The best way to grow mentally and learn new things on your own as a person is to first get out of your comfort zone. It’s never easy though leaving everything you’re so used to and going out there because you never know what lies ahead but trust me it’s always worth it. Fortunately for me, It led me to a place of greatness where I was able to grow, discover & learn new things. Being part of the Ulovane Environmental Training Programme has given me a whole different perspective on life and nature. Honestly speaking I was a bit nervous at first coming here but there was always that small voice inside my head that always pushed and assured me that this is a stepping stone to reaching my destiny. The welcome I got when I first got here made me instantly feel at home, everyone was so nice, kind, friendly & very welcoming.
Some of the theoretical learning that I fell in love with was Arthropods, the little insects that we never pay attention to but play a very big role in our lives. We would go out there and look, learn, and identify them which always had my blood racing, I loved that to the point where Mr Schalk said that I Ironically had eyes on my fingers, that was because I’d be touching every little insect we come across and I became the guy who had eyes on his fingers. I loved the ‘Rhorhos’ what we locally call them. Getting to know about them was mind-blowing and so fascinating, gave a whole new perspective about them. Another thing was learning about the mammals the big animals which was one of the best modules ever to learn, getting to know more about animals, their habitats, feeding behavior, and their social life structure.
Mr Hine was the one conducting the lectures on animals, and he shared his very best knowledge and expertise about them. We even got to a point where we would demonstrate the animals. I was the Wildebeest and my fellow student was a Leopard, we were acting how the Lion hunts Its prey, and as I was there pretending to eat grass she slowly crept behind me without even me noticing as I was busy eating as I turned over she was already the and caught me as her prey, so If I was a Wildebeest I’d be dead out there. The Lions are just so amazing when they hunt. That was fun and educational at the same time.
As time progressed we went on mind-blowing adventures that no words can describe. On one adventure we were out there on a game drive with an American nature expert who was our assistant that day admiring Mother Nature, on our drive we encountered a herd of Cape Mountain Zebras that were having the time of their lives, roaming and playing around with a baby zebra in between them, that melted my heart. We got to see a huge herd of buffalo, which was amazing, they were all united and living in peace in their hierarchical order. That was fascinating to see and had me staring for a while, as we were still on the buffalo sighting admiring the beautiful creatures, they started sniffing and looking over us, we were so caught up in the moment admiring them, all along they were alerting us that there was something behind us ‘Nature is so amazing’, we looked back and saw the Big Gentle Giant ‘The Elephant’ walked so quietly without making a single sound. Imagine a giant walking towards you, gently without making a sound, isn’t that mind-blowing? Seeing an elephant that was close on my birthday was the best thing I could ever wish for, and we named the young big bull ‘Masi The Elephant’ was a blessing and so heart-warming.
The Elephant was the highlight of my birthday, as the drive progressed we got to spot the amazing White Rhinos peacefully enjoying their own company. Rhinos are also gentle giants that just need our care, love, and protection. We can all play our part by keeping them safe for future generations to come. On one of the days, we went to Amakhala Private Game Reserve, where we got to be with qualified Nature Guides, with real guests coming from all over the world to explore our fascinating wildlife. This was so amazing and made me fall in love with Guiding even more, learning new things about different people, different cultures, and most importantly my Passion which is Guiding. We were so lucky to get to encounter a Pride of Lion on a very close range, humble, walking close to the vehicle peacefully and the Dominant Male Lion came slowly very close to the vehicle, as I was sitting on the edge of the vehicle I got to make eye contact with a Lion for about a minute, that’s was heart racing I don’t want to lie but that was so amazing, the very best of the best moments I ever experience In my entire life which I’ll save to tell generations to come.
Embarking on an extraordinary venture, Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA) and Ulovane Environmental Training have forged an unparalleled collaboration. This visionary partnership seeks to transform the guiding landscape in the Eastern Cape. Within this groundbreaking initiative, aspiring guides are immersed in Ulovane’s renowned program, seamlessly integrated into WFA’s esteemed Umzi Wethu accredited vocational skills training.
Umzi Wethu, an accredited vocational training program, stands as a beacon for preparing youth for roles in the conservation and hospitality industries. Beyond providing accredited training to previously disadvantaged youth, it equips graduates with hands-on experience and resilience to excel in their respective fields. This pioneering initiative, made possible by the generous support and funding from Graham Beck Wines, CCFA, and various stakeholders, is set to redefine wilderness guiding in the region. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for their invaluable contributions!