A team effort: life with my Bushwise family

A team effort: life with my Bushwise family

BY: Wana Bezuidenhout

Camp manager blogs are written by our current students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

Starting the Bushwise Field Guide course is one of the best life choices one could make.  Not only because it’s a dream come true – it’s also the start of future and lifelong bonds with like-minded people. It’s the knowledge that is shared between passionate trainers and students that are eager to learn. It’s the excitement of seeing the growth in your fellow students in only one semester.

So far during this course, we have experienced so much excitement and seen so much effort go into each and every day. We’ve spent days learning how life will be as a field guide and our daily game drives have delivered the best sightings. We’ve all become more aware of our surroundings and what nature has to offer us – trees, plants, grasses, birds, insects, and mammals.

A bee-eater sits on a twig

From day one we immediately became one big “bush-loving” family. Each of us brought our unique personalities and thoughts. We’ve learnt how to work together and be team players – whether that means waking up at four in the morning to get coffee and snacks ready for the morning game drive, or helping team members change a flat tyre.

One memory I will never forget was a morning where a few of us were sitting at the dining room table taking a short study break, when we heard the sounds of a car on the main road just outside the campus. After the heavy rain the previous day we knew the road would be wet, and the sounds coming from the car indicated that it was stuck in the mud. We decided to go outside and have a look, in case it was students coming back from town.

A safari vehicle with students on the road

Three of us offered to help, and saw it wasn’t other students, but rather some of our neighbours in their bakkie (pickup truck). With a lot of muscle and some quick thinking, we managed to get their bakkie out, and sent them on their way. Covered in mud, the three of us returned to camp with a memory that will last a lifetime.

There is not one moment in a day that I would replace. Every day has been full of memories and my fellow students have become family, so that even the silliest stories around the campfire are interesting. I have a smile on my face every night, often laughing so hard that my tummy still hurts the following day, simply from being a part of something so amazing.

Game drives will always be my favourite part of the day. This is where we learn the practical knowledge needed to become field guides. Lessons include knowing what to do in certain situations and how to share your knowledge with guests. Each student is given the opportunity to practice their game drives, and through each one we learn new things and see nature from their perspective.

Being a Bushwise student definitely changes you for the better. It teaches you how to work together as a team and take on responsibilities. Take our camp duties as an example. Everyone is separated into teams and has specific duties allocated to their group on a weekly rotation basis. I’m enjoying being part of a big team of people with the same interests as me. It offers us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective while adding stories and sharing knowledge.

Students in a classroom

Every day at Bushwise is a gift, something unforgettable. I am truly blessed to be part of this wonderful “bush-loving” family. There is something new to learn every day. I’ve never found time spent in nature and its surroundings to be a waste of time. My wish is that I stay like this: having a love for nature and passing it on to each and every person I meet. Nature reveals beautiful parts of ourselves we could not find anywhere else.

Do you want to find your bush family like Wana? Apply today and get started on a similar path towards becoming a field guide.