BY: Alex Walker, Bushwise student 2020
I never grew up on a farm or around bush life, I have never really seen what this industry is about. Until arriving at Bushwise, we start by learning small things around camp from the trees and the folklore behind them, like how the magic gwarrie can be used as a toothbrush.
Slowly we worked our way up to our studies, learning more and more about the land that we walk on, from weather and climate all the way to the biomes of South Africa. The more I learnt, the more I became astounded with this field. The way the earth and stone were made, how the stone creates soil, the soil grows specific grass that specific species eat and the cycle continuous. From creation to destruction. All from just one month of learning, one semester is all it took for me to realize the huge passion and appreciation for the South African bush and all the life surrounding every tree and every little bee.
Now it does get a bit challenging, it’s a lot of information and a lot of work, but the way it taught to you would think you have had a passion for it all your life. The trainers just add to the experience and increase it 100 times over. The extensive amount of knowledge they have is incredible. Every Thursday we go on a game drive from early morning to late evening, each team rotates between the 3 trainers. Every time you switch a trainer its like closing one book and opening another, different experiences and stories. Each trainer has a different background, a different way of teaching, a different way of telling a story!
It was weird getting to know everyone, you know back home you are the odd one with the bush addiction, you see a bug at a braai and wonder what it is or wonder what type of animal would eat the grass in the backyard. But coming out here, every single person has the same fascination you do. Everyone has the same love for nature, although everyone has a different love. Some people love the sound of birds and can identify them with ease, some, like me. Some love the trees and love being able to identify them, knowing what it is that you are sleeping under, being able to look at the bark and leaves and identify the difference between a Marula and a false Marula.
In conclusion, the world of field guiding is one of great exploration, the skill and knowledge put together is so rare. Only in this beautiful country of ours can we discover and explore this field. Only in the South African bush can we really discover people and ourselves. From the termite mounds and their Sandton like mounds to the hyena in their packs. We live and copy nature at every single point, and I think that every person on earth needs to experience it at least once.