Kally Ubisi Part 2.
Kally spent the period 1994 to 1997 at Kingfisherspruit. He was then transferred to Malelane where he started doing Wilderness Trails – the Bushman’s and the Wolhuter, with Jan Erasmus and Frans du Toit and Piet Scott they swapped around and he really enjoyed this life. Kally was here until 2003 when he was transferred to the Sweni Wilderness Trail.
While at Sweni he together with thirteen other Rangers were employed by “The Wilderness Company” a Private Company owned by Jaco Badenhorst, Jan Erasmus, Nick Squires, Barry Hopgood and Gideon Serfontein – all ex National Parks Board Rangers, who hired out field staff to SANPARKS as required. Here they gained valuable experience of the different areas and different jobs; they met many different people and improved their people’s skills.
It was great doing the Wolhuter, Bushman, Olifants, Sweni, Metsi-Metsi, Napi and Nyalaland Wilderness Trails but soon he realized that doing this he would never be able to make a Trail his own.
Fortunately it was decided in 2007, that the staffing of the Wilderness Trails should be done by SANPARKS personnel, outsourcing was not such a great idea as originally anticipated; they were again back in SANPARKS employ.
Kally was posted to the Napi Wilderness Trail; here it is closer to where his wife and two children; the twelve year old daughter Cathleen Rivonia doing grade six and his six year old son Kaylin Reeve now in grade one, live at his home at Bushbuck Ridge, Lilliydale. His parents also still live at Lilliydale.
He loves the area of the Napi, with its topography and its animals and its plants. Kally’s special interest is Botany; many of his friends call him the Flower Fundi, unfortunately few people on the Trails are really interested in flowers but when he finds some, he is very eager to share his love for the white and blue and yellow and red and pink and orange jewels, decorating the Lowveld bush, with all its insects and other interesting creepy crawlies.
Kally mentioned that approximately 80% of the plants in the KRUGER PARK still do not have common names, like Lions eyes or Cat eyes or whatever.
Kally did part time education at the Pretoria Technikon during the period 2000 to 2002.
The Area Ranger at SKUKUZA discussed with the KRUGER Management the possibility of the courses being presented at SKUKUZA, it was agreed that it would be more practical, the Technikon agreed and At Botha the HOD or a lecturer came to SKUKUZA where he lectured them for a day and a half and allocated the assignments, it was then six weeks of hard graft before the next visit, where they did exams and were evaluated.
While studying they visited many different Institutions, during the first year they attended the Potchefstroom University for CHE where they studied Soil Science and Geology, during the second year they went to the St. Lucia area where they studied Mongoose and Beach Insects to broaden their knowledge.
Kally says he still has twenty five years which he intends spending very productively in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. His dream for himself is to one day become an Area Ranger where he can teach and train others about the bush, maybe one day there could be a school where special education could be given to people from the towns and rural areas.
He says that for every child educated into loving nature affects at least three others when they return home to their parents.
Kally says that the My Acre of Africa seems to be reasonably successful in doing the education of the children, who normally come in for a day.
Other children come in and stay at SKUKUZA from the School Journey Services where the Socio Ecology Services make the arrangements and do the education, the children go on drives where they learn and enjoy.
On my question about what more can be done to make Black People more nature conservation minded, he replied that they seek to be made part of it, as for many years there were two groups: the Nature Conservators – and the people; who did not feel part of it.
The People must be taught and educated about what is so special about nature, it will take many years but eventually most will be converted, unfortunately there still are many in the Villages that are not interested in Nature, and to them it means nothing, whether they will ever be converted, he does not know.
Unfortunately many people in the rural areas still have the impression that the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK is only for the rich; education is what is required to change their thinking.
It was indeed enriching to spend three days with this remarkable man who has a passion, just as much or maybe even more than we.
My wish to Kally is that his dreams come true; his surname “UBISI” is shared with many of the Field Rangers and Game Guards of yesteryear, no wonder he loves the place – it must be in the genes.
Should you ever have the privilege of meeting Kally Ubisi, stop and have a chat, or should you really feel the need to have a bush experience, make a reservation for the Napi Wilderness Trail and also spend three days with a man who really cares.
Kally Ubisi on the right.