The Other Side of Guiding
Ahoy out there! What a week we have had! Back after a well-deserved off week and straight back into the swing of things.
This week has had a definite theme – hospitality! Hospitality & Guiding in South Africa certainly go hand in hand. We started off with a hospitality lecture from Bushwise’s hospitality co-ordinator, Angela. This lecture covered all the students need to know about the hospitality side of guiding, how to welcome your guests, how to serve dinner correctly and most importantly, how to be an amazing well-rounded guide (by pouring great champagne the correct way!). The students hung on every word, and good that they did; as it is vitally important that you know how to host & treat your guests, and not only teach them about the wonders of the bush.
Following this, our students were invited to Makalali Private Game Lodge for a tour of the behind the scenes and guest aspects of an operating lodge. The fact that they were able to witness a mating pair of lions outside the lodge was an added bonus for the morning! Thanks to John and his team for the informative talk.
Next on the agenda was a campus tree walk. Here the students were able to refresh their minds on the variety of different tree species found in the area, and to learn some new rarer species. This was all in preparation for their upcoming Botany practical test, which they are completing as we speak.
Wednesday and Thursday saw the students head off to The Kruger National Park to do some game viewing in this world renowned park. Sightings were spectacular, with several views of lions, buffalo, lions chasing buffalo, elephants and even the elusive wild dogs! Although in my view, the sighting of the week was a little Sharpe’s Grysbok. These antelopes are hardly ever seen, and to have a very relaxed sighting with good photo opportunities is incredibly lucky (or skillful, depending on if you asked Cobus, who spotted it). A Yellow-billed Oxpecker was also an excellent tick to add to the growing birding lists.
Yet whilst half the students were game viewing in Kruger, the other half had the task of setting up and hosting a bush dinner for the “guests.” There was a lot of excitement around acquiring table ornaments, serving local cuisine (mopane worms on a bed of buffalo thorn leaves), and some even went to the lengths of wearing a leaf dress and dancing the “guests” in as they arrived. All in all the students did a wonderful job, setting up romantic dinners that were enjoyed by all! Well done!
Of course, we still managed to fit in a few game drives and a bush walk, to continue to cement skills and knowledge for the upcoming assessments.
In and amongst all the activities, the students had to find time to study for their up and coming FGASA Level one Theory exam next Saturday. It seems they have completed hours and hours of preparation, but the results will speak for themselves! Good luck to all the students and study hard!
Until Next Time,
Rogan & The Bushwise Team