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This last week students began their FGASA mock-assessment drives before the actual assessments next semester. Everybody is working very hard to make sure they have all the information they need to succeed in the bush, and they are also fine-tuning their driving and hospitality skills as well. From the history of Makalali Private Game Reserve to the feeding habits of termites, nothing is off the table and getting prepared is certainly difficult but fun work.

In lectures, the students learned several very important subjects for when they begin guiding in 2018. On Monday, we learned about Fish from the basics like gills and fin structure all the way into the finer details like how they propel themselves and maintain buoyancy in the water.

Monday afternoon we also learned about conservation within reserves and paid much attention to the details of how important it is to get everything right when managing wildlife and the reserve.

On Tuesday, we learned about taxonomy, starting with Carolus Linnaeus and his famous system of binomial nomenclature wherein every organism has a unique two-part scientific name that groups it with other similarly distinctive organisms. The animal we paid perhaps the most attention to was the lion, whose name is Panthera leo.

Tuesday we also had a lecture on the history and culture of South Africa as a whole, and of Makalali Private Game Reserve itself. The lectures were jam-packed with information and offered many international students a brand new perspective on the intricacies and important aspects of human life here in South Africa. From the first people to migrate southward through Africa to the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, the history of this country was condensed into a few hours but surely the lecture has piqued a few students’ interests in learning more!

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the students had quite a few mock-assessment drives and needless to say everybody is feeling the heat of the coming actual assessment, but we are all doing our best to prepare for it and are excited to see how we all do!

Wish our students luck as during the off-week some of them will be going into Hoedspruit to take their driving theory tests and their driving practical tests the following few days!

Blog by Alec Henderson