All good things come to an end. Sadly, this is the truth for most things, but for our placement student’s, one adventure must come to an end before the next can start. Yes, they are all off to their placements, some as early as today!
But let’s get back to the week that has just flown by. After a well-deserved off week it was straight back to work with a few re-assessment drives and bush walks. With the upcoming trails guide exam looming, the main objective of the walks were to cement the finer details involved with conducting a nature walk, including the roles of both the lead and back-up guides. With any bush walk, the focus is usually on smaller elements of the bush – one doesn’t always encounter animals, as you cover less distance than you would in a vehicle; unless you are fortunate enough (Charles) to find fresh enough tracks which you can follow!
Personally, I feel that the best way to experience the bush is on foot, as this forces you to use all your senses and you see so many smaller things that would never be seen passing by on a vehicle. This week worked a bit differently, as we roped in two of our past students from a neighbouring reserve to assist as back-up guides. The main objective was of course to help them increase hours and encounters towards their trails guide assessments, but it was great to have them around again.
Many thanks to Gus (Head Ranger, Karongwe Portfolio) and Keenan (Guide, Karongwe Portfolio).
One of the groups were fortunate enough to have a cheetah sighting and although it was not on foot, it was in the proximity to where we were walking earlier. Between all the walks and drives, students frantically studied for their final exam. With Thursday being host to a final question and answer session to straighten out any last uncertainties, Friday’s exam came and went like a flash!
The week ends with mixed emotions for us all. Happiness and excitement to have all the studying out the way (at least for now), but sad to be saying goodbye, as one by one, friends head off to their placements. What better way to lighten the mood than with a farewell lunch and prize giving at Moholoholo Ya Mati. Lots of laughs were had, memories shared, tears shed and great food eaten (and even a trainer – no names mentioned – ‘thrown overboard’)! A special mention to Belén Quintana Beccuti for the Top Achiever award with a whopping 95% course average, and to Krisztian Borbas for snapping up the Best All-rounder award.
Also, a big well done to the following students who achieved their Bushwise Birding Specialist Certificates: Angele, Belén, Josh, Jolandie, Nick, Sam, Stef, Charles, Flor and Kathrin. With the huge amount of birders we have created on this course, it was a proud moment for our trainers when someone spotted two Half-Collared Kingfishers at the farewell lunch and everyone rushed over to see them!
To all our placement students who have left, or will be leaving over the next few days; good luck for this next chapter in your lives and keep up the positive attitudes – continue to make us proud!
For the remaining students at camp – don’t fret – we have lots of fun educational activities and outings planned for next week, including game drives, a Mariepskop mountain trip, a Blyde Dam & waterfall trip and a special game drive with some special children from the Green Kidz Initiative. Lots to look forward to!
Until next time,
Conraad and the Bushwise team