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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Camp Manager Week: Tyre Changes, Returning Birds & A Broken Foot

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

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


Read time: 3 min


And so it begins on Monday morning and at 4:30 am. The alarm goes off, and somehow I manage to crawl out of bed and turn it off. It’s a new day and I am camp manager this week. I walk to the kitchen in the pitch black hearing the sounds of my fellow students snoring away. No sounds of birds are heard yet – I mean why would I hear that? It’s freaking 4:30 am! I unlock the kitchen and set up the coffee station – which thankfully means one thing … back to bed. 


The day truly begins at 6:30am when we depart for this week’s game drives. Our second time doing our 3-hour drives so nerves are high. Pro tip: stay away from the non-morning people during this time! Everyone meets at the cruisers waiting to defrost from their slumber and the trainers arrive with loads of enthusiasm and energy … where do they get it from?

Students waiting around the cruising waiting to start their field guiding

The birds return from their holidays

We drive out into the bush, and it never gets old. The animals are waking up and some are going to bed after a long night. The birds begin chirping and in that moment we all know, we are exactly where we’re supposed to be! 


This week we had the most incredible sightings – cheetahs, lions, spotted hyenas, elephants! But let’s not forget about our small fellas like the most beautiful butterflies. We also couldn’t have been more excited to see the birds who have just come back from their holiday. Some birds migrate over different seasons and now that spring is approaching, it’s like we have entered a new world because we’re seeing new birds that weren’t here when we started the course. 


Feeling like a baddie

This week also involved us learning to change tyres on drives, and if you are anything like me, this is not something you were taught growing up. (I 100% think it should be). But my parents raised a strong woman, so I was determined to get it right! 


And I did it, with a bit of difficulty – but hey we can’t all be perfect on our first try. Doing such a simple task made me honestly feel like a badass. I felt empowered and if anyone that hasn’t changed a tyre before is reading this, I encourage you to learn. 

Student analysing the cruiser to change the tyre in preparation for a game drive

The trick to being camp manager

Being camp manager also means that people come to you with problems they need help with to solve and luckily for me that’s my expertise. But after hearing the same problem – cups being left on the table after meals – it gets hard to keep your cool. It’s such a small thing, but nobody seems to just wash them when they’re done. 


That’s where being camp manager comes in. Do you lose it and shout at everybody? – very tempting sometimes. Or do you try your best to keep your cool and politely tell everyone for the 10th time to work as a team and pack the cups away? 


Broken feet and termites

Being camp manager also means you are in charge of the walkie talkie. So it’s your job to report anything you should be worried about or something the trainers should know. They always say “Don’t worry! Nothing serious will happen.” But this week it did! 


My fellow student happened to have a wee accident – and by wee I mean she broke her foot in two places! Can I just take a moment to say how strong she was? She did not let a single tear leave her eyes!!! I would be crying buckets if it were me.


There are so many things I could write about, but I would fill a book. Being camp manager has taught me responsibility, dedication and, most of all, teamwork. After spending some time watching termites build their home, I realised we are a lot like them. Everyone has a role to play and things can only be achieved greatly if we work as a team!


That’s all from me for this week so goodbye for now!


Be part of the fun that is campus life when you join us out here at Bushwise to learn and experience all the cool things the South African bush has to offer.


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