The students on the latest FGASA level 1 course came from far and wild. South Africans, Germans, Belgians, Portugese and even Sri Lankans came together to share their thirst for knowledge and passion for the bush. The programme was as intense as ever and come the last 2 weeks of tests and the final assessment, stress levels were rising! I’m not going to lie to any prospective student on such a course, it’s not easy. It would be impossible for me to explain the sheer amount of knowledge that is expected of you in a relatively short space of time, but the bush gives back what you put in, and the more you learn, the more you begin to appreciate the myriad of subtle intricacies that often go overlooked on a day by day basis.
Students excelled themselves and enjoyed a host of sightings during assessment week including daily giraffe encounters and a few white rhino along the way. Markers were set with regard to interactivity on drives such as the tea made fresh from russet bushwillow (Combretum hereroense) seed pods, spinach from the leaves of the buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata) and even a necklace made from impala dung! Suffice to say that the students performed brilliantly across the board I am delighted to report that their high standards set in the theory aspects were upheld, with all passing their assessments with flying colours! I can honestly say that the standard was hugely high and as an instructor, it is so satisfying to see a group of strangers coming so far in such a short period of time. I joined EcoTraining to try and do my part to uphold the standards of the guiding industry and on the evidence of this group, the future of guiding in SA looks bright!