We had 4 students on the course, 3 of them local and 1 French lady. All 4 of them passed the Antares course and went on to write the FGASA exams. At the time of writing we are still waiting for their FGASA results. The one local was sponsored on the course and did very well indeed which I found very rewarding as often my experience has shown that the amount of effort put into a course if you are not paying your own way is far less, however on this occasion it was rewarded with a positive result and I wish Sinhle all the best in his pursuit of a guiding career.
Sadly the French lady had to return to France for a week during the course to attend a family funeral which meant she had to miss out on some important lectures but she recovered the lost time and managed to put in the extra study time required. Craig also was informed during the final week that he needed to fly to Dubai on the Friday morning to start work and so everything was shifted forward a day early and the course for once finished on the Thursday instead.
Although we had several sightings of elephants and other game at the waterhole , encounters on foot were few and far between- the highlight being an opportunity to watch a herd of 50 plus buffalo on foot. Towards the end of the course we saw many baby Waterbuck and a few kudu babies moving around. It seems as though they have had a good breeding season. On a couple of occasions we found lion spoor close to the entrance gate and in fact on one morning we realised that during the night the lions had walked straight past the swimming pool and headed down to the waterhole for a quick drink before moving on. This made the students realise that even though we have an electric fence around the buildings to keep the elephants out of camp, it doesn’t stop the smaller animals from passing through. Other interesting game seen at night were regular sightings of porcupine, civet and genets.
The rains this year have been really strange and it seems as though throughout the summer we have had a few days of really good rains followed by several weeks of hot dry weather. The rains came again in the last week of the course (that made doing assessments a bit more interesting) and as it turns out even though we were only 7 days into April it was already the wettest April since I started keeping records. The bush was looking really dead and not a good prospect for the coming winter. However that has all changed now and the bush is once again a lush verdant colour and the grass has recovered well enough for me to feel a lot more comfortable heading into winter. The bush myths say though that late rains will mean a cold winter so we will have to wait and see. However that too is a good thing in this environment as it means many parasites and other nasties will die off.
We have a 3 week break now before the next group of students arrives but there is still space available if you are keen to join us.