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Adventure on course in the African bush

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Bushwise student Marlene Botha takes us on an adventure in the African bush alongside her fellow students.

Camp manager blogs are written by our current students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

And so another very eventful semester at Bushwise Mahlahla Campus comes to an end. Between game drives, two weeks of studying, learning about hospitality, competency, and track and sign, we have experienced (and grown) so much in the past five weeks.

I will never forget arriving on campus for the very first time, not knowing what to expect but being extremely excited about what was to come. I remember the anticipation and nerves I felt when meeting all the people I would be spending the next six months of my adventure with, not yet knowing that we would become such a close-knit family. Going on our first game drive and having our first drinks (phuza) stop and now laughing about how we forgot our snacks on that first drive.

Compared to where we are now – studying to write our FGASA NQF2 exam, the theory component to becoming a level 1 field guide (apprentice field guide) – and beyond excited to be back in the bush on the game viewers, learning and laughing. 

Even preparing dinner can be an adventure

Despite spending many hours sitting in the classroom, you can easily tell that we are passionate about the bushveld. Every break is spent identifying bird calls. All of us swarm out of the classroom when we see sable antelopes on campus. We walk to and from the classroom with our heads down to identify different animal tracks. Not to mention driving around campus in our own vehicle trying to spot the mysterious leopard. 

As we have become more experienced, we’ve spent time talking about how we miss the madness of our first game drives and all the jokes and memories made on them. I have really enjoyed the phuza stops and rusks every morning, and the afternoon sunsets with coffee or Oros (in some cases coffee accidentally mixed with Oros). 

We have also met a few interesting creatures living around our rooms, like Gregory the rainbow skink that gives you a fright every time you come around the corner by rustling the leaves under the trees. There’s also the dynamic duo Jenny and Joshua, two bats who live just outside our roof.

Bushwise students on a safari drive adventure

A lot of nights are spent around the fire in the boma area, where I usually find my roommate’s head pointed straight up at the sky, trying to identify different constellations of stars.

Our week was also filled with a bit of adventure when we did an EAP (emergency action plan). This is similar to when you plan a fire exit plan at your house, school, or office, in order to be properly prepared when something happens in the future . Our bacon and toast breakfast was left behind and forgotten as well as some of the people’s plakkies (flip flop shoes) as we ran across the bridge to assist where we were needed.

Despite some emotions running high, we were able to successfully complete the EAP (for context – imagine the fire alarm going off at school during a drill, and you and the other students rushing out the door to your meeting place). 

Sometimes safaris bring the adventure of a lifetime - like seeing a lion!

So far, this course has exceeded all of my expectations and is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I get to wake up every morning with the sounds of the bushveld around me, and I get to share this adventure with incredible people. I am beyond lucky to spend day in and day out enjoying the wildlife and going on game drives – simply being in the middle of the bush. 

After a well-deserved week off and some much-needed rest, I am grateful and happy to have had the chance to spend my first week back as acting camp manager. I am beyond excited to see what the rest of the third semester has in store for us and the memories that will be made in the next three weeks.

Are you keen on adventures in the African bush? Apply today and start your career journey!

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