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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Exploring nature: Change will start with me

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

This blog was written by Edward Tivana, during his turn as camp manager on the Bushwise Professional Field Guide course.

My name is Edward and I’m from Timbavati village. I have been passionate about nature (guiding) since I was young. It started when we used to watch 50/50 on SABC 2 “where you belong” in our community. During that time, there was no television at home but one of our community members had a television. So every evening we went there as a group to watch the black and white television with a big aerial that you had to operate with your hands rather than a remote.

I think change will start with me

Now that I’ve grown up, I think back to where it started, and it makes me proud of what I’m doing right now and the passion I have for wildlife. I will give information to people about our beautiful nature, and teach young people about nature and how it plays a role in our daily life.

For me, being a guide is not a job but rather a career. I’m looking forward to changing people’s lives or behaviour with nature – particularly young people from different communities because changing one person’s life can make a difference! My guiding is not only about nature but changing the way that people play a role in preserving it. I have realised that most people do care about our wildlife, but there are no people around them to teach or educate them about it, especially in the local communities.

Becoming camp manager

Edward stands wearing his Bushwise uniform, smiling towards the camera on a warm day in the South African sun.

As we know, everything has the beginning “from child to an adult” – so I feel so special and honoured for to have the opportunity to grow from just a student to camp manager for the week. In life I’ve learnt that everything has a history which will always be true. I’m saying this because during my week as camp manager I asked myself the question: where am I right now during my management? And the answer is: I’m in Kruger National Park. This context helps me to better understand how important nature is, especially in this historic reserve, and where I would have been without it.

Kruger National Park

Kruger began in 1898 as Sabie Game Reserve, proclaimed by the late president of Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. In 1926 it mergeed with other land to become Kruger National Park. Paul Kruger came with an idea that some parts of Kruger must be no hunting zones. The first warden was James Stevenson Hamilton, and he had the job of removing people out of prohibited areas and local people gave him the name “skukuza” meaning ‘clearing the area’.

In 1927, the Kruger was opened to the public and only three cars were allowed to enter the park a day at an entrance fee of 1 pound. So it gives me an understanding that one person can make a difference and now we are proud of our wildlife community because of the difference Paul Kruger made. Today Kruger is 20 000 square kilometres, how crazy is that?

Observing unique animal interactions

A giraffe stands amongst trees and bushes near the Southern African Wildlife College campus, where Bushwise students train to become field guides. 

On our Monday morning game drive we got to see the impala in their rutting season which was awesome as they chase one another while growling, zebras fighting, elephant bulls full of mud, wildebeest fighting for dominance and marking their territory, and the journey of giraffes.

The experience and sightings have been fantastic. At last we saw the big dagga boy (buffalo at the camp and had a sighting of Burchell’s starling and fork tailed drongo where the drongo was trying to steal food from the starling. On my last drive, I really enjoyed seeing a steenbok for the first time and a group of buffalos making their way towards our pan.

There isn’t a grave big enough to bury all the knowledge I’m gaining from this course and all sightings I’m getting to experience. I’m also so grateful to experience being a camp manager as it is giving me the opportunity to learn how to be a manager and the different roles I have to play.

Every been curious about Kruger National Park, its history and animals, like Edward? Learn all about the protected areas in South Africa on a course with Bushwise.




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