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The last week before the off-week has been filled with lectures and a lot of drives, while the temperatures are going upwards! Spring is coming and we can feel it on campus. 30°C+ temperatures are a fact now!

So we first started our week with Vaughan his lecture about reptiles. I didn’t know that there were so much different words for our shielded friends, Tortoises, Turtles and Terrapins. As a Dutch Belgian we only know one word and that is “schildpad”. Continuing the lecture we learned a lot about Snakes, all types of Lizards and Crocodiles. Did you know that Crocodiles just have 2% life expectancy? When hatching, they have so much natural enemies! Hyenas, leopards, eagles, and so many more predators love to eat them as little snacks. Funny how the roles change then they are full grown adults!

 

 

Picture by Dirk Haselmeyer

For me, snakes are some of the most intriguing reptiles slithering around in this area. South-Africa has some of the most venomous snakes on this planet! Learning about the different kinds of snakes and the all the different kinds of venom they produce gives us “goose bumps” knowing what those venoms are capable of. If you meet a snake like a Boom slang or a Black mamba, please take a step back!

Next lecture was a hard one for everybody – Climate and weather. Understanding why the temperatures in this area are getting hotter is very interesting, but there are so many factors contributing to this weather. High pressure and low pressure, cold fronts and warm fronts, Aughulus and Benguela/Mozambique current and lots of different types of clouds, … OK! I’ll stop now, but I think you get the picture! 🙂

 

Picture by Catherine Conroy

For the rest of the week we went on drives, learning about reptiles, climate, and focusing more on birding. We revised our birding list of 100 birds. Looking at pictures and listening to the sounds. Then we went on the game-drives to exercise this knowledge. The satisfaction of knowing what bird we saw and heard in the distance is a huge achievement! This is getting us closer to becoming professional guides and gives us the confidence to entertain our guests!

Picture by Thijs Desot

On Saturday we did our tests and afterwards jumped into our cars to start the off-week, first stop to catch the rugby, Australia vs. South Africa. Not really knowing the rules as many of us have never watch rugby before, we went to Bru-House to watch and still had an entertaining time. After buying a SA Rugby ‘Bokke’ shirt, drinking some motivational beers, I was slowly becoming the biggest SA supporter, together with the rest of the Bushwise crew! We had some rivalry going on, because we were joined by our Australia friends from the Bushwise course. Ending the game with a draw, we went back to campus with big smiles and closer friendships forged! During off-week some students with be going to the Kruger, National Park, St-Lucia on the coast while other are staying behind at the campus to enjoy the peace and quiet, including me. Perhaps also visiting some surrounding areas like Jessica the Hippo – she is a world-famous hippo who loves carrots and tea! You are able to get up close and personal with her by feeding her and touching her.

Picture by Rory Wilson

This is just the beginning of the off-week. Lots of preparing to do for the coming weeks, but also some time to relax and look back at what we already achieved in such a short period of time!

The only thing I can say now to everybody of the Bushwise-crew is, enjoy your off-week and make some great stories! I can’t wait to hear them!

Blog by Thijs Desot