This week saw us kicking off with a very eagerly awaited new group. There are a lot of exciting plans for this group, such as the addition of not just one, but two extra reserves for our practicals! As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life and with the new areas, comes more diversity in animal sightings! This course we also wish to welcome a new, and now fourth Trainer to our team, Cobus Spies. Cobus is a FGASA level 3, back-up trails guide and is also a FGASA assessor. With his past training experience and passion to the smaller things around, we are certain he will add to the quality of our training courses, welcome Cobus!
On the student front, welcome to each and every one of you, we hope you grab this opportunity with both hands, and make the most of what we have been told by past students time and time again, is a life changing experience! Welcome to Lawrence, Shawn, Nuria, Sean, Debbie and Matt from South Africa; Ben & Tina from Germany; James from Ireland; Mayra and Frank from the Netherlands; Macon, CJ and Hayley from the U.S.A; Vitor from Wales; Andrew, Kate, Emma and Ash from the U.K and finally Anna-Marie from Australia. A diverse group of nationalities always makes for a more interesting learning experience and we look forward to getting to you know all better.
After the majority of our students arrived at around 5.30pm on Monday, the order of the evening was to do a brief welcome, explanation and H&S chat, after a delicious meal cooked by Iris of course! Tuesday came round and the usually H&S, camp walk through, explanation of the course itinerary etc was presented, with the afternoon set out for handing out the Bushwise clothing packs and a welcome Braai, where we got to know each other a bit better.
Three days into the course, we had our usual town trip to equip our students with the ever necessary, and popular, khaki uniforms. On our way back from town, one of the groups were fortunate enough to spot 4 cheetahs, two being on the reserve we were heading to for our first game drives! Knowing roughly where they were, we knew we were in for a good sighting! Roughly 15 minutes into our drive, we saw 2 animals walking down the road, and as we approached, the silhouettes developed spots, and there they were, walking into the wind, and at quite a pace until they veered off the road and started disappearing into the long grass. It was clear that they were hunting, and before long, disappeared. What a way to start your first ever drive! As it started getting darker, we had our usual drinks break, for one of our groups, this was briefly interrupted by a rather big female hyena! Other groups also had nice views of some of those secretive animals such as porcupine, and everybody’s favourite…… Honey badger!
During the latter parts of the week students all completed the very vital First aid qualification, had a lecture on the guiding industry and an introduction to the guiding world, which was followed with another game drive that produced some great sightings of general game including sable, porcupine and some bushbabies!
This morning continues with a lecture on VPDCritters – getting to know all the creepy crawlies which may have a bit of a bite!
After a very busy first week, we can only look forward to a possibly even busier second week!
Charles and the Bushwise team!