The final assessments

23rd February 2014

Thursday 30th January 2014

Today was incredibly hot. This was good from a navigation point of view but it left me beat by the end of the day and I’m really suffering now. I left my hat in the Landy and didn’t want to use my spare in case a ‘guest needed it’.

I was lead and Ben was my ‘”Back up rifle” for the Trails Guide practical assessment. I took our group of four plus two heavily armed guests (Bruce and Korbus) up to Palm Springs on the Sand Veld.

The walk went well although we had no encounters other than with a baby puff adder. I blotted my copy book when I had to back track after taking the group over a ridge into some thick bush. There was no way I was going any further at this point especially as I had the accessors wife as one of my clients.

Apparently I missed an oxpecker call which is not good as they’re good indicators of buffalo. I’m also eternally grateful to Ben for pointing me in the right direction of the Landy when I was about to march the group the opposite way as our walk was coming to an end.

As soon as we got back to camp we had a quick breakfast and then it was up to the vulture/anthrax project. We helped set up the frame of the cage that’s going to be used to catch them, they’ll then be tagged for tracking via GPS. The location was strewn with carcasses and the “fresh” meat we left there was rancid.

The actual cage/trap resembles a cricket net, the photo below could easily be passed off for netting Kruger style.

Ben led the walk in the afternoon and I was his “Back up rifle”, we went up to the Sand Veld again but walked a different area. I was feeling some confidence (but quite sick with the sun) and thought that as long as I don’t miss any oxpeckers, walk up an elephant’s bottom, miss any important tracks or shoot anything I should be fine and signed off with my “Back up rifle” qualification.

The walk went well but very close to the end the assessor decided not walk on when the rest of us did. This happened twice, the first time we were tipped off and the second time we hadn’t got far, maybe 15 feet before we noticed as part of our regular checks of our clients. Quite a big balls up.

I’m not sure if this constitutes a fail, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow when we each have our debrief with the accessor. We received our theory results this evening, I got a very good pass in both sections so my qualification all hangs on tomorrows meeting.