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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Wild Week as Camp Manager: Exams, Game Drives And Sleepouts

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

This blog was written by Julian Payne, a Bushwise Professional Field Guide student, during their week as camp manager.


Read time: 3 mins


This week was a very big week for us on the SAWC campus. It was full of game drives, a big exam, a sleepout and the start of the new semester. This new semester offered a transition from mainly classroom and theory work to the next phase of the course which is full of animals and game drives! Needless to say, we’re all very excited for that part. 


Returning from off week

We had just come back from our first off week. Everyone had plenty of stories and experiences to share from trips back home, Kruger trips (the first for many), trips to town, or the fun they had while staying on campus and hanging out together. It was really nice to see how everyone came back refreshed but also excited for what is to come. I myself noticed that this was the first time I had come back from a break from either school or work and been happy about being back. Truly a sign of how much I enjoy what I’m doing here and that I am finally on the right path in my life. 

Elephant in the bush

However, there was not much time to dwell on my off week or talk to my friends about theirs as we had our official FGASA exam halfway through the week. This exam was the last of the theory exams that we had been working on since getting to campus last month. Everyone got into full study mode pretty much the moment we arrived back on campus. 


Between the in-class review sessions with the trainers and the study groups we formed, most people felt quite good going into the exam. We also had a couple of game drives as well which was a nice break from studying. Especially since those drives were quite eventful with some beautiful elephant, ostrich and even rhino sightings. 


Sleeping out in the bush

In the afternoon after we took our exam, we headed to our first sleep out. This meant that we would be sleeping under the open sky inside Kruger, which was something we were all super excited for – albeit a bit nervous. It was especially nice as the weight of the exams and weeks of studying was off our shoulders. 


Once at the campsite under a big marula tree, we set up camp, made a fire, had dinner, sat around the campfire, played a bird game, and just enjoyed nature and each other’s company. Throughout the night we were fortunate to hear hyenas, jackals and a couple of birds. 

Students sitting together in the sunset

What’s next for the Bushwise students

Now that the FGASA theory is out of the way, we have started studying for the next phase of the course which is all about learning the animal slides and sounds from mammals and birds all the way to frogs and insects. And while this feels like a daunting task, I personally can’t wait until I know all of these because the bush will look and feel quite different once it isn’t full of “random” animals and sounds, but rather things we actually recognise and know stuff about. 


This new term will also be the start of more in depth 3-hour game drives that will really allow us to challenge ourselves and see what leading a full game drive is all about. 


This was not the easiest week to be a camp manager as I had to balance the managerial duties as well as the studying and staying on top of everything. However, as there are always two camp managers, we split up the duties and together we were able to make sure that things were going smoothly so that everyone could focus purely on studying. Plus, we have an amazing group of students here that I am glad to call my friends that all take part in helping each other and making sure everything goes well. 


Experience the thrill of sleeping under the stars and hearing jackals call as you chat around the campfire late into the night with new found friends out here at Bushwise


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