We arrived at Borakalalo gate and waited for the rest of the team to arrive. We had to meet at 17:30 at the entrance as we had to drive together to our camping spot for the wilderness weekend, which was truly in the wilderness area. On arrival, we quickly setup our “camp” (not much to set up as we were sleeping under the stars) and then met at the fire to discuss the camp rules and then we had a braai for dinner. After dinner, our guest Owen Booysen from Chui Safaris gave us a brief overview of being a field guide. We also had a draw for guard duty and the rest of us went off to sleep under the stars.
On Saturday morning, we were up early and we then covered the role of early morning field guides, preparations before the trail, and the pre-trail briefing. We were divided into two groups with a leader and headed off on foot. During the walk, we each had an opportunity to practise leading a guided walk.
We had a very insightful day where we learnt about wasps laying their eggs and how trees react, we found quite a few Wildebeest and Steenbok middens. There were also tracks of Wildebeest, Zebra as well as Giraffes to pore over and identify. We also managed to find Hyena tracks in the afternoon which was very exciting.
The weather was outstanding. It was very hotso an afternoon siesta was very welcome.
On Saturday night, the “Feed the guests” competition was held. This was so much fun as each group successfully managed to feed the guests on time based on the list of ingredients that we had to use. Every team member was full of spirits and had a wonderful meal. We all retired to bed feeling quite exhausted, except, of course, for those who had to do guard duty.
On Sunday morning, Lampies walked around and woke all the team members up as we had an early start. Thank you Lampies, your “bird call” was a great add on. We sped off to do our 1.5-hour solitude before sunrise and to listen to the phenomenal nature sounds surrounding us. It was absolutely bliss to just be completely alone in nature and survey our surroundings whilst listening to each bird call. After this, we had a brief from Peter and Jeremy with regards to future options available to us. We then split into 2 teams again: Those that still wanted to track some more whilst the rest of the group went back to camp with Peter to relax. Once everybody was back, we had our debrief for the weekend and then we all packed up and headed home for a much-needed shower.
We want to thank our awesome Bushveld Mosaic team for their spirit in tackling every task and as Jeremy said, it was the first time in a couple of years that the full team was able to be present for this weekend. As always, a fantastic team with fantastic team spirit!
Report by Ingrid Kleynhans and photographs from our Bushveld Mosaic group
ED’s NOTE: Thanks to Ingrid and the team for this feedback, on what is always one of the more special weekends of the year. One where a number of students experience for the very first time the JOY of sleeping under the stars, and how fantastic they were this year.