BY: Frederico Odierna, student 2021
My experience of Bushwise has been nothing short of amazing and I can not wait to learn and experience more of what they have to teach us.
The first day was mostly orientation of the campus and course where we got to learn a bit more in-depth of what the course is going to entail and rules to follow on campus. I know that the course is going to be a lot of hard work, but I am prepared to put in the effort that is going to be required of us to pass the course overall. On the 9th and 10th of January, we studied to complete our level 2 first aid which I imagine is mostly so that our guides can be slightly more at ease knowing that we can take care of each other in case of an immediate emergency.
On the 11th we began with our first FGASA module on geology, which many might not be interested in, but it plays a major role in the climate and therefore life that can be found in a certain area. Today is the 12th of Jan and we had the most amazing time at Hoedspruit Reptile Park, where we got to learn more in detail about snakes in particular, but not limited to them. We learned how Chameleons don’t actually have sticky tongues, but rather employ suction to their prey to catch them, something which I never knew before. We also got to experience them feeding Black Mamba’s which was fascinating to watch how they immediately react to the scent of their prey and almost enter a feeding frenzy which can sometimes lead to them attempting to swallow the same prey.
Other than course material I have learned a lot of interesting information about the animals that live in our area. Female Water Monitors will lay their eggs in termite mounds due to the amazing architecture that controls the temperature perfectly, which in fact many skyscrapers have used to control airflow throughout the building. Vervet monkeys will raise their brows to expose their white eyelids which contrasts to their black faces to intimidate other animals. I also learned that the term for this is aposematic which applies to all animals that have a mechanism to warn predators of their possible danger.
Besides animals, I have enjoyed spending time with the people here and learning about their different views and cultures. This week I was Camp Manager, which basically means I am in charge of relaying information to the guides about how people are doing and any sort of problems that they want to address. It also means that you are the first person to be called on-site in the case of a medical emergency. I am normally not the type of person to enjoy any sort of managerial position but I have found it to not be as bad as I imagined.
In conclusion, I am enjoying the experience here thoroughly and can not wait to learn more. The only thing I can mention that I’m going to have to get used to is the heat.