By: Garrick Stead
Becoming a camp manager and overseeing the campus radio is quite a stressful thing for me, yet once I got into it was not bad at all. We need to be comfortable with this sort of responsibility because many lodges need duty managers on a day to day basis.
The first two days of being me being camp manager involved conservation work on Wednesday was on the reserve where we do all our practical training. This included bush clearing and cutting away hanging branches on the roads. When we first heard about this, many of us were not too excited, but once we got into the swing of things many people enjoyed it and there were multiple funny moments with allot of thorn trees.
We stopped at a dam for lunch with the sounds of grunting hippos in the background and birds singing their sons. We all took in the wonderful environment we now live in and it was nice to relax after a tough few hours of work.
The following day we continued with conservation work but only on the Mahlahla campus. This was also rather tough, but a good time was had with a lot of laughs between us.
Group A had the day with a trainer and had to learn bird calls. They had to memorise all the bird sounds for as assessment which included matching picture slides with the sounds. The trainer’s advice was to make them a part of your everyday life, playing at least 10 different sounds every week and try learn them off by heart.
During my week as a camp manager, we also attended the South Africa wine training course. It was interesting for me because I did not know much about wine and how you go about paring them with food to enhance not only the wine but your food too. This industry is also so important in the South African economy and for job creation. South African wines are some of the best in the world and many tourists fond of wine, travel to South Africa for this very reason! This is also part of the job as a field guide, having to host your guests. We realised how important it is as part of your guest’s experience at a lodge. It is not just about the game drives but everything else in between.
All in all, being the camp manager was not as bad as I thought and was rather enjoyable. A responsibility I am now ready for again!