With the Smoke that Thunders as the backdrop, you couldn’t ask for a better classroom setting for digesting all that nature has to offer during this EcoTraining 55 Day Field Guide Level 1 course in a brand new location.
The first course will run from 17 February to 12 April 2014 at the Nakavango Conservation Centre in the 2500 hectare (6000 acre) Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve in Zimbabwe. Just ten kilometres away are the Victoria Falls – one of the seven natural wonders of the world!
There is a great diversity of wildlife on the reserve, from invertebrates, frogs and reptiles to birds and mammals. Mammals are abundant - from small gerbils and other rodents, several species of smaller carnivores, as a well as antelope, right through to the large predators (lion, leopard, cheetah), the black rhino and the African elephant. The bird species in the region include “specials” such as the broad-billed roller, western-banded snake-eagle, schalow’s turaco, narina trogon and taita falcon.
This course is for you – whether you intend becoming a field guide (it is FGASA accredited) or purely has a deep and innate love for the bush. Every minute of this 55 day programme will be a learning experience, being submerged in nature and constantly exposed to the African bush.
The course covers a broad spectrum of subjects in the form of daily lectures and practical activities, out in the field. These alternate between game walks and game drives. Midday lectures involve topical instruction and discussion, on the subject or game encounter of the day.
It is believed that Scottish explorer David Livingstone was the first to set eyes on the world’s largest sheet of falling water almost 160 years ago.
In this instance, be one of the first participants on this EcoTraining 55 Day Field Guide Level 1 course in its brand new location. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and book your place!
“Yesterday morning ears perked up when the very distinctive grasping sound of a leopard was heard just across the dry river bed. The sound seemed to move up and down, closer and farther away. What could this spotted cat be doing?
Margaux switched on the telemetry as there is a collared female leopard on the reserve and sure enough, a signal was picked up.
Binoculars were firmly focused on the opposite bank of the river, cameras at the ready, to just press that button should there be a sighting. No such luck though...
The sound would come and go, come and go. Margaux remarked that there is a high possibility that there could be a male leopard in the area, hence the movement of the sound.
Then JP (le Roux, head instructor) and the walking group returned with the news that they've been tracking a pair of leopards, in that exact direction.
The leopards made their presence known every so often for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. And then finally, one of the students managed to get a brief glimpse of one of the cats, but alas, no photo to go with.”
As a result, a rural skills development project funded by the Amarula Trust has now seen eight Namibians completing a FGASA Level 1 Field Guide training course aimed at creating jobs in the eco-tourism industry. This is the second group to complete the course at Erindi Private Game Reserve and Wilderness Safari’s Damaraland Adventure with the help of the Amarula Field Guide Scholarship Program.
EcoTraining instructor Mark Gunn shared and imparted his knowledge for more than a month and upon completion of the course remarked: "They all gained in knowledge, skills and understanding of the environment and the benefits tourism could hold for the communities that live with wildlife."