Answering all your safety and security questions
At Bushwise we understand it’s a big deal to send your child on an extended field guide course. For some of our students this is their first time away from home for a length of time. For others, it’s a major trip overseas to an unfamiliar place, without their parents. That’s why we’ve put together this resource guide, to show you how we prioritise the health, safety and security of our participants.
A parent's guide
Arriving in South Africa
From the moment you land in South Africa, we want to be in touch and make the process as simple and safe as possible. For our international students travelling to South Africa, we offer a shuttle service departing the Johannesburg airport (O.R. Thambo International) on the morning of the first day of their course. It’s about five hours by bus from Johannesburg to campus, and this way they can also get to know other students in their group!
Details are shared with all students prior to their arrival. While this isn’t a required method of transport to the campus, it is a convenient option for local and international students alike.
Travelling in country
Travelling abroad, whether to South Africa or anywhere else, carries an element of risk. That’s why we focus so highly on providing the support and information your child needs to get to campus safely. Our enrolment team will work with you and your child to make their journey as smooth as possible and assist where questions arise.
As part of the Bushwise orientation, we talk students through our personal safety recommendations. This includes not carrying valuable items in public and always using trusted transportation options. We are happy to provide additional guidance in this regard, or have one-on-one discussions to address any specific concerns you may have.
Safety in and around campus
While Bushwise campuses are within or near Big Five reserves, the camps themselves do not have Big Five inside. Our campuses are located within tall, electrified game fences. These are erected to keep dangerous animals out of areas of human inhabitation. Students can walk freely around campus (jogging and exercise is also common) during the day. We don’t do nighttime activities unless they’re monitored by Bushwise staff, or the students are in a group and it is a sanctioned activity. Students should not walk around at night on their own.
Bushwise is doing an amazing job at training/instructing and educating him for his chosen future career! He has met individuals who share his passion from around the world and together they support each other. As a parent, I can say that entrusting my child’s career to Bushwise has been one of the best decisions I have made!
My sons words….”A place where your passion can only grow!”
VAUGHN WICKS | PARENT OF BUSHWISE STUDENT, 2023
Staying in touch
Our campuses are equipped with wifi, which is accessible in certain locations (such as classrooms and dining areas). It is very possible to keep in touch and receive updates from your children. We also encourage students to purchase SIM cards before coming to campus, these are widely available and require no subscription (they are “pay as you go” typically).
Life in a Bushwise camp
In addition to the significant safety measures we have in place, Bushwise camps are a fun and relaxing place to call home. Our students quickly make friends – it’s a small community of like-minded people from around the world – and many of these friendships will last a lifetime!
We recommend that you head over to our campus tours for a virtual tour of both our Mahlahla and Kempiana camps. From the comfortable chalets to the swimming pools and dining rooms, our camps have everything the students need and more.
Our students’ safety and success is our top priority. That’s why we offer 24/7 support, for all safety and security and general concerns. Our team of experienced trainers and staff are on hand to help with any questions or concerns your child may have about coursework or practical exercises. We believe that by providing round-the-clock support, our students can fully immerse themselves in their studies and take full advantage of the unique learning opportunities that the bushveld has to offer.
Should you have any questions or concerns during the course, you can reach out to us directly through the contact information provided. You can rest assured that your child will have the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their field guide course, and do so safely.
Excursions from camp
The Bushwise campuses are conveniently located near Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, Mariepskop, the Panorama Route, Hoedspruit Town, and many other top tourist destinations and landmarks. It’s an ideal base from which to explore this beautiful part of South Africa!
There are typically a few students who drive to campus and have their cars parked within the fenced camp area. On weekends and free weeks, students may make trips into town or surrounding areas, usually in groups (this is also recommended). We work with students to understand general safety principles if travelling in the area, and keep in touch with them when they’re travelling. Your child will never be alone travelling as there are always groups to join with and fun things to do during off time!
Hoedspruit is commonly known as the safari capital of South Africa. It’s a small agriculture and farming town, just 45 minutes away from two different entrances to Kruger National Park. Many tourism, photography, safari and overlanding companies have offices in Hoedspruit. It’s a great place for future field guides to network and meet people, whether while shopping at the local Pick ‘n Pay grocery store, or grabbing a coffee at one of the many cafes.
Exploring Hoedspruit is generally safe and students often make town trips on weekends. As with anywhere in South Africa (and indeed across the world), we encourage participants to be vigilant, keep an eye on their belongings, lock their cars and travel in groups when possible.
Kruger National Park
One of Africa’s most famous and iconic national parks is right next to Bushwise. Our Kempiana campus is located just 10 minutes from the Orpen Gate to Kruger National Park. This makes Kruger an ideal destination for students on their week off between semesters, or even for a day trip!
We understand that leaving campus to visit Kruger or other destinations can be a concern for some parents, and that’s why we take the safety of our students very seriously. The park is well-maintained, and the rangers are always on hand to ensure that visitors are safe. Kruger National Park has strict rules and regulations in place to protect both visitors and the wildlife, and this information can be found on their website. The park also provides a large number of rest camps that provide accommodation and amenities for visitors.
We believe that students should take full advantage of their time in the African bushveld, not only for their coursework but also for the unique experiences that this region has to offer. Visiting Kruger (and other wildlife conservation areas) will also give students practical, real world applications to the knowledge they’ve been absorbing on course.