And so we have almost reached the end of another course and it is amazing how quickly time has gone by. It feels like just the other day that the transfer vehicle stopped at campus and all the students alighted from the vehicle with nervous/excited expressions on their faces. Now almost six months down the line, after a lot of hard work and dedication, the next batch of qualified field guides have entered the industry; armed with a solid foundation – knowledge base, practical skills and the passion to make a successful career in the Conservation & guiding fields.
Last week’s focus was on the FGASA Trails Guide exam and preparation in the form of bush walks. Some fantastic elephant sightings were added to our student’s walking experience logs. At the end of the week, the course was celebrated with the joining of the two campuses for a farewell lunch and prize giving held in the beautiful surroundings of Moholoholo Ya Mati, at the foot of the Mariepskop Mountains. As special mention, well done to Henry Ramsden (Grietjie) for bagging both the top achiever and best all round awards and to Carole Cerny for Top Achiever and Jacques Briam for Best all round at the Mahahla campus.
This week has been filled with more course activities (and emotions). On Monday many of our placement students (50 week) left to join their respective placement venues. So there were a few teary eyes around camp, although the excitement for this new adventure was tangible. The remaining Mahlahla students enjoyed a full day outing on Tuesday including a boat cruise on the Blyde dam, whilst the Grietjie students started the week off with a trip to the Safari Wine Club for their wine tasting & orientation. This outing certainly opened the student’s eyes to the importance of being able to host future guests and to be able to correctly advise them as to what wines go with what foods. It’s all in the little things after all!
ARH prep was on the cards for the Grietjie students who complete their assessments this week. Good luck all!
The rest of the week was jam packed with activities, as usual, with a full day game drive with a packed lunch in the bush for the Mahlahla students; a Kruger Park trip for the Grietjie students; as well as ‘normal’ game drives and bush walk at the end of the week, which provided a great encounter of a small herd of elephants. Our students also got to spend some time with two rehabilitated caracals which are due for release on the reserve.
With only days left before our students start leaving for their new adventures, there is a real sense of winding down and getting themselves organized. At Bushwise we pride ourselves on the high standard of the junior guides we train and wish them all the very best for the future. Just remember, you need to keep pushing yourselves and continue building on that foundation.
It been a great pleasure sharing our knowledge with you and we hope that this experience will be with you for the rest of your life.
To the next group of Field Guide students joining us on the 8th July 2015 – we look forward to meeting you!
Until next time
The Bushwise team
Photo Credit: Peter Clementson