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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Answering Mama Africa’s call: My journey to wildlife conservation

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

3 min read

At age 21, I find myself sitting on a patio outside my tent, which I now call home for the next six months, overlooking the expansive bushveld of the greater Kruger. How on earth did a boy from the Winelands of the Western Cape end up here? Back when my parents were young, dumb, and broke, they were guiding overlanding trips through Southern Africa. It was during this time that they met, and a few years later, I arrived. 

I grew up in a small town called Riebeek West in the Western Cape. My Father is an architect and my mom worked in tourism for a long while before becoming a full-time mother. My grandfather on my dad’s side owned a game farm outside of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, which I grew up visiting from a very young age. He taught me a lot about the complexities of the African bush, and this is where my love for the bushveld was born. 

With my parents' background in overlanding, I was very fortunate to go on many family trips across Southern Africa and to see the most amazing things at a young age. From this early age, my love and interest in nature continued to grow. I was never the child who wanted a PlayStation or had any interest in anything indoors. You would always find me outdoors chasing the chickens or finding eggs in birds' nests up dangerously tall trees. 

I matriculated from Paarl Boys High School, and like most teens nowadays, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was, however, very passionate about rugby and pursued a career in the sport I loved most. After two years of playing rugby full-time, I had sustained too many injuries, and it was no longer safe for me to continue. During high school and playing rugby after, I was so caught up in the rat race of life. I never had time to visit the bush like I did when I was younger, and slowly, I started to forget what it was like. 

When rugby didn’t work out, I decided to chase money and moved to Cape Town. I enjoyed the pretentious life of a city boy for about a month until I realised something just didn’t seem to feel right, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. The city was driving me crazy, but I had no idea what else to do. This unsettling feeling sat with me for a while. 

One day, a few months later, I got an invite from an old friend from school to visit him on his game farm in the Karoo. It was on that farm, while sitting under a starlit night sky around a crackling fire in the veld, that I heard it. I heard Mama Africa's whisper, calling me back to where I belonged. To the place where generations of my family had always found themselves – the African Bush.

I knew instantly that the bush was where I wanted, and needed, to be. It was the part of my soul that was missing. A month after visiting my friend's farm I heard about Bushwise. And, to make a long story short, here I am, sitting on my patio outside my tent which I now call home for the next six months, overlooking the expansive bushveld of the greater Kruger. 

Explore Bushwise courses and embark on a journey of your own. Apply now to start the adventure!



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