July 16, 2015

Ollie Ballarano: My life as a back-up

Ollie Balarano is currently busy with his 6 month placement at the EcoTraining camp in Makuleke, Northern Kruger Park. Ollie summed his experience up in a few paragraphs. 
"It’s hard to put a life as a back-up into words.  I can spend hours talking about walking up to wild lions or speaking to elephants at a mere 5 meters away.  I can go on about keeping the guests and students save who passes through EcoTraining's Makuleke camp or to walk in the most stunning area I have ever experienced so far in my life.  I can go on and on about working alongside such knowledgeable and experienced experts of the bush.  I could even tell you of all the little things that you would never see on your average safari, such as a Water Monitor diving out of tree into a pan or a Chameleon shedding its skin, just to name a couple, but what I find most exciting of all is to watch people start their journey, and to see what becomes of them at the end.
Very recently, we had a group of three people come for a Tracking course.  Fortunately, I got to walk with them on their Tracking Assessment.  By the time they left after their two week course, they could identify most tracks they came across and followed them successfully.  One of the students have never set foot in South Africa before and he is now a good quality certified tracker with a skill set and a memory he will never ever forget.
Even more exciting was to watch a group of year long students do their Back-up Trails Guide assessment and doing well enough to be invited back as part of the Back-up family here at EcoTraining.  The two new additions arrived in camp a couple of days ago and I already know I have two new friends for life, with whom I share a connection and a passion with: Walking through nature and experiencing it on a level not many get to see. 
To have assisted with helping people experience this side of the world brings a lot of fulfillment for me.
This is all just a glimpse of what goes on in our lives here at EcoTraining and so I urge to all reading this to come along for a unique experience that you will never forget.  Come and see what the world is really about and where all of our roots come from."


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