April 2, 2012


“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” (Albert Einstein)

The leaves are beginning to change and we are heading towards the colder months of the year. This however doesn’t mean that the action is cooling down here at EcoTraining, instead, the pace is picking up and the coming months are packed with lots of exciting adventures! Have a look what is coming up, courses on offer, what we’ve been up to so far and other interesting snippets.

EcoTraining’s trails guide course is proving extremely popular and a place on this unique experience is highly sought after. But no need to panic! We have added an additional trails guide course due to the high demand. There will be eight additional spaces on the newly added course, starting on 10 November 2012 at our Mashatu wilderness camp in Botswana. Book now!

If you have the urge to make a break and head for the bush, get yourself a place on one of the following EcoTraining short courses on offer in the next couple of months. Come on, you won’t regret it:

14 – 20 April: Tracking – Selati:  To unravel the mysteries of nature even further, book a place on a unique seven day tracking course with EcoTraining and Adriaan Louw, one of the most highly qualified trackers and trainers in South Africa. It is fun. It is hands on. It is life changing!

18 – 22 April: Wildlife Photography – Galago: Under the guidance of Lex Hes, co-owner of EcoTraining, you will be given the time and opportunity to put into action the thought processes behind the making of good wildlife photographs.

8 May – 4 June: 28 Day Safari Guide – Karongwe: Imagine 28 days of living and learning in nature at our wilderness camps and then using this knowledge to give your safari and bush holidays a whole new meaning. Whether it is your dream or your passion, allow us to help you fulfil that dream!

3 – 30 Augustus: 28 Day Field Guide – Lewa, Kenya: Fancy venturing out a bit further north into the African wilderness? Then our 28 day field guide course in Kenya is right up your alley. Learn about nature and ecology from EcoTraining’s wilderness camp in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy where you will encounter the rare black rhino and Grevy’s zebra.

Camps: Every minute on one of our courses in our camps in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya is a learning experience, being constantly exposed to the bush. See what the guys and girls have been up to in the past month!

Selati: It was nature at its cruellest, but the action was exhilarating and nobody wanted to leave in the fear of missing a thing! Without even setting foot outside our wilderness camp in Selati, the group of FGASA Level One students were only metres away from witnessing a titanic struggle between life and death. The perpetrator – a female boom slang. The unfortunate victim – a dormouse.  But even though everyone was rooting for the ‘little guy’, the law of nature ruled as it was the fittest and strongest who survived. The female boom slang eventually got a proper hold on the dormouse and made her way up a tree, victim in mouth and with the guarantee of a wholesome meal to last her a couple of days. The memory of witnessing such a spectacular natural event is sure to last a lifetime for these lucky students!

Karongwe: The current group of students here are having a great time while obtaining interesting facts about nature. The past week it was time for some theory tests and subsequent practical assessments,  and all did really well!

Makuleke: If excitement was the name of the game, then the basic birding course at the beginning of the month at EcoTraining’s wilderness camp in the Makuleke concession in the north of the Kruger National Park, can justly be called that! The sightings list – lemon-breasted canary, barn swallows, grey-headed parrots, three-banded courser, Pel’s fishing owl (a 30 minute viewing ,perched in the open and fishing in the Luvuvhu River!), racket-tail rollers, gorgeous bush-shrike, to name but a few.  Throw in a big herd of buffalo, a majestic bull elephant with a pair of formidable tusks, a feud between a lone lioness and some menacing hyenas, and it makes for one awesome adventure.

All in all, it was a spectacular week of birding with the added bonus of some high quality big game viewing – Makuleke at its finest indeed!

Mashatu (Botswana): EcoTraining’s wilderness camp in Botswana truly embodies all that defines Africa. This land of giants offers vast open spaces, making it almost impossible to take it all in, with an array of wildlife from the miniscule to the gigantic. Philip Clay, a student on the one year professional field guide course, described an unexpected adventure:
“…As we were watching the elephants, somebody else heard branches breaking to our left. More elephants came walking through the dense bush, and then a wonderful sight, a lioness with three very adorable little cubs. The elephants however didn't like the lions in their presences and chased the mother and cubs with a fair bit of trumpeting…
But then it got even better! The three cubs and their mother came walking past and joined another lioness that was staring right at us, the lioness was ready to charge at any moment, not used to seeing game viewing vehicles. Fortunately she relaxed. Both lionesses sat with the three cute cubs which were on the bank near the river. We just sat and watched these majestic animals for a while, appreciating their natural beauty.

I will never forget this amazing sighting of the two lionesses and the three cubs on a very hot day in Africa. Indeed, what a great day in the ‘office’, the wilderness of Botswana. “

Office: Most of you would have had some contact with the team from the head office in Nelspruit, obtaining information on the course you want to attend, are currently on or have just finished!
Angela handles sales and enquiries and Maritza the administration.  
Marxanne deals with operations and logistics, Eugene is her right hand man.
Corne heads up marketing, Liryn is assisting with social media and the likes.
Anton and Lex are the owners of EcoTraining.

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. We want to hear from you, email liryndej@hotmail.com with your stories!

Go and like our new official fan page on Facebook at EcoTraining – Ecotourism specials.
Also visit us on www.ecotraining.co.za and if you have any questions or queries, send an email to enquiries@ecotraining.co.za.

(Thank you Brian, Chris, Marco and Philip for the photos!)
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