BY: Daniel Mohlale and Chiedza Hamadziripi
The Bushwise alumni gives his unfiltered take on choosing the road less travelled, and staying focused through a tumultuous time.
BW: I hope you are well. Where in the world are you now?
DM: I am quarantined in the capital city (Pretoria), learning Mandarin.
BW: When did you do the Bushwise course?
DM: I completed the Bushwise course in 2019.
BW: Why did you want to do a field guiding course?
DM: My interest in wildlife was sparked in 2008 when I enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology to study Adventure Tourism Management. Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours became my home for the next seven years and seven months that followed.
Here, I uncovered my passion for helping visitors. As part of the experience I was able to meet and engage with new people on a daily basis, as well as make new friends.
Along the way, my appreciation of nature and my surroundings grew. I wanted to know more about it all – from the smallest cicada to the largest mammals. Then I was really fortunate to get a sponsor from one of the top academic institutions in South Africa, and I jumped at the opportunity to enroll at Bushwise.
BW: What did you think of the course?
DM: I found it quite tough in the beginning. Thankfully the Bushwise trainers went above and beyond to equip us with their wealth of knowledge and provide extra assistance. Soon, I was confident enough to lead game drives in the bush.
Before I started the course I only knew about six bird species, now I know a whole lot and also their calls.
BW: Any highlights from the experience?
DM: I distinctly recall the day we came across a Pangolin. It was my first time ever seeing one. This is an extremely rare animal to see in the bush.
BW: Where did you do a placement?
DM: I started my placement at GVI in December 2019 but it was cut short, ending in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 outbreak. We went into lockdown, but the little time I had spent on placement was incredibly impactful. I met people from all over the world and even curated my first game drive with the GVI volunteers. I am inspired to continue on this path.
BW: What are your future plans?
DM: Not only am I a culture and adventure guide, I am now also a qualified field guide. I am determined to run and own my own safari company one day, for the purpose of sharing vital information about nature and our planet with visitors.