AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
Face to face with an elephant in camp is an encounter I never expected to experience on my first day at Selati Game Reserve. One of my goals this year is to spend as much time in nature as possible, so when I got the invite from EcoTraining to spend a few days with their latest intake of students who have just started doing their FGASA 1 year Professional Field Guide course, I jumped at the opportunity.
There’s a feeling of connected-ness with nature that I’ve rarely encountered elsewhere. Most of us live in a fast-paced world of cities; cars, jobs and money so to be able to spend time in one of Africa’s wild places, slow the pace down a bit and share some learning experiences with like-minded individuals is a dream come true. If living life by being true to one-self is what you are after, or you’re look-ing for a career in nature, then doing one of EcoTrainings’ many courses will stand you in good stead.
The students forming part of the 2016 intake come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Interestingly most come from South Africa, but others have come from England, Germany, Netherlands and Namibia. While some already have degrees in zoology and are looking for careers in the industry through rehabili-tation of wildlife or as professional field guides, others have only just left school.
The energy from the students on the course is contagiously high. Much of the physical elements of the course are dealt with in the morning when this energy is at its highest. Most mornings encompass walks in the reserves to gain knowledge and practical experience on the subject at hand as well as drives in open vehicles to simulate talking to tourists on these drives. Each day is a learning experience.
What to expect
When I arrived, the students were busy completing four days of Wilderness First Aid. First Aid is one of the most impor-tant modules the students get taught. Due to the nature of their environment; the fact that all activities are conducted in the bush; the students need to know how to handle an emergency medical situation, should one arise. For example, they will learn the procedures which need to be followed in the event of an elephant gorging a tourist. They will learn how to stabilise the patient and evacuate them to a point where paramed-ics can transport them by road or air to a hospital for further care…