This course was well attended with a mix of students from across the globe and of mixed gender.
The course went well with all 7 students passing their FGASA theory exam in the end although one of them didn’t make the grade in the practical component. 5 of the 7 passed the Antares course requirements, this again proves that even if you don’t make the grade at Antares you may still go on and pass the National exam which is more important in that it is that qualification that is required to be able to register to guide legally in the country.
The students enjoyed a wide variety of sightings throughout the course, although the large herd of buffalo moved off the reserve fairly early on in the course and we only saw the odd buffalo after that. The elephants were making themselves well known on the reserve and there were many memorable sightings of a large breeding herd that varied in number between 15 and 60 on occasions. The students enjoyed a fantastic lion sighting or two as well and there were many evenings spent trying to determine what the dynamics of the reserve population was doing.
It appeared as though 2 young males were trying to displace the dominant male but then the single male seemed to come back again and usurp the young pretenders. Time will tell as to who will reign supreme in the end.
The birders in the group had a great course too, in that a number of new birds were added to the reserve list, of note was a lesser moorhen.
The students were especially lucky when they were invited to be part of an operation to determine the cause of injury to a rhino on a nearby reserve. Although no visible injury could be determined and the cause of the limping was put down to possible nerve damage after a poachers bullet we can be relieved under the current climate of poaching in the country that the rhino is still alive.
One of the students was besotted with wanting to see some wild dogs but this was not to be although as luck would have it 2 days before the end of the course there was a report of a small pack of dogs seen by one of the other owners on the opposite bank of the river. Maybe another day Iddy!
The students were also treated to a full days walk in the Kruger National Park at very competitive rates. Although not much game was seen we did get to see some ground hornbills and just enjoy the experience of walking in one of the last great wilderness areas of the world.