October 1, 2012


 "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." (E.B. White)

It is less than three months till Christmas, where did 2012 go??? Fear not however, as summer is already sizzling and the last stretch of the year is going to be hot! The call of the African wilderness is louder than ever and EcoTraining is ready with an array of courses to suit all preferences – from the more serious that wish to enter the guiding industry on a full time basis to discerning nature lovers. Have a look what is coming up, courses on offer, what we’ve been up to so far and other interesting snippets.

EcoTraining, in conjunction with Africa Geographic and Africa – Birds and Birding, announced the winner of the birding competition. Congratulations Lance van de Vyver! He and a partner will be shaking their feathers in the coming weeks when they will be scanning the skies of Makuleke in the northern Kruger National Park for a week. Enjoy!

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:

2 – 6 November: Wildlife Photography – Galago: Under the guidance of highly experienced photographers (EcoTraining’s own Lex Hes!), you will be given the time and opportunity to put into action the thought processes behind the making of good wildlife photographs.

13 – 25 November: Conservation and Research – Mashatu: If you want to join in an unrivalled adventure experience, then book a place on this course.  For 14 days you will roam this massive tract of land in the easternmost corner of Botswana, the ideal terrain to appreciate the wild. This course offers you the opportunity to join a dedicated research project in a new approach to game management.

23 November – 20 December: 28 day Safari Guide – Makuleke: 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!

26 November – 2 December: Tracking – Mashatu: To unravel the mysteries of nature even further, book a place on a unique seven day tracking course with EcoTraining and some of the most highly qualified trackers and trainers in South Africa. It is fun. It is hands on. It is life changing!

3 – 16 December: EcoQuest – Mashatu: Attend this course if you are a student testing the waters for a career in this field or if you are an adventurous spirit wanting to gain a greater understanding of nature and the environment whilst experiencing the excitement of the bush.

9 – 15 December: Birding – Karongwe: For all the birding enthusiasts, this is a very practical course, designed to broaden and enrich your knowledge and skills by educating you about the fascinating world of birds and the interdependent relationships between them and other life forms.

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: With a handful of wilderness camps throughout Southern Africa and students moving about all the time, Selati has been a bit quiet as of late. But just remember, the bush never sleeps, nature marches to its own rhythm, animals don’t read text books and so on and so on… With the next bunch of eager learners checking in soon, watch this space!

Karongwe: The camp ended September of on a spectacular note with the first entry in our “Priceless Moment of the Week” feature. Instructor JP le Roux sent through this exciting update via the bush telegraph:
“An early start to our afternoon’s training made us decide to explore a few new areas on the Karongwe Private Game Reserve. Our plan was set on visiting a granitic outcrop known as Leopard Cove.
We started heading further up the outcrop. As we approached the top, a coat of shadows became evident behind a small shrub. No more than eight metres away from us was a female leopard staring at us through the vegetation.
We started slowly backing off sideways, while I kept her in view by not making eye contact. She glanced back once more and then silently slipped away behind a rock.
Once we have gained enough personal space we returned to the vehicle and shared the excitement of such a special encounter. We then attempted to relocate her by obtaining a visual from the vehicle, unfortunately with no luck.”

Makuleke: Way up in the far north of the Kruger National Park lays an extra special piece of paradise. The Makuleke concession is a true wilderness area where one can truly emerge oneself in the natural habitat, and see and experience magical things, untouched and unspoilt by civilization. And our camp in this concession in the northern most part of the Kruger National Park is living up to its reputation as a true African wilderness with lots of exciting encounters.
So, sit back, feast your eyes and get a taste of life at Makuleke, courtesy of Candice Wagener, a one year professional field guide student, that recently spent a month of magic at Makuleke...

Mashatu (Botswana): Communication with our camp on the other side of the border is not always the easiest. Go to EcoTraining – Ecotourism specials on Facebook, like the page and you will see what’s been happening in the Land of Giants.

Lewa (Kenya): It’s the lure of Africa’s wild and wonderful places that draw scores of adventure seekers from all over the globe to come and experience the magic of this continent. And if you throw in some education at the same time, even better!
A group of international participants experienced exactly this when they recently participated in a 28 day field guide course in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Instructor Mark Gunn was delighted to report:
“The game seen and encountered in Lewa  kept the flag flying high. This was my third trip to the conservancy on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. And every time it has been a fantastic experience.
During the most recent one, we again had numerous encounters with the big and hairies. Two buffalo, two or three rhino encounters interspersed with lion and elephant on a single game walk, was not out of the ordinary. It would seem as if the game roosted in the numerous fever trees around the camp site for the night and then just dropped out in the morning as we walked past. 
The day trip to the Ngare Ndare forest was an absolute pleasure. The trees and scenery on the steep slopes was amazing. The road (if it can be called that) follows the contours and makes it way toward the raised canopy walk-way, 450 metres of cables stretching through the trees. And then a feast for the eyes as the Hartlaub’s turacos run and jump among the trees flashing their iridescent green and red plumage as they flit through the dappled light, wow, flying Christmas trees!
The company you keep sets your mood. The students were very friendly and got on well with each other despite their ages ranging from 18 to 66.
All that is left to say is “Asante sana Lewa!” (Thank you very much Lewa!)

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 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 to everybody who contributed with photos and information!)
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