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When the course started just over 3 months ago now, all of us were overwhelmed by the amount of information we had to take in. Every week new lectures, three new subjects, hundred new species and thousands new things to learn. Every Monday three test, about those three subjects, hundred species and thousands things. And all of a sudden it came to an end. Last Monday we had our last three test, ever. Although, we still have to write our FGASA level 1 and trails guide exam, of course.

The last two weeks our focus started shifting slightly. As you read in the previous blog, half drives changed into full drives since our assessment drives are just around the corner. And not just assessment drives, also the end of the course and placements. Stress all over the place. While some people were very nervous for there first full drives others got send to their potential new home for the second half of this year. Coming back from the interviews they got offered placements, even before writing their FGASA level 1 and doing their assessment drives, well done guys! Others thinking, why haven’t I been on a interview yet? Or where will they send me off to?

One of the students on his first full drive – photo by Gerhard van Niekerk

To top this all off, dry runs have started. Traditionally another big cause of stress. Walking in big five areas is something we all want to do. But to do so as a guide, you first need to get you advanced rifle handling (ARH). Knowing charging speeds of dangerous game, what their warning signals are and most importantly, loading, cocking, aiming and firing, all within a couple of seconds, without taking your eye off your target. So this week focuses around practicing as much as possible with the rifle and getting your time down so you can react as fast as necessary when you find yourself in a pickle with dangerous game.

One of the students busy practising dry runs – photo by David van der Meer

Oh, and of course we shouldn’t forget about the species test coming up just after the off week. By sight we need to learn 125 arthropods, 180 birds, 20 amphibians, 40 reptiles and 100 botany related species, think grasses, shrubs, trees, bushes and flowers. By sound these numbers go down a bit, 90 bird call and 17 amphibian calls. So in between the dry runs everybody is going through slides to get all these species stuck in there head to pass all Bushwise’s requirements at the end of the course.

So the focus has shifted from theory test to the practical part, causing stress but not making us love what we are learning and doing less in the slightest.

Blog by David van der Meer