News update September 2013 | Antares
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News update September 2013

September course was a huge gamble for us. We had 2 firm bookings and the potential of 2 more. Alicia needed to confirm her flights and so I took the decision to run with the course. As fate would have it the other 2 bookings never materilaised and so we ran the course with just 2 students. There was huge risk with this as you never know how the 2 students will get on. There was also the need now to modify the daily schedules to cater for their presentations and everything else as well including catering responsibilities.
Thankfully both Alicia and Luke responded like absolute stars and they put their heart and souls into ensuring the course was a huge success. This was the perfect opportunity too to try out a new system whereby we combine the training with conducting drives and walks for the local lodges on the reserve. It worked really well and on this course both Luke and Alicia benefited hugely from being able to gain a lot of experience with real guests prior to the final FGASA practical assessment. They both passed the course and their FGASA qualification. Luke has gone on to guide and Alicia has recently just completed a 4-month stint doing volunteer work in KZN.
The course threw up some magnificent memories once again. Instead of the sleep out which wouldn’t have been safe to do with just 3 of us, we headed into Kruger and spent 3 nights camping at Tsendze rustic bush camp. We saw lots of different species and even a honey badger running along the fence one night. We also had a close encounter with a juvenile Boomslang in a hole in a tree at the Tropic of Capricorn get-out-point.
Once again the students were lucky enough to be involved in working with a local vet during a routine check-up on the male rhino that had been injured earlier in the year. They were also involved in helping with the annual Pel’s fishing owl survey along the Olifants river, although sadly we didn’t get to see any on that day.
There were several sightings of lion and elephant and buffalo throughout the course and on at least 2 occasions we walked into one of the rhinos at close quarters.
Luke and I were also extremely lucky on the last weekend to sit outside after the end of the exam at about 5pm and watch a lioness chase a waterbuck right past us. She never managed to make the kill but we did enjoy a sighting of 3 lionesses as it turned out. It was a timely reminder that you never know what is lurking in the bushes right there out of sight.

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