After months of waiting, we finally arrived last Saturday at the Bushwise camps to start the 23 week Professional Field Guide Course. Full of excitement we all met on the bus from Johannesburg to Bushwise Mahlahla campus, and 6 hours later we arrived at last in our new home.
The next day we had a proper introduction by the trainers and met the other staff members. There were also had a series of lectures on health and safety.
On Monday evening, as we were sat around a beautiful South African Braai and got to know each other a bit better. A good night indeed and great food!
The lectures on Tuesday were the all-important vehicles, radio, ethics and communication. Seeing that vehicles are an important tool to a guide’s trade we had a practical practice in changing land rover and land cruiser tyres with a high-lift jack, as well as the daily vehicle checks and the equipment necessary before embarking on a game drive.
Wednesday morning was spent in the town of Hoedspruit in order to get supplies and collect and do fittings for our uniforms. After the trip to town, we did what everyone could not wait to do… We set off on our first game drive in our new uniform!! How exciting!?! Game drives are always incredible, but with kudu, giraffe, zebra, lions, hippos and spotted hyenas coming next to the vehicle it becomes a dream come true!
A practical driving assessment was done on Thursday morning to ensure that everyone is confident drivers and are capable of safely manoeuvring a Land Rover. This is important because it will be our “office” for the next 6 months and as a guide this is where you will be spending most of your time with guests. Later on we went back for our second game drive in the afternoon but this time it was a student’s turn to drive on the reserve. Some students got enough lucky to see two leopards!
Friday was our first morning drive, waking up at 5:30am was a hard reality but definitely worth it! We got the chance to get quite closed to hippos, we had amazing bird sightings, saw elephant tracks, and learned more about trees.
Yesterday morning, we wrote our first tests and then on Sunday a well-deserved day off.
This week was as incredible start – it involved animals, knowledge, and hard work. We know it’s just the beginning and we will have to work harder and harder but we also know it will be worth it!
Blog by Chelsea Decroos