News update January 2014 | Antares
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News update January 2014

2014 started really well with a course of 7 students. This was going to be a very different course to the previous one where we only had the 2 students.
The experience of the learners varied hugely. There was Jason who had virtually no prior experience in the bush to James who had 6 years previous experience working in lodges but needed to formalise his qualification. It made teaching a bit more challenging but everyone put in a great deal of effort and at the end of the day we had 7 out of 7 pass their FGASA exams. Unfortunately PJ and Jason didn’t quite make the Antares grade but they managed to study hard in the final 2 weeks and increase their marks sufficiently to get to the required and all important 75%. Once again this is testiment to the success of our system where the students can see how they are progressing throughout the course and make changes where required to before going on to write their final exam.
Although the lions did their very best to avoid us the whole course there was no shortage of elephant sightings. This started off on the very first walk where we got surrounded by a large breeding herd and a few bulls. It was only on our return to camp that Lauren reminded me that she was extremely nervous around elephants. I was glad the reminder came back at camp and not when the one bull was a mere 20 m from us! By the end of the course Lauren was well on her way to overcoming that nervousness around these magnificent animals and in fact on one of her drives she needed to stay calm as one bull walked to within a few meters of the vehicle.
PJ and James seemed to be really unlucky when it came to seeing rhinos. For some reason they were never on any of the drives when we found them. However by the end of the course we had managed to change that and they did eventually get to see their animal.
Once again the first course of the year experienced some major floods. 2014 was not going to be outdone and we had close on 300mm of rain in 2-3 days at the start of March. The normally dry riverbed came down in a flash flood once again and threatened to cut us off from the rest of the world but thankfully it subsided again fairly quickly as it turned out the source of the flood was a breached dam on the neighbouring property. Mel and the kids again just missed being washed downriver in the flood by about 10 minutes. Thankfully no harm done and they got to school OK.
Once again we were able to give the learners some experience of working with real guests during their training period and this system is here to stay now. However with so many students on the course not everyone had as much exposure as each other but it worked well enough.
I was proud of all these students as they put in a great deal of effort into the course and it became a huge success once again.

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