BY: Taya Maasch, student 2021
At the start of the second week, I was assigned the duty of Camp Manager, which was a mix of nerves and doubt as everything was still new to us, as well as being the first student camp manager of the course.
We kick-started the first day with our very first lectures on Introduction to guiding, Radio procedures and Geology, which was very exciting, although the scorching heat and constant humidity were challenging but we still managed to give our trainers, Jack and Lindi, our undivided attention.
On our second day, we all headed into town (Hoedspruit) to get our much anticipated Bushwise uniforms and we had the opportunity to visit the famous Hoedspruit Reptile Centre. While group A was being charmed by an array of reptiles, group B had gone into town to get their uniforms. My group, which was group A, headed straight to the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre to learn more about our fellow reptiles, ranging from the not-so-friendly Nile crocodile to the fascinating Chameleon. We were lucky enough to witness a trio of Black mambas feeding, having the opportunity to feed the chameleons as well as being the only visitors, meaning that Chris, our tour guide, was able to give each and every one individual attention.
After a few hours, our group headed into town to get all khakied up in our new and exciting uniforms. Some of us grabbed a bite to eat at the one and only Fig and Bean Café, while some of us went on a shopping spree, stocking up on snacks and other goodies such as drawers and fans which, to be honest, was a necessity. After a long, yet successful day we ‘just’ managed to fit in all our shopping and food as we headed back towards campus.
The next day we all woke up at dawn and got straight into some practical work with the vehicles, learning how to use a jack and change tyres, which was a good workout for some of us. The next important bit was for us to do a driving assessment, which for most of us was quite nerve-racking as not all of us have driven a big, 4×4 vehicle before, although we all managed to pass. In simpler terms, it felt like I was driving a tractor.
After a much needed weekend off, we jumped straight into the next week with our very first tests on Introduction to guiding, geology and radios. The nerves were real as everyone was unsure of what to expect but the constant graft (studying) definitely paid off.
We ended the week off with an afternoon game drive, learning about the wide variety of trees, birds, mammals and learning how to nkonzo (track), as Jack would say. Halfway into the game drive, we stopped for a phuza (drink) in a wide open area, where we reflected back on our first week.