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It`s week three of the July 2014 intake for Bushwise Mahlahla campus, and the pressure is mounting. Learners had taken their first Bushwise exams last week, and although results are looking good, the learners now are getting to grips with the reality of the workload ahead. Understandably so, theoretical studies that need conversion to practical applications asap, is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if one has not been in study mode for an extended period of time. Yet, a diverse group of strong individuals, determined to make a difference, both within themselves, and the world out there – brilliant!

Topics for the week included Botany, Ethology, and an introduction to birding was also covered.  Apart from the abovementioned topics, an excursion to the Khamai Reptile Park for a reptile orientation course proved very informative, and entertaining indeed, particularly after a boomslang and snouted cobra made great efforts to escape the snake handler – but that’s a story on it’s own!

After quite an intense morning at Khamai reptile park, followed by a town trip to Hoedspruit, the learners were taken for sundowners at the magnificent view from the bridge spanning the Selati river. On the way we were rewarded with the sight of a female leopard. Having soaked up another exquisite African sunset, joined by the co-founder of Bushwise, Sophie Niemann, it was time to pack up. Two more leopard sightings en-route, we arrived at camp. Quite some day …

Driving skills were also honed this week with learners themselves starting to conduct game drives, and the second part of the group attending an accredited 4×4 driving course. Conducting a safe and enjoyable game drive is an integral part of guiding.

Game drives on Makalali and Pidwa reserves proved extremely fruitful with numerous big game sightings, including, but not limited to: lions, elephants, buffalos, hippos, spotted hyenas, four leopards, and a cheetah stalking a steenbuck (thanks to Rogan Fourie for the pic). Many new trees, birds, ecological interactions, and some colourful folk tales were shared.

If the brain is a muscle, intellectual exercise seems in order. Most importantly though, fuel the passion in your heart.

Well done thus far ladies & gents, and good luck for the rest of the course. One more week, and then you can take a break. Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Cobus and The Bushwise Team