First week on the job

First week on the job

BY: Christie JANSE VAN RENSBURG

Camp manager blogs are written by our students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week. Christie has just started her Bushwise Field Guide course and was selected to be the first camp manager.

 

Being camp manager during week one

 

I was nervous but also excited when I was selected to be the camp manager from 9 to 17 July 2021, during the very first week of our Bushwise Field Guide course at Balule campus. 

 

The accommodation for the field guides

 

We were all still finding our feet at our new house in the bush, so it was quite stressful to be the first camp manager. I didn’t know what to expect and the students also didn’t know each other well yet. But once I got into it, it became a very eventful, exciting and rewarding experience!

 

What does a camp manager do?

 

Being camp manager requires you to take up a number of responsibilities. For example, camp managers man the camp radio to stay in touch with instructors in case anything happens out in the field. I also had to ensure that all duties assigned to the two different groups at the campus were completed. 

On Wednesday 14 July, I had to host an evening event where I provided a presentation on the week’s main news events. This included updates that ranged from news on what’s happening in South Africa to the weather. I also included some awesome news about animals and that we might have found a new bioluminescent centipede species on the Balule Bushwise campus (currently sent for research to be done on it). 

 

Centipede identification

 

As camp manager I also had to arrange some games as entertainment for students, and decided to include these names by playing my game called “The Shangaan”. 

In this game, the students each drew a Shangaan name and had to find their hidden English animal match around the classroom and kitchen. This was great, and now even one and a half weeks later – most students already know many Shangaan names. Sometimes, they’ll even introduce themselves as their own Shangaan name along with the English translation.

My other game was the famous “bok-drol spoeg” sport. That was also great fun. 

 

Our first game drives

 

On Wednesday on 14 July we had our first game drive. We were extremely excited when we saw nearly all of the Big Five animals, just missing leopard and lion, in just three game drives. 

We did come across some lion tracks, but had to be satisfied with only hearing them roaring at night. On our Thursday morning drive we came across fresh white rhino tracks along the dried up riverbed.   We told everyone when we got back to camp, so when group B went to the same location during their afternoon drive they had some excellent sightings. 

 

Lion tracks

 

During our first week of game drives we also had our first opportunity to learn how to drive the big cruisers. I’ve always loved to drive big vehicles and this was just the cherry on the cake for me. 

 

Conclusion 

 

My week as a camp manager was rewarding, and I was impressed by everyone’s efforts and work they put in. I didn’t have any issue telling anyone to complete their duties. 

We learned a lot in the first week. Some areas that I used to find less interesting (trees, birds, insects, arachnids and astronomy) are now topics I can’t get enough of. I am so fascinated by everything and eager to learn more as the course progresses.

 

White rhinos spotted on game drive

 

I am astonished that we’ve already learned so much in such a short amount of time, how close our friendships have become and how exciting this course really is. So far, it is the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. This is a great course to do when you really feel like you belong in the bush. 

Thank you Lindi, Jack and Ryan for everything you’ve taught us and will teach us in the times to come. This is one experience that will never be forgotten. 

You can have an experience like Christie by joining a Bushwise course now.