When I sent word to Katryn that I would be glad to accept her invitation to visit her and Nelri in South Africa, she told me that her daughter (Nelri) was going to start a field guide or nature guide course in a short time. She asked me if I wanted to join and after some considerations (course contents, price, etc.) I accepted. Finally Katryn joined in the fun, so we're now all doing it.
|Learning to handle a 4x4 in deep sand
Marius told us quite a few times that South Africa got a lot more diversity in flora and fauna than most other countries. We have to know 12 trees by name and latin name and know their traditional use and medicinal use, then about 50 trees by name. Bu there are a lot more trees than that. Those are just the most common ones. And that's just for the trees... imagine, we have 16 subjects:
- Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
- Creating a guided nature experience
- Weather and Climate
- Basic Ecology
- Basic Taxonomy
- Introduction to the Biomes of Southern Africa
- Botany and Grasse
- Conservation management and historical human habitation
Then we went out to ThornyBush private game reserve (you've probably already seen the pictures on picasa) and did 2 game drives a day, one around 6.30 in the morning and one starting around 3 or 4 in the afternoon until around 7. We saw all the big 5 (black rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard and cheetah) and many more animals. It is different than in Kruger Park or any national park insofar as the owners define their rules. One is that you can drive off-roads into the bush to get closer to the animals, which brought us to some really amazing encounters with elephants, lions, rhinos, cheetahs and leopard.
During the 3 days I got discouraged again by the huge amount of things to learn and know well. Things which might be easy enough to learn if you've grown up in this environment and spent a lot of time outdoors. But not for a Swiss guy wanting to discover new things for fun. So I told Marius, that if possible I wanted to cancel the exam. So now I'm really doing it for the fun of it.
|Fly-in breakfast in Hippo Pool
I was getting bored of sitting around on the game farm, even though taking a walk a watch zebras, impalas, girafes, kudus, and so on is quite cool. It's getting boring when it's the only activity of the day. So I decided to leave soon. It coincided well with the arrival of Katryn's aunt who's visiting her until she was to leave back to UK a month later. The study books had still not arrived, and Marius seemed to be preoccupied by other matters as he didn't respond to Katryn too much. This is how I decided to leave rapidly.
My next travels took me back to Johannesburg and from there I would be bound northwards, probably to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and so on.