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Last week was hectic, intense and for most students a relief as well. Imagine identifying a white crested helmet shrike from its call, talk about the impala rut while giving a guided experience and shoot a (fake) charging lion within a split second. Last week has been a roller-coaster full of assessments and practical exams. I am happy to say that most of us did very well and have gained a lot of knowledge over the past months. Nights of studying, countless drives and living in the bush paid off. Additionally we are doing AHR ,most of us passed our assessment drives and we survived our botany practical with flying colors.

Extraordinary sightings

Some students got extremely lucky on their assessment drives and wild dogs were seen on the main road for the first time this course! The dogs were extremely curious about the game viewer and stayed around for thirty minutes. After some interesting behaviour they disappeared under the fence and ran off into the bush. We all hope that they will start denning soon in Makalai or Pidwa because the denning season of wild dogs often falls simultaneously with the end of the impala rut.

Others were lucky enough to encounter a herd of 60 elephants in the riverbed, not a bad way to pass your practical exam. And it gets even better, a couple of students saw a caracal and last week leopards seemed to be everywhere. From an amazing leopard sighting on Makalali to a couple of sightings along the main road both within 5km of the campus!

Some of us, including myself, had a very busy weekend because we had to visit our placements. Visiting my placement meant hours of driving and flat tires but a nice adventure during the weekend while others were successfully showing their guiding skills during their assessments. This was not our average week for sure and it is far from over, with the final exam looming over us next week we are off to a great end of the fourth semester after which we can hopefully call our self fully qualified field guides.

Blog by Mark Kaptein