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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Becoming a field guide in the African savannah

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

BY: Luke Potterton

Camp manager blogs are written by our current students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

Living in the bush is an amazing and unique experience, there is always something to be learnt. Whether it’s about yourself or the environment in which you live in. I find that when I am in nature, I am at my calmest, I am able to reflect on who I am and what I want to achieve in the future.

I have gone from living in the city of Cape Town to living in the middle of the bush, African savannah, in Limpopo, and going on game drives every day learning about every single aspect of the bush, whether it is learning about the mammals, trees, reptiles and even the insects.

Bushwise students on a game viewer, stopped while enjoying a sighting.

When I started at Bushwise, I did not know what to expect. I was asking myself questions like, what will the other students be like? What are the trainers going to be like? And will I not get tired of the bush since I will be there 24/7?

Now that we are coming to an end of the course, I have the answers to these questions. From day one I have enjoyed every single minute at Bushwise, even though I have to admit that waking up at 5am nearly every morning does take some getting used to. The people I have met on this course have become family, although we may not always get along. 

At the end of the day, these people are the only other people who went through the same experience as me and we will always have one another’s backs. I have made some great friendships that I am sure will last for a lifetime. 

Two bushwise students (including the author) during a training session on botany.

By being at Bushwise I have met many unique characters and people from different cultures. I thoroughly enjoy learning about where people come from and learning about their cultures. The training at Bushwise has been remarkable and the trainers have created good relationships with every student and are able to provide the support and structure needed from students.

While being at Bushwise, I have learnt that it’s impossible to get bored of the bush; every day is a unique experience and I always seem to learn something while I’m out here. I have learnt that no matter how different one animal or species might be, they are all connected in one way or another.

A Bushwise student looks at a dam while holding binoculars.

I have done things in the past six months that I would never think I would do in my whole life. From assisting in conservation to learning to safely handle rifles.

Seeing conservation in action was a truly special and unique experience. Not many people in their lifetime will have the opportunity to assist reserve management with their projects. We got to see big game animals up close and personal, in a way I couldn’t otherwise imagine. Being able to do this was truly a humbling experience and puts the beauty of nature into perspective.

Looking up into the night sky and learning about astronomy on a Bushwise course.

As I reflect on where I was in January and where I am now, I am amazed by the amount I have grown personally and the knowledge I have attained while attending Bushwise. When we were initially told the course itinerary and what we were going to be doing throughout the course, it felt rather stressful. I thought I would definitely not be able to learn all the trees as well as the birds in the area. However, now as I reflect on the amount I have learnt, it is truly astounding. 

Does living in the African savannah, learning all about its wildlife, sound like an amazing experience to you? Follow Luke’s footsteps and apply today to join a Bushwise course.

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