After months of corresponding & making Skype calls, the Bushwise Hospitality students & Bushwise staff were very excited to finally meet each other on Tuesday, 21 July. Once everyone had settled in, we met around a lovely Boma fire & had some time to get to know one another. This was followed by a lovely dinner and an early night.
On Wednesday, the students started their journey with an important risk assessment lecture. It is crucial that the students are familiar with the risks because when you live or work in a remote or isolated area, knowledge is power and knowing what to do in that particular moment will make all the difference. They then went on a lovely Bush walk around Mahlahla and were shown leopard tracks and other interesting plant & animal life. Some students even tried their hand at a “drol spoeg” competition. Once the orientation of the course was completed everyone tucked into a lovely Brunch. First Aid training was next and is a very important requirement for the industry. Everyone had a great time and a lot was learned on a very practical level. That evening, a traditional ‘Potjie’ dinner was held and was a first for many of the students.
Thursday was full of lectures which was done by Conraad. He taught the students about SA history, Potential Dangerous Critters, EAP fire drill & the updated the students on the sad reality about poaching and poaching statistics. Students were really concerned about this issue & agreed that through education a positive influence can be made between one individual to another. The afternoon was followed by their first game drive, which was a phenomenal one, and included sightings such as Lion, Leopard, Honey badger, Porcupine, Hippo & other plains game.
Friday morning lectures touched on various aspects of the Game Lodge industry and how it differs from hotels & resorts. Students learned the importance of a guests welcome and learned to how to make delicious welcome drinks . That afternoon lectures about the Big 5 & other animals were held and was followed by their second Game drive. Students were treated to a surprise sundowner which they did not expect. They soon realised that this is the standard of what to expect when they have to set it up for their ‘own’ guests one day.
Saturday morning was filled with more lectures about service, table settings & subtle touches that work well in ‘Game lodge’ settings. Each student then had the opportunity to make a cocktail which was judged by the Mahlahla staff. This proved to be a very interesting & lots of creativity was applied. The 3 top cocktail winners were going to have the opportunity to sell their cocktail at Mahlahla bar that evening. The students then had a first-hand look at a Luxury game lodge with a tour of the beautiful Makalali Lodges. A game drive there & back added to the trip and students were lucky to see another leopard and their first Hyena.
Sunday was a day of leisure, were the students could enjoy the sun & relax around the pool.
Until next week!
Angela & the Bushwise Hospitality team