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Experience is the best teacher of all

Marine Guide Magic Week 3

This is probably the last blog I will write today, as I have done all the courses Ulovane offers. So I might as well enjoy it! 

This marine guide course is a very special experience and quite different from the previous three courses (Field Guide, Trails Guide, and Bird Specialization). We are 5 students in a nice villa by the sea and situated right on the estuary in Kenton on Sea. The biodiversity here is quite different but just as magical, if not more so. The organisms, plants, animals, and landscapes are new and deserve special attention as the marine area is unknown to me. However, it is exciting and above all beautiful. I now understand that the ocean and all the different components that interact with it have a huge influence on what happens on land.

The climate, the geology, the type of plants, animals, everything is influenced by the incalculable force of the ocean. What a power! I am impressed, for example, by the force of the waves that crash on the rocks until they erode them. I could stay all day watching this. My goal is now clear: I want to add the title of Marine Guide to my list of skills, in order to potentially become a Free Lance Guide and travel with clients in South Africa to show them how beautiful nature is and how important it is to protect it and rewild it. 

To conclude this blog, I would like to thank the Ulovane team, who has been an exceptional help in my personal life and development. I cannot thank Schalk, Pieter, Candice, Jacques, Tatum, and all the other people and students I had the chance to meet enough. You have transformed me, my life, and my future. 

Thank you.

  • Nicolas

Everybody has a different journey. Everybody has a different path, and you don’t really know what to expect. All you know is to just keep plugging away, and you hope something will come through and something will happen. Grace Gealey

Apprentice Field Guides – Week 8

In the words of one of our fellow students and newfound friend Marcus “What can I say?”

Where does one even start trying to put 8 weeks of everything imaginable into a few words?

The past 8 weeks have been a rollercoaster of a journey. From arriving on day one and feeling lost in the hype of excitement of local and international students alike, to now having some knowledge and being able to assist others who themselves feel a bit lost with the workload or schedules or vehicles or whatever, has been such a wonderful experience in itself.

We have learned SO much about nature in 8 weeks, yet it feels like only a drop in the biospheric bucket of things we must still learn and get to know. Schalk, Piet, and Graeme have blown me away, firstly with their absolute bottomless pit of knowledge and information and secondly with the love, respect, and passion they have for this planet that we call home. It is mindboggling how they have been able to do this for so many years, because every few weeks, when a new group of students arrives, the same questions are asked over and over, yet they answer these questions passionately with a smile on their faces again and again! And of course, we all know that this amazing educational center would be nothing without the two ladies, Candice and Tatum, who run and manage this well-oiled learning machine, and ex-cop superchef Jacques who feeds everyone and everything that needs to be fed!

Every week comes with its own challenges, yet every week has had some amazing highlights that just remind me again why I am here, doing what I should have done 20 years ago!

One Friday morning we ended up being caught in the local morning mammal traffic and suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a herd of elephants. After a quick lesson and chat from Schalk, we just sat there listening to these big guys and girls, just eating, chewing, and tummies rumbling away, birds chirping and tweeting in the background. It was such a glorious morning of experiencing the sounds of the bush and just being one with nature, almost even forgetting that I was still sitting in the back of old faithful and much loved Sully the Land-cruiser, our game viewing vehicle.

On a more recent morning drive, we had the privilege of experiencing a little baby red hartebeest giving his first little wonky steps immediately after birth. As a Mom, this was a super special moment to me and on a day when my emotional battery needed some recharging, this was just the thing nature had in mind for me! It was awesome watching her lick and nudge and help the little guy to get up and then to stand on his own 4 feet. It definitely ranks up there as one of the most special moments of my life!

I must admit, coming into this as a 43-year-old “student” was a bit daunting, let alone the fact that I left my 12-year-old son to endure his dad’s homemaking skills for 10 weeks! But, he is still alive, thank goodness for that, and so am I, or at least last time I checked!

I have come to realize that age was the last thing to worry about on this course and that it really is just a silly number we use to count our earthling years. Do not let any fears hold you back from doing what you feel you should be doing and if that inner voice ever speaks to you, as it did to me, better you heed the call and answer! You won’t regret it!

Hakuna Matata!

  • Carine

“It’s never too late to change your life for the better. You don’t have to take huge steps to change your life. Making even the smallest changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your life.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart