Bush Star

It’s unusual for a student to know more than their instructor. But when it comes to astronomy, Elizabeth Fairall is an understated surprise package. She has an honours degree from the University of Cape Town in Astrophysics and Physics and decided to take a gap year before embarking on her Master’s degree next year.

“The bush is where I am happiest and love to be,” says Elizabeth. “Working in a lab indoors, I felt I was losing myself. So I considered a two-month EcoTraining course but instead signed up for the year course as I wanted to do things properly.” So far, the course is “way better than I expected, and I love it. I love the balance of learning and practical application and the high quality of instructors. It’s all quality experiences out there that cement the theory learnt.”

Elizabeth Fairall is happiest in the bush – Photograph © Vinicio Herrera

Elizabeth has a particular affinity for elephants, and at Pridelands, she sees plenty.

“I have always found elephants incredible to watch, and I am intrigued by their intelligence and family dynamics.”

Virtually daily, elephant herds come to drink at the water hole alongside the camp, and it’s not uncommon for individuals to walk through the camp either. So Elizabeth is delighted to be here.

Just how was Elizabeth’s knowledge of astronomy uncovered? “On a game drive,” she says on the go when asked to point to stars as the instructor spoke. He was surprised when he noticed she knew all the constellations before he finished explaining. He asked Elizabeth to step in, and she’s since given additional talks to students.

“I never realised the impact stars have on people,”

She says modestly, though she plans to do her Master’s degree in Medical Physics, which she feels would be more helpful to people.

Photograph © Vinicio Herrera

Until then, Elizabeth is soaking up the bush learning experience.

“I hoped that doing this course would get the bush out of my system,”

she adds,

“but I am not convinced it will. I was also quite nervous about coming into a group of unknown students for a year, but it has been excellent. Everyone gets on so well, even though we are all from different countries and backgrounds. It’s amazing.”

Elizabeth in Pridelands watching elephants in the camp – Photograph © Christoff Els

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About the Author: 

Keri Harvey is a Travel Writer and Photographer.

For Keri, travel is life, like breathing. She is a modern-day nomad from her home in the Cape to Cairo, Abidjan to Zanzibar, into the Middle East, Europe and Asia. With about 50 countries visited date, her stories are told on blogs and websites and in over 3 000 magazine feature articles spanning over 20 years.

Previously an award-winning editor on various South African lifestyle, travel and wildlife publications, Keri has worked freelance since 2001 and published articles in over 100 magazine titles. Every day, Keri wakes up to write or to travel, and her greatest wish is to inspire people through her stories to pack their bags and allow the travel bug to bite.

About the Author:
Picture of Keri Harvey

Keri Harvey

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