Field Guide Level 1 Africa – Juliana
Juliana successfully passed our Field Guide Level 1 course amidst the wilderness of South Africa and Botswana. In her report she tells us about her wonderful time.
Field Guide Level 1 course in Africa – Juliana's experience
A dream comes true and begins with a real adventure:
Two months in the bush! Without electricity – but, in return, taking a shower in the open and sleeping in simple tents.
When our group met for the first time in the Emerald Guesthouse on the first evening, all of us were excited and happy! I knew right from the beginning: This group will be lots of fun and we will have an unforgettable time together!
The next morning, we were picked up early and taken out into the bush to our first camp: Pridelands. We were warmly welcomed by the instructors, backups AND the elephants.
In the afternoon we went on our first game drive! We saw a lot of animals right away – it was just incredible!
The first night in the bush was super exciting with all the unidentifiable sounds. But thanks to the clean air and an unbelievably starry sky I was able to sleep like a baby!
Within the next days we had to get used to the new daily rhythm, because, at sunrise, we were already sitting on the back of the Landrover or roaming the African bush by foot.
Bush walks and game drives took place in smaller groups with different instructors.
We already learned so much in the first days and had some exciting encounters with elephants.
After only one week we had to say goodbye to Pridelands and the elephants. But the anticipation of Karongwe prevailed.
In Karongwe, we had huge tents, the camp was super nice and you even had the possibility to sleep on a deck outside!
In the following days we had to take on the role of a guide more and more – we had to give briefings, check the vehicles, prepare coffee and drinks for the breaks, drive the vehicle in hilly terrain and, of course, guide. At the same time, we had to study the topics of the lectures, while having two activities per day. In the evening you are extremely tired – but will happily fall asleep thinking about all the new experiences.
After some time we got used to the procedures and structures, so we were not that tired anymore in the evening.
My personal highlight during our time in Karongwe was definitely the sleepout: Sleeping in the middle of nature, with all the wild animals around you, was just an incredible experience. We built our "camp" on a huge rock, collected wood for the campfire and just enjoyed the time. In groups of two people we were assigned a 1 ½ hour-night shift and were able to listen to the bush concert.
The night went by way too fast and after the sun had risen the next morning we had to leave this magical place.
But we didn’t need to wait long for the next highlight: The big mud fight at the waterhole – that was a lot of fun!!!
Each day had its highlights, because no day was like the other and every day had its own little and big adventures!
On the last evening in Karongwe we all sat together around the campfire and danced to African music!
Botswana welcomed us with an incredibly starry sky. I don't think I've ever seen so many stars and the Milky Way so clearly before!
Camp Mashatu was simply beautiful. It was more simple than Karongwe, but was directly situated on the banks of a dry riverbed. The best thing was: The volleyball court! Every day we played volleyball and even had two big volleyball matches!
The exams came closer and we spent a lot of time in the lecture room studying our books. We were all relieved when the theory test was over and everyone had passed. But – the practical exam was still ahead of us: three hours of guiding and hosting. I think all of us were incredibly nervous before our test...but after a few minutes we became more and more relaxed and started to enjoy our drive. When more and more people had passed, the nights at the campfire became longer and longer – also because we wanted to make use of the last time together.
Farewell and final thoughts
On the second last evening there was another sleepout waiting for us. So we spent the last hours together again: with campfire, bread and lots of stories.
Saying goodbye to all the others was more than difficult. It's unbelievable how much you grow together in such a short time and what great friendships you make!
Thanks to Natucate you could also enjoy every second, because everything was planned in advance and you could always contact Daniel if you had any problems or questions!
I will never forget the time in the bush and can only recommend it to anyone who has the chance: Do it!!
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