Lately it has all been about practicing for our mock game drives, which will eventually lead to our real Game Drive assessments. This meant everyone practicing their routes through the reserve as well as brushing up our knowledge of all the different roads and locations in case there is a sighting or a reason to change our planned route mid-drive. These practice drives are a really good opportunity to make notes on where interesting plants, trees and ecological sites are, such as sodic sites, elephant scratching trees, big cat scratching posts or a particularly impressive termite mound. They are also a chance to keep things interesting by sharing knowledge we have gained during our independent reading and research instead of sharing things we have all already learnt as a group either in the classroom or on earlier drives.
These extra-curricular gems of information, like the fact the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa’s architecture was partly inspired by the architecture of termite minds, or that Hyaena have a exaggerated bony crest on their skulls (the sagittal crest) that allows more surface area for jaw muscles to attach to, which contributes to their impressive bite strength, are really important both for us as guides both to be able to offer extra information to our guests but also to keep our drives interesting for the rest of the students as we build up to assessments.
The trainers also took the opportunity this week to have us calling in sightings to the other drive group over the radio, valuable practice for when we start working in other reserves during our placement. One group came across a young male lion relaxing by a dam and so we tried to radio in the other group, unfortunately the radio was struggling to get through and we couldn’t maintain proper contact with them. Luckily though, and unbeknownst to us, the other group had also sighted lions at another dam, two adult males relaxing in the sun.
All in all this was a fantastic week where, as students we really started to push ourselves and develop our guiding abilities on drive and also had some fantastic sightings at the same time.
Blog by Ryan Norwood