After a few weeks of hard work & learning in the Marketing office based in Cape Town, we jet set our way to join the Bushwise students at Mahlahla Campus in the far North West corner of South Africa, Limpopo. This is where our week-long Bushwise adventure started and we got to see exactly why so many students are choosing this a rewarding career. Here we could experience, see and capture the daily activities of the Bushwise students and their lives on campus.
Game drives are always unpredictable and our first game drive included a flat tyre! We could see how well practiced the students are and they were able to change the flat tyre in no time at all! The game drive included many animal sightings but the highlight was definitely seeing a pride of 6 lions with a typical African sunset in the background. This always makes for amazing photo opportunities.
We caught up and got to know some of the students that evening during dinner and got to hear of their experience so far, why they have chosen this course and their plans for the future as Field Guides.
The next morning started early with the students’ conducting a game drive on their own, this is known as a mock assessment with no guidance from the Trainers. Only at the end do the Trainers give feedback, advice and constructive criticism. The also gives them a chance to show their peers and us “tourists” (the Bushwise interns) their skills and knowledge about the Bush which they have learnt while on the course. The morning game drive was full of interesting and beautiful sightings of birds, plants, trees and of course, wildlife.
Later that afternoon we were treated to a private game drive with head trainer Ben Coley. Probably the most exciting moment of the week was a close encounter with a Bull Elephant. After recovering this adrenaline rush the rest of the evening included another Elephant sightings, this time a breeding heard, including a mother and her playful young calf.
Later in the week it was time for the students to practice their shooting skills with the Advanced Rifle Handling (ARH) dry runs. The students were taught by the experienced trainers on how to safely and skillfully handle rifles. After two days of dry runs the students were ready to try out the real stuff with live rounds. It was an afternoon full of loud bangs and nervous, shaky students, but later they returned with big smiles on their faces and target in hand with several holes in them – bulls eye!!! Even Sanne and I were allowed to fire the rifle a few times which lead to our personal little competition (with an obvious winner if I might add!!!)
The week ended with a Saturday night at the Three Bridges restaurant near the campus. A regular and popular spot for locals with stunning River views and scrumptious food. It was an unforgettable night with great company and an amazing setting.
From the Bushwise Marketing office we’d like to thank the Bushwise trainers and students for an amazing week and these memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives!
Groete van die Bushwise interns!
Paul & Sanne