most probably suffering from the non-chronic disease known as `TEEN-AGE`. In light of such circumstances you might secondarily suffer certain hearing impairments, where AWESOME! has selectively been wiped from your auditory range. You are welcome to substitute the word AWESOME! with LEKKER BRO! (Pronounced Leka-broe.)
Until next time,
Cobus & the Bushwise Team
(Thanks to Frank van Tiggelen for the photos)
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