October 18, 2011

"When we say meet you in the bush we really mean it"


By Lex Hes

I am lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world: guiding overseas visitors to remote wilderness areas in Africa.

On one of my recent trips to Zambia I visited Kafue National Park where we stayed on the remote Busanga Plains, one of the places in Africa for seeing the greatest variety of African antelopes: bushbuck, sitatunga, greater kudu, eland, common duiker, blue duiker, yellowbacked duiker, oribi, common reedbuck, puku, lechwe, defassa waterbuck, impala, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, blue wildebeest, roan and sable antelope all occur here.

Part of our trip was a balloon trip over the plains which ended with a short drive to a grove of trees in the middle of the plains.  As we approached the trees a young man came walking out carrying a tray.  As we drew up I realised that the tray had a pile of damp face-clothes for us to refresh ourselves and that the man holding the tray was none other than Carl Diakite, an EcoTraining graduate who has just completed his one-year course!

He greeted us all enthusiastically and led us into the grove of trees where a wonderful full English breakfast was served to us at beautifully-set tables in the shade of a grove of large Sycamore fig trees (Ficus sycamorus).  Carl, born in Cote de Ivoire, hosted us magnificently and in conversation over a cup of coffee after breakfast he told us that, after completing his course, he had been spending time in camps in the South Luangwa and at Kafue, where he had worked hard to understand what it takes to operate and guide in camps in such remote areas.

He has done so well that Wilderness Safaris, the top southern African tour operator, has offered him a chance to go to Congo Brazzaville in central Africa to help them set up and start operating their new camp in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.  Here he’ll be exposed to a whole new array of wildlife including lowland gorillas, bongos, forest buffalo, forest elephants and red river hogs as well as over 440 species of birds including African grey parrots, blue-throated roller, Cassin’s malimbe and Congo serpent-eagle!

This is the most rewarding part of what EcoTraining does.  There is nothing better than arriving at remote wilderness areas and being met by graduates from our courses who guide and host us in such a professional manner.

Well-done Carl and we look forward to hearing all about Odzala-Kokoua in the near future.

For more information on the one year professional course at EcoTraining contact us at enquiries@ecotraining.co.za or visit our website at www.ecotraining.co.za
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