My week as the camp manager

My week as the camp manager

BY: Daniel Kriedemann

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.

As expected, the week was busy! Even more so for me because of the duties that come with being a camp manager. It was a great challenge, though, and I really enjoyed the extra responsibilities – which included hosting a fun evening for everyone on Wednesday night, welcoming guests to the camp, and overseeing the duties of the rest of the students.

The week was also filled with game drives. We had two three-hour drives each day from Wednesday to Friday, which gave everyone an opportunity to be the guide for their group.

 

During your week as camp manager you get to lead the game drives and gain practical guiding experience.

Photo by: Ben Klunder

 

The students were split into two groups. Both groups had excellent sightings of rhinos and elephants, and the highlight of the week’s sightings were three massive male lions walking through the dry Mohlabetsi riverbed. 

With a week full of brilliant sightings, the students were ready to appreciate all the “little” wonders that the bush has to offer too. We’ve been learning about birds recently, and were super excited when we witnessed two Wahlberg’s eagles mating in the reserve! 

These birds are intra-African migrants and have just recently arrived on the reserve for breeding. We also had spectacular close-up sightings of a pair of saddle-billed storks, and the other group was lucky enough to observe one of them feeding on a catfish! 

 

A Walhberg's eagle spotted at the Bushwise campus.

Photo by: Donald Fraser

 

Aside from all the sightings, we also did revision on our knowledge of trees and grasses, in preparation for our practical assessment on botany in a few weeks.

On Wednesday morning, our head trainer, Jack, took four students on a bush walk  – myself, Zilcke, Adam and David – and it was amazing! We encountered a breeding herd of elephants only 20 metres away, as well as a black rhino only 30 metres away! It’s always a treat to see large mammals up close, while taking in the surroundings of the African bushveld on foot.

That same day, during the evening drive, we spotted the three huge male lions again. It was awesome to be able to follow them on the road for about 45 minutes. We were late for dinner, but it was worth it!

 

A male lion was spotted during a game drive.

 

After dinner, I decided to host a quiz night. The questions were on birds, mammals and reptiles. My group edged out the other group, beating them 8-7 in the end! It was a really fun evening.

My experience as the camp manager was a welcome challenge. It was one of the best weeks I’ve had so far –  especially the braai that we had on Friday, to celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa. It was another successful week and I look forward to what the next few have to offer.

Big mammal sightings, game drives and quiz nights – now that’s what we call a safari experience with a twist! Join a course now.