This week is ultimately what the entire course is all about…the dreaded FGASA level 1 exam! But before we get there, the exam didn’t take up the entire week! The first two days were devoted mainly to studying, although the option was there to do some drives, but the books were priority. We had a final questions and answers session, in which we as trainers, can answer or clear up any misunderstandings, and yes, some things can be confusing, like what are thorns, spines and spikes? Or is ultimately the same thing? Sort of, but not quite! Anyways, on to the dreaded exam, with D-day upon us, nerves kicked in, but were more or less under control. Various ways of dealing with sleep deprived study nights becomes evident, and we have never before seen such big cups of coffee, and copious amounts of energy drinks! At 8am, everyone is eagerly waiting to start what they have been waiting to do for the last 4 months or so. After a few hours of in depth concentration, writing, hand cramps and perhaps a crash or two after all the red bull wore out, it was all done and you could clearly see that big sigh of relief as each student finished writing.
We had to do something to break the nerves and high stress levels around camp, and what better way to do that, than with a game drive of course! That afternoon we set out on a drive, expecting the morale to be high after knowing that the exam was over with, but it’s not quite what you would expect, now the next phase of worrying starts, with questions being discussed amongst each other, doubt sets in. This was all soon forgotten, as two of our vehicles had amazing elephant sightings, with one of the bulls putting on quite a show for us! How does an elephant put on a show? By pushing over trees of course! This young bull, still relatively small in terms of elephant, had an absolute blast, literally walking from one tree to the next, and showing off what he can do, not only for us, but probably also the other two bulls nearby. In the 15 minute or so window that we were watching them, trees were coming down every 3-4 minutes, very impressive to see indeed! The only negative thing about tree-pushing elephants, they also like doing it over roads! Not to worry, moving them is good practice for trainee guides! Thursday morning, all the laziness from all the studying was worked off, with a nice, although quite hot, bush walk in the morning and final course feedback in the afternoon.
Today, the morning and afternoon was dedicated to the final assessment preparation, which is coming up next week! The drives are going to be interesting indeed, as we have been getting little bits of well needed rain every odd few nights, and the bush has started changing over-night, with beautiful flowers coming up, leaves sprouting, and even the odd baby animal or two! (Yes I know animals don’t start growing after rain!), one of our groups saw a very young baby steenbok on a drive this week!
Tomorrow morning we have one last game drive planned before the dreaded assessments start. Well done to everyone, I am sure all your hard work has paid off, and will pay off next week!
Until Next time,
Charles and the Bushwise Team