Good News and Goodbyes

24 May 2015

Well, I’ll start with the news about my Nature Guide exam!

I passed my practical!

It was actually an incredible drive, down more to luck than anything else. As soon as I entered the reserve, I found a pack of six lions hunting. I followed them all the way to the watering hole of Kwantu’s only hippo, who we could see peeking out the water. “He’s fine” I thought “He can see the lions. He won’t put himself in any sort of danger.”

Then, to my amazement, the hippo got out the water, marched right up to the lions and chased them all away with their tails between their legs! I mean, I knew hippos were territorial but… Wow! It gave me plenty to talk about!

Next we saw some rhinos, but didn’t stick around for long as the examiner was keen to see me do some tracking…

We finally found some droppings which I stopped to take a look at and, just my luck, I’d never seen such a type before! I used my guiding and tracking tools (in other words, a book about poo) and although it took some time and very careful examination I finally (and correctly!) identified them as Eland!

It wrapped up with a beautiful view in the valleys and a few teas and coffees!

That afternoon was my practical exam which, if I’m honest, I felt less than prepared for… I’ll find out the results in a couple of weeks but to be honest, I feel more than satisfied following that practical!

After the exam, Densely took us students on one last unforgettable Game Drive

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Before dropping us off at dinner, where they recognised me on the Kwantu register by my recent CORRECT title!

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Thank god I did that “practise pack” on Sunday though, because after an early morning three hour drive and the adrenaline of a two hour written exam I was ready to drop, and frankly good for nothing. So the next morning, I got up a little earlier to pack my bags and say my goodbyes to the Kwantu staff that had really made my time there as enjoyable as could be!

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Time to say goodbye…

28 March 2015

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Since say farewell to my fellow tourists and volunteers on Thursday, I must confess to having lived in luxury since at The Coconut Creek hotel in the Bogmolor region of Goa. Here, I have indulged in pork chops, and massage, a bubble bath and even a pedicure!! I am human again, and ready to take on my next stop… South Africa!

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India really has been a fascinating place. I would definitely like to return here again soon, ideally with people who have never experienced this country, so I can have the opportunity to introduce someone to all the sites and flavours I’ve experienced this last month!

Here’s a brief piece of advice I can pass on following my experience.

1. Don’t ask questions. Just accept that you’ll never know exactly what’s going on, but you’ll always have a rough idea.

2. Every post office has a different rule. There’s a complete lack of consistency here! My favourite by far has to be the Goan post office that insisted my packages my be wrapped in white cloth, and sent me to his friend the tailor just a few doors down… In no way a coincidence, I’m sure. But it was an additional cost of R150 (about £1.50) and I must admit, they looked rather charming sewn perfectly into white cloth, so… Just go with it!

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3. If you are in Delhi, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE SHOP IN A STORE CALLED THE DELHI HUT. They will go out of their way to rip you off. They charge R2500 minimum from a saari (you can get this easily for R300) and will even go as far as to misquote you, then stick another zero on the end when swiping your card. Con artists, the lot of them!

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DO NOT GO HERE!

4. Always ask questions, particularly to locals where possible. You’d be amazed what you can learn!

5. Use your head. Don’t be stupid.

Namaste, India!

See you soon!

xx