March 1, 2012

MEET YOU IN THE BUSH: MICHAEL CLARK




For almost two decades now EcoTraining has been training field guides, starting way back in 1993 with the first batch of eager students attending the inaugural course in the Sabi Sands reserve in Mpumalanga. Since then a great number has gone on to make their mark in the industry and are continuing to do great work all over the world.

Anton Lategan, co-owner of EcoTraining, recently met up with Michael Clark, in the Himalayas of all places. Certainly very far away from the sunny South African bushveld, but having trained with the company 10 years ago, it was nonetheless a pleasant reunion.

Michael, who hopes to come back to South Africa later in the year to do trails guide and tracking courses, remembers his time at EcoTraining:

“It’s hard to imagine that it is now 10 years since embarking on a career in ecotourism and wildlife conservation; all of what has happened in that 10 years would not have been possible were it not for the training I received at EcoTraining.

I had no previous experience when arriving in South Africa in April of 2002, and although the television series made about them gave an insight into what EcoTraining offered, I did not really know what to expect.

The level of training offered at EcoTraining is second to none; one only has to ask around safari companies in Southern Africa to find out just how highly they are regarded. The variety of subjects that is taught on their courses is incredibly diverse and comprehensive, and the practical element provides you with experiences that are hard to put into words. I was certainly able to go straight into safari guide work straight after the course with a relatively smooth transition considering my previous way of life.

Since that course I have gone onto work in Namibia for 6 years, as a guide, tour guide and guide trainer; and after an unproductive spell back in the UK now find myself back doing what gives me the most satisfaction.

Currently I am in Nepal, training up young Nepali naturalists, and planning my own naturalist training academy for this country, basing it very much on EcoTraining’s style of training. A Tiger monitoring project in the near future awaits, as well as spending more time with an eco club run by local teenage children.

I cannot express enough how much I would recommend EcoTraining. Anyone who is serious about a career in ecotourism or simply wants a sabbatical from work, the experiences you can have on their courses can lead to a whole new way of life, and provide you with memories to truly cherish.”

If you have a story to tell about your time with EcoTraining and what you have been up to since, inbox us on Facebook at EcoTraining - Africa's wilderness calls you or send an email to liryndej@hotmail.com. Looking forward to hear from you!
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