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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Wildlife Adventures and Leadership Lessons

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Read time: 3 mins

This blog was written by Goodwill Manzini, Bushwise Professional Field Guide student, during their week as camp manager.

A little about me 

My name is Goodwill. I come from Cottondale Village near Andover Nature Reserve. My passion for wildlife started at a young age because my childhood was surrounded by natural environments.

When I was growing up, you would always find me in front of TV watching wildlife documentaries, trying to educate myself about organisms, weather and landscape and on how they are working together to form the bubble of life. 

I believe that as a field guide you need to be knowledgeable about ecosystems so that you can instil an appreciation of nature into your guests and try to get them to be as passionate as I am about nature. I also plan to take all the knowledge that I’m learning from SAWC and Bushwise and pour it back into my community. 

First camp manager of the course

At the start of the week, I was assigned the duty of camp manager. Everything was still new to us, and we were so full of nerves and doubts. Being the first student camp manager of the course made me feel so special and honoured. By the end of the week, I had learnt a lot and improved my managing skills. 

At the end of every night Delight – who is the chef for the Bushwise students – and I made sure the fire was put out safely. This is something people don’t often think about, and they often just walk off without checking if anyone will take care of the fire. 

Elephant in the bush near a dam

Game drive encounters

On Monday, we went on two game drives where we had some great sightings of three elephant bulls (Loxodonta Africana) feeding. We also saw some hippopotami, who went from the land to the water and one of them went up every couple of seconds. I think this was to check what we were up to and to keep his or her partner safe. We were able to enjoy this a lot because we used this area for our coffee break. 

During our second week, we had the opportunity to visit the famous Hoedspruit Reptile Centre. We were lucky enough to witness a black mamba feeding. 

We also got a chance to talk about traditional beliefs and medicinal uses of plants when we came across an interesting marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea). We talked about how tribes like the Tsonga people use this tree to communicate with their ancestors, and how every part of the tree has a use. For example: 

  1. The bark is used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery.

  2. The fruits are used to make a jam.

  3. The skin of the fruits can be used as a replacement for coffee.

  4. The nuts are used to make cosmetic products.

  5. The Venda nation uses the tree to identify a baby’s gender.

Lessons from being camp manager

I have really learnt a lot from being camp manager and how to guide people. Normally I am a dominant person, but I have never really had to lead any group in a big way. Even though this task did not really require me to lead or guide people too much, it still gave me a taste of how it feels and should be done. After experiencing what I have in these last two weeks, I now am even more excited to reach my dream of becoming a field guide.

Embark on your own journey of discovery with Bushwise Field Guides. Uncover the wilderness, build leadership skills and nurture a passion for nature. 




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