“If only all Mondays could start like this”, was one of the many quotes floating around as our excited students headed into the gates of Kinyonga Reptile Centre for a day packed full of experiences with various creepy crawlies! Some were a little nervous at first, as many of them had never seen, let alone touched a snake before! It didn’t take long though, before they were all joining in and experiencing yet another memorable experience! Some of the students even plucked up enough courage to hold a huge Baboon spider, as well as a few of the other creatures around the park! For those not that adventurous, there were the cutest Girdled Lizards, which resembled little dragons, eagerly awaiting flowery treats fed to them by the students! Through all the fun, they also had a very educational program, where they learned how to deal with dangerous snakes should they come across one in future!
Back at camp we set off for an afternoon’s game drive. We had awesome sightings of various animals, and the focus was mainly on animal behaviour. It was as if the animals knew that, and we were treated to different interactions, ranging from two fighting male Blue Wildebeest who were determined to fight to the bitter end, all the way to a couple of Spotted Hyena sharing the shade of a waterhole with some Black-backed Jackal, and so much more! The birding was also great, and we had some great Vulture sightings as they used the thermal’s to climb into the clouds as they scanned the world below for dead animals that needed to be cleaned up!
Some hard work followed later in the week as the students delved into the new chapter of Botany! After a detailed Lecture on the basics of botany, as well as tree identification, the students felt a little more ready to go out and try identifying some of the many trees around the classroom! This turned into quite the challenge, until they learned to use the key in the front of their tree book. By using the knowledge gained in the classroom, the Key made sense, and soon the groups were identifying most of the trees perfectly without the help of the trainers anymore! Trees and plants of the African bush often have many medicinal, cultural and practical uses, and our students spent some time learning some of these uses, which they will one day share with their guests and clients!!
Added to the “tree week” was an introduction to birding! This was far more fun for some of the students, and far more frustrating for others! (The trees tend to stay in one place a little longer than the birds!) But soon everyone was eagerly pointing out and identifying as many birds as they can, getting to grips with using the bird books and learning how to quickly look up birds they may not know yet! Within just the week, they are already pointing out and naming most of the birds, and the enthusiasm for both trees and birds (Two relatively difficult subjects) is something to behold, especially considering they only learned it all in the past week!
The week, as usual was rounded off with the Saturday exams, where the previous week’s knowledge was tested! Ethology (Animal Behaviour) and trees were the topics focused on, and although the tests were difficult, most students were well prepared, and passed with flying colours!!
Bush Greetings Vaughan & The Bushwise Team