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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Amphibians Disrupting Our Class On Amphibians

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

This blog was written by Ethan Tooch, Bushwise Professional Field Guide student. Each student takes a turn as camp manager, and writing a blog is part of the experience.

Read time: 4 mins

When I was told that I was camp manager for the week, I immediately started to stress about all the responsibilities I would suddenly have. I thought of all the potential arguments and little problems I might have to solve, but luckily my stint as camp manager went by without a hitch. 

In fact, I feel as though I connected even more with my peers and that we all grew closer as a team. I helped out wherever I could because a good leader leads by example and I wanted to be as good a leader as I possibly could. I also enjoy helping wherever I can because some of the best conversations and laughs I’ve had here have been around the wash up area while doing dishes. 

This week was also our last week with Wayne at Mahlahla before he moved to SAWC, which was quite sad as we have had such a good time with him. Fortunately, we made the most of our last drive with him by dipping our feet in the river and having some fun which was such a cool experience and brought us all even closer. 

An exciting week of sightings

It was a lucky week for epic sightings. We were fortunate enough to finally see not one but two different leopards on two different days! The first sighting was only seconds long but still exciting. We took a chance and went to the dam hoping that he might go for a drink, but he never showed up. The second leopard we spotted stuck around long enough for all of us to get some half decent photos. 

A student's sighting of a lion in the wild

We also got lucky on the way to Nkorho gate with our first spotted hyena which was desperately trying to perform a prison break from Makalali so he could go and cause chaos somewhere else. 

We were also blessed with our first big male lion right after one of our coffee stops. We were too busy trying to identify a tree when someone shouted that there was a lion sitting there behind it. We were so focused on the tree that we all had tunnel vision and wouldn’t have seen the lion if someone hadn’t got distracted and looked elsewhere. 

Later in the week, we spotted an even bigger male lion with a huge, dark mane on the way to Main Gate for our morning drive. It was sitting along the fence line in Karongwe and was very photogenic in the beautiful, golden morning light. Unfortunately for the guides from Karongwe, he stopped posing for the cameras and lay down as soon as they arrived on the scene. 

Fred the foam nest tree frog

One funny thing that happened right before our amphibians lecture was when I went to turn on the fan and found our new class resident Fred the foam nest frog. Talk about good timing right before the lecture. 

african foam nest tree frog

Unfortunately, he didn’t stick around long enough for us to use him as a demonstration for frog behaviour as he made a break for it as soon as I went near him and started hopping around the classroom. He was promptly expelled from class in the form of me picking him up and taking him outside to find a new home. This didn’t last long as he was back the next morning. I guess he can stay there as long as he pays rent and doesn’t cause any problems. 

Embracing our inner crocodiles

On another note, the sun has finally decided to start heating up a bit so we have been spending a lot more time at the pool. We have figured out that crocodiles have the right idea by getting in the water for a quick dip to cool down and then getting out and basking in the sun. The pool is so cold that we all just jumped in, got straight out before we froze, lay in the baking sun until we were dry and hot again and then jumped right back in to cool off once again. Hopefully I can survive the intense heat because coming from Canada I’m definitely not used to this. 

Being camp manager made me realise that I have what it takes to lead a team and that I also enjoy doing it. I feel as though the best leaders are the ones that make sure a team is getting along, running as smoothly as possible and know how to have fun while still maintaining professionalism. I may not go into the guiding industry because I am interested in doing conservation work but I know that no matter where I go I can always step up to the plate and lead if I am needed. I’ve always known that I wanted to be out here in the bush and now that I’m here I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. Overall it was a really amazing week that was jam packed with lots of good times and laughter.

Dreaming of early morning game drives, hot summer days next to the pool and learning all about the South African bush? Join us out here at Bushwise and start living your wildest dreams. 


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