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Ulovane Update: January 2020 Semester Week 10



Apprentice Field Guides: Final Week

Olivier joined us from France, for the Apprentice Field Guide course. He is going to return as soon as he can to join us for the Apprentice Trails Guide course too! For now, he has written an account for you all on his time here over the last ten weeks.

It’s now the end of week 10 and thus the end of the training. I can’t believe how fast it went. It feels like yesterday where I first arrived at the camp. Now we’re almost part of the furniture.

Final group photo. Gin Bar celebrations on the final day

During this course, we have learned and grown so much. I’m sometimes amazed by all the new things that we were able to discover every day. When I first came to Ulovane, I knew already a few things about the bush, but it seemed like an impossible mission to conduct a complete nature guided experience with real guests for several hours. Especially in English. And now here we are, freshly graduated as Apprentice Field Guides!

I’m very proud of all my fellow students for the hard work that has been done. I will always cherish the good moments that we’ve shared together. It was not an easy task every day, but we managed and thanks to that we became stronger.

There are so many good memories that it’s hard to only select some of them. Certainly, the two moments that I’ll never forget will be the weekend off in Kenton-on-sea and the mud fight with the injured legs! And of course, probably the two lions literally chilling two meters from the vehicle; that was quite a heck of a sighting!!

This last week started with all our final presentations. Each of us had done a presentation of about 10 minutes on a subject of our choice. Some of the subjects covered included Nelson Mandela, Xhosa rituals, the Creation of the Universe and more surprisingly, some presented about Pokémon and the Sweet Potato!

That day some of us also went on a special mission; to try to renew our visa in Port Elizabeth. Indeed, most of the Europeans were supposed to go back home in order to get a fresh visa to start the Apprentice Trails guide course, but because of the coronavirus, it wasn’t certain that once we try to come back to South Africa, we’re not going to be placed in quarantine. Due to this unprecedented and exceptional event, one of our students even had to go back home earlier. Consequently, it was with great sadness that on Wednesday we said goodbye to Liam, our fellow American friend.

Mid-week we were given a day to write a mock FGASA exam, which was useful as it allowed each of us to know which chapter we had to focus on. Thanks to that, all the people who did the final FGASA exam have graduated! After that everyone has a well-deserved 2-week break before the Apprentice Trails course begins.

I would like to take a few more lines to give thanks from the bottom of my heart to all the Ulovane team who have made this dream possible. Justin, Melissa, Shani, Piet, Schalk, Candice, Jacques, Ben, Mama Thabs and Mama Joyce obviously; thank you every one of you for the help you provided for us at the right moment.

I also would like to say a few words about my comrades. First, Matt, it has been an amazing pleasure to be your roommate with you during this adventure. Thanks for all your jokes. Our two neighbors Meggi and Becci, I’m going to miss hearing you two laughing together through the wall. Oscarito, ich, such a character! Without you, it definitely wouldn’t have been the same. Liam, like we said it’s always the best ones that leave first. Mr. Pick&Pay, I think none of us could thank you enough. Luan, you’re the greatest Scottish I’ve ever meet (hope I get this right this time). Sima, Sine, and Lumie, also wouldn’t have been the same experience without you guys, the energy you put in the group was just insane. Jesse, yah brooo, I’ve never seen someone loving being in the bush so much. I hope you’ll keep that for the rest of your life. I’m glad you found a partner in crime for that a.k.a Adriaan.

Huge respect to Simon, I would never have survived with roommates waking me up at 4am every day! William, I know you’re English and I’m French, but don’t believe what the FGASA guiding skills say, I enjoyed your company a lot. Veer, thanks for all the contributions, you were always the first one to help every single one of us. And last but not least, Nico, I’m very confused, did you know the reserve before coming?! Joking, all your experience was just very valuable tips for us.

I’m not the best person to put feelings into words but I can assure you that you will always have a special place in my heart. I’m going to miss you real bad. See you soon, baboons.

All the best,


“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”Gary Snyder

Marine Guides: Week 3

Chanté has been with us through both the Apprentice Field and Apprentice Trails guide courses. The adventures of the second last week of their marine guide course is being brought to you by herself and Engela; both of whom are from South Africa.

This was our third week of marines before we approached our final assessments next week and finish off with a wonderful course. During this week we were a bit concerned about all the madness going on with the coronavirus, but we kept our heads high and our positive attitudes even higher.

We decided to go on an amazing kayaking trip on the lagoon in Boknesstrand. My partner and I had to cut it a little short though because every time it was my turn to paddle, we ended up going backward instead of forward!! So he got his exercise in for the week on one single canoe trip!! We also got to enjoy a wonderful boat trip up the Bushman’s river where we got to do some birding and attempted to catch a fish, but that didn’t go so well as the fish outsmarted us and only jumped around the boat but never biting the bait.

My favorite part of this week was our walk during low tide at night which almost ended with me in the water with a school of blacktails! We walked near the river mouth. It was amazing to be able to investigate the lives of these magnificent animals in their natural habitat at night and how they come alive. We also got to see some things that we never had before like a sea cucumber – which looks nothing like a cucumber by the way! We also got to see an octopus up close and personal and I have to say that they are one of the coolest creatures out there!

In just 3 short weeks I feel that I have learned a lot about our beautiful ocean and things that amaze me still and I now know how important it is to take care of our ocean before it’s too late.

Chanté and Engela.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”― Mahatma Gandhi