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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

The boy, a lion and a snake

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

This blog was written by Nicol Maree, a Bushwise student at our Mahlahla campus. Camp Manager blogs are written by students who each manage camp for one week during their course. Students are encouraged to be creative and write about their experience as a story. Nicol certainly took this task to heart with his original blog!

3 min read

A group of students from the Mahlahla Bushwise campus on game drive, including the author of this blog. Image by Darian De Bruin.

Part 1: The road trip

Our story starts on 3 January, with a boy from Cape Town preparing for a journey. Crossing borders and facing fears, his destination Limpopo… to be more specific Bushwise – the best training facility known to man. But little did he know, he was in for one memorable first week as camp manager. 

Let’s start at the beginning. The road trip started by saying goodbye to family and his two fur babies and getting ready to drive 1,800km. His first destination was Bloemfontein, then Johannesburg and then finally after many hours on the road, one or two truck stops and many angry people coming from holiday, he landed at Bushwise. 

Upon arriving at Bushwise he was met with friendly faces and a warm handshake here and there. With a shiny nametag, he was prepared to get to work and learn about the bush and all the beauty it has to offer – after all, he had come too far to turn back now. The three days started off slow and it consisted of mainly getting used to his new environment and getting to know the new faces of his classmates and educators. 

An impressive male lion walks directly towards the camera. He looks to be on the prowl. Image by Annie DuPre.

Part 2: King of the jungle

As an old friend used to say, “There can only be one king of the jungle and it’s not you”. After settling in the young boy became good friends with a fellow classmate. Together, they would stay up late studying and crushing their daily goals, and till this day they remain a formidable team! 

One evening while studying the two Bushwise learners took a 10 min break gazing at the stars when the silence was interrupted by a sound which the boy had never heard. 

Lions in the distance at Makalali Game Reserve had given a roar, a roar so loud the earth had shaken and now every animal in the bush knew the king was upset. ‘Upset about what?’ the boy thought to himself… was it perhaps the heat? Or the fact that he was also feeling a little bit lonely? Oh well, it doesn’t really matter because he is still king! 

To be a king sounds quite nice, the boy thought, and knew that was his goal. What makes a good king? To lead of course and that was exactly what the boy did with a new title to his already new nametag – the title of camp manager!

The entire Mahlahla cohort on one of their first days on campus, training to become field guides. Image by Darian De Bruin.

Part 3: Camp Manager (aka Class Captain)

With the reminder of the king of the jungle sitting fresh in the back of his mind, the boy began his daily duties. 

Half a week into his journey as camp manager, things started to turn for the better. The boy got the chance to drive a safari vehicle and not just for practice – but in a real game reserve. With this golden opportunity, the boy along with nine other students set out to find the infamous king who had given him inspiration.

There it was, lying in the tall grass, the legend was true! The lion had waited for the boy. The Bushwise students finally came face to face with the king – well from a safe distance in the safari vehicle. 

A staff member from the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre doing a demonstration with a snake. Image by Katie Wessels.

Part 4: Man vs Beast

Little did the boy know that the animal kingdom had another battle lined up back at camp. This time it was a snake, courtesy of the Hoedspruit Reptile centre*. An exciting, yet chilling experience awaited the students. 

*Note from the Bushwise team: this was when the students were visited by the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre for their reptile handling and orientation. No snakes and definitely no humans were harmed during this process!

After quite an eventful week, the boy rested to regain his energy. But he will continue to channel the king’s energy as inspiration as he hands over the title of camp manager to a new leader, ready to face their own fears!

This is all in a week’s work when you’re studying with Bushwise. Interested in having an amazing time while becoming a safari guide? Apply today!




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