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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

FGASA exams and wildlife sightings

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

In this blog, Bushwise student Kyla shares her leadership lessons and wildlife sightings as back-to-back camp manager. 

3 min read

We’re family at Bushwise

I had the opportunity to be camp manager at the Bushwise Mahlala campus for two weeks (instead of the usual one). Unfortunately, another student was ill and wasn’t able to take over the responsibilities of being camp manager. We are a close family here at Bushwise and we always help where we can. 

The author shows a bird book to her guests while conducting an assessment game drive. 

We were actively preparing for our FGASA test, botany test, slide and sound ( where we had to identify amphibians, arthropods, fish and mammals) and our assessment drives coming up this week.

It was a very stressful time, but we all worked very hard and were successful. I felt confident being a helping hand to all the other students on campus during these two weeks. I loved every moment.

After all our activities had ended one night, we got an exciting message from Josh that they found a male lion along the fence line. Josh and Kerry love taking evening drives with their car on the main dirt road just outside of our campus.

The lion sleeps tonight

A lioness walks across an open field. 

We raced to our car and met up with them and saw a male lion actively calling right next to the fence line. We sat there for 2 hours just talking about the amazing sounds this big male lion was making. 

We also had an amazing wildlife sighting on Skye’s afternoon game drive. We sat for hours with a large troop of baboons. These animals are so interesting to me and I love watching them. 

They had small babies, teenagers and one very big male – I’ve never seen a big male baboon this big before. As the baboons made their way up the trees to start getting ready for the evening, we reversed under the tree to head back to campus. They went crazy and started throwing their faeces at us  – we had great laughs at this.

More amazing wildlife sightings

Kyla pauses for a brief laugh with her fellow students, after she’s explained something to them on her assessment game drive. 

Being able to have such amazing interactions with all these animals is truly a blessing and I love every moment at Bushwise. I feel at home with these people, and it is truly special to wake up every morning in the bush.

I also had the opportunity to be camp manager during the off week. I went to Kruger National park with Shannon for four days. We stayed in Kruger National park at Pretoriuskop rest camp and we left every morning just as the gates just opened. I really hoped to see wild dogs during our stay. 

After 21 years of searching, I finally had not one but two amazing up close sightings of wild dogs. At our first wild dog sighting, they were laying right next to my car and got up and started chasing a steenbok. 20 minutes laters a huge pride of lionesses passed through this sighting and chased the wild dogs off. This was the most special wildlife sighting I have ever seen and I will remember this for my entire life. 

What I’m grateful for 

A wild dog stares off to the left of the frame. Wild dogs are one of the most endangered mammals in southern Africa. 

My time here at Bushwise has been spectacular and I am so grateful for the amazing trainers, staff and students that I’ve met and became so close with. It has been three months of great fun, and this is truly an experience I’ll never be able to stop speaking about.

I’ve grown so much, and the knowledge I gained in just three months is incredible. I’m very grateful for this experience and how it has shaped me as a woman and grown my confidence.

Thank you Bushwise for all the things you have done for me and all the things still to come.

From baboons to wild dogs and everything in between, you could experience all these wildlife sightings on a Bushwise Professional Field Guide course.

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