Share this blog with someone

Final Farewell from the April 2021 Apprentice Trails Guides

We’re huddled by the fire at bush braai (with Matthijs and Leon snoring next to us) and it’s 5.30 am, looking back on the last 7 weeks reminiscing, smiling, and thinking about all the amazing things we have experienced and achieved.
It all started as 5 international strangers with a love for the great outdoors and ended as an awesome little family, memories made and experiences shared that will last forever.
From day one we were thrown into the bush, walking and exploring the big and small things nature has to offer, and that didn’t stop throughout the whole course. Each day we found new things and no day was ever the same, from spending time with the elephant herd to finding an unidentified fungus (until yesterday…bird’s nest fungus!).
After completing our field guide courses, we all agree that trails gives you an even bigger appreciation for nature and the wildlife within. It’s a humbling feeling entering the wild homes of these animals, being able to observe their behavior, mood and gain an understanding of the part each species plays in the circle of life. It builds respect for each and every living being and puts things into perspective that we need to be mindful of our actions and strive to conserve these ecosystems and natural environments.

Tracking is a big part of the trails course and we both agree that it was one of our favourite.
When you “stop looking, start observing” (- Piet Dunn), the smallest signs become part of the bigger picture and start to make sense. Being able to track a big elephant or a tiny grasshopper still builds the same excitement within, even when you don’t end up finding the culprit. The way the training is done, you learn so many tips and tricks in such a short time that improve your tracking skills and fuel the library in your brain. So proud of our group for absolutely smashing the tracking assessment!!
To round off our time at Ulovane we embarked on a 4 day sleep out at Bush Braai, bringing the field guides, us trails guides, and the Ulovane team together. There’s been storytelling around the fire, afternoon tennis, mountains of yummy food, heaps of laughter, and of course our final assessment walks. Last night, we all shared our thoughts from the last few days and agreed that nothing compares to spending time in the bush. Thanks to the team for making our last week together one to remember.
Being surrounded by like-minded people and mentors like Piet and Schalk, you become inspired to make work of following your dreams. For us, it’s definitely been a journey of personal growth. The training and skills you gain pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you positive little nudges into trusting yourself more, having confidence and determination to achieve your goals.
If you’re willing to absorb all the lessons, experiences and take in all the information on offer, this is so much more than just a trails guide course.

  • Maddie & Simone

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living. David Attenborough