ECO TRAINING – GUIDES AND GUARDIANS

 

Operating for 24 years, EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in safari guide and wildlife training in Africa.

EcoTraining is widely recognised by the safari industry for its credibility and standard of excellence in nature guide training.

EcoTraining offers:

  • Accredited safari guide career courses,
  • Gap year and Sabbatical programmes,
  • Nature programmes for nature enthusiasts,
  • High school and University study abroad programmes,
  • Custom courses and On-site professional field guide training at safari lodges.

All courses are run directly from EcoTraining’s unfenced bush camps in prime wilderness areas across South Africa,

Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. To date EcoTraining has trained over 11 000 people from 33 different countries around the world.

HOW TO GET THERE
Makuleke Camp – Kruger National park :

GPS coordinates

S 22 21.464

E 031 10.293

Karongwe Game Reserve

GPS coordinates

S 24′ 16 .008

E 030′ 37 .672

Selati Game Reserve

GPS coordinates

S 23⁰59.136’

E 030⁰41.938’

Mashatu Game Reserve – Botswana

GPS coordinates

S 22 13.685

E 28 58.523

Borana Conservancy – Kenya

GPS coordinates

N 0 14.3090

E 37 19.782

Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe

GPS coordinates

S 17° 59′ 57.98″

E 25° 48′ 36.11

 

COURSES OFFERED

PROFESSIONAL FIELD GUIDE - 1 year
This comprehensive and unique one-year course has been designed to supply the safari industry with high-caliber FGASA endorsed and CATHSSETA qualified professional field guides. Students live and learn at four different unfenced wilderness camps giving them exposure to diverse ecological and geographical terrains, wildlife species, climates and more.

Course Dates 

01 October 2018 – 15 September 2019

04 January 2019 – 16 December 2019

01 February 2019 – 22 December 2019

FGASA FIELD GUIDE NQF2 - 55 days
This FGASA endorsed, CATHSSETA accredited course is the entry level qualification into field guiding which comprises of vehicle based guiding in dangerous games areas. Once qualified, the field guide is able to identify and interpret natural elements of the natural environment and conduct game drives for guests in a limited geographical area.

Dates:    04 October – 27 November  2018
                  07 October – 30 November  2018
FGASA TRAILS GUIDE - 28 days
This FGASA endorsed course aims to develop practical guiding skills and to expand on the FGASA Field Guide syllabus. Majority of training time is spent exploring the wilderness on foot. This course gives participants the grounding to conduct nature walks in big game country and boasts a strong emphasis on guiding safety and dangerous game encounters. The aim of this course is to develop and practice skills and gain knowledge to attain the FGASA Trails Guide Back-up qualification.

 

Dates:      26 November – 23 December 2018
KENYA SAFARI GUIDE: KPSGA Bronze - 28 days
This course aims to supply the Kenya safari industry with high-caliber KPSGA Bronze qualified professional field guides. Participants take part in a variety of learning activities while driving and walking in some of the most breathtaking wilderness areas in Kenya. The syllabus covers a broad spectrum of subjects including 4×4 vehicle skills, radio procedure, ecology and geology to mention a few.

 

Dates:     14 September- 11 October2018
                   02 November – 29 November  2018
ECOQUEST - 7 or 14 days
This course is designed to provide participants with an ecological learning experience in the wilderness. The EcoQuest course, suitable for nature lovers, emphasises two components – learning about the fascinating elements of nature and how each are carefully interconnected to one another in a specific region and at the same time, experiencing aspects of typical safari guide training.

Dates:     01 November- 14 November 2018 – 14 days
                   23 September – 29 September 2018 – 7 days
                   29 October – 04 November 2018 – 7 days
                   14 November – 20 November 2018 – 7 days
                  22 November  – 28 November 2018 – 7 days
                   10 December – 16 December 2018 – 7 days
ECOTRACKER: ANIMAL TRACKS AND TRACKING - 7 or 14 days
A vast amount of information can be gathered about mammals, birds and reptiles without ever having seen them. Every animal leaves some indication of its presence or passing whereby it can be recognised. Participants are taught how to ‘reconstruct’ the scene and understand what could have, would have, and should have happened. Through the ancient art of tracking participants will connect with iconic places and creatures of Africa on foot.

Dates:     10 February – 16 February 2019 – 7 days

04 June – 10 June 2019 – 7 days

15 July – 28 July – 14 days

01 August – 07 August 2019 – 7-days

SAFARI GUIDE - 28 days
The first of its kind in the safari industry, this course was developed in 1993 for the purpose of offering participants a glimpse into the life and work of a Safari Guide. This course teaches participants the practical and theoretical scientific knowledge of the natural environment. This is a great course for those who are still deciding if a career as a safari guide is what they want to pursue.

Dates:      02 September – 29 September 2018

WILDERNESS PHOTOGRAPHY - 6 days
This course teaches participants about the equipment needed to become a versatile wilderness photographer. Participants also learn about the various elements that combine to make good wilderness photographic compositions. Participants spend mornings and afternoons in the bush looking for photographic opportunities followed by a lecture each day and constructive criticism of any digital photos taken during activities.

Dates:        02 March – 08 March 2019

24 August – 30 August 2019

BIRDING IN THE BUSH - 7 days
This course enables birding enthusiasts to identify a great variety of species of birds by sight and sound and to also learn about their biology and ecology. Participants don’t have to be a ‘twitcher’ to attend. The course caters for those who wish to learn about the basics of bird identification or improve their existing identification skills.

Dates:      17 September – 23 September 2018
                    29 November – 05 December 2018
WILDERNESS TRAILS SKILLS - 6 days
This purist wilderness experience is about traversing across some of the finest and most remote wilderness regions of southern Africa on foot.  The course may challenge some personal boundaries as participants sleep in the open wilderness under the stars, track and stalk game, and travel light with minimal supplies.  Lessons include wilderness appreciation and the MIA (Minimal Impact Approach), situational awareness, setting up an eco-friendly camps and water purification, and ‘leaving no trace’ are but a few of the advanced skills you will learn.

Dates:     01 October – 06 October 2018

MASAI MARA ECOQUEST - 5, 7 or 14 days
Whilst absorbing all there is to know about nature on game drives and nature walks, participants also learn about the three-way relationship that exist between the local communities, wildlife and conservation efforts. It is an immersive educational safari for those wanting to visit Kenya specifically. This course fits perfectly with wildebeest migration and other Kenya travel plans. Participants enjoy daily bush activities on the Mara plains teeming with wildlife; learn to track and trail game; learn about the fauna and flora, study the Kenya night skies and get to know how the ecosystem works.

Dates:      15 December – 21 December 2018

 

GENERAL

Venues
Training takes place at the following venues:

Student Accommodation

Makuleke Concession, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Twenty students are accommodated in comfortable thatched, tented rooms, placed on wooden decks in the shade of large nyala trees. Each room has an en-suite bathroom consisting of a shower and washbasin with hot running water and a flush toilet, as well as a veranda overlooking the surrounding bush.

The camp is not fenced, which means that animals do move through it from time to time.

Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa

The camp consists of 10 walk-in Meru tents, with twin beds (students share tents) and supplied bedding (a duvet and one pillow); although you might want to bring an extra blanket for the winter months and an additional pillow should you require. There are also shared ablution facilities and a central communal area. We have mosquito nets in camp.

There are viewing decks in the central area of the camp, which many students choose to make their “bedroom” for part of or for the duration of the course. The camp itself is unfenced.

Selati Game Reserve, South Africa

The camp consists of 10 simple dome tents, each with two mattresses and single pillows (two learners per tent). There are shared bathroom facilities and a central communal area overlooking the Selati River.

Please bring a sleeping blanket, additional blanket and pillow should you require them. There are no mosquito nets available at Selati.

Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

The camp consists of 10 simple dome tents, each with two mattresses with pillows (two learners per tent). Please bring along your sleeping bag and an extra blanket/pillow if required. There are shared bathroom facilities, and a central communal area overlooking the river bed.

Mara Training Centre

The Mara Training Centre has the following very comfortable accommodation overlooking the Mara River

  • 3 twin bandas (sleep 6 pax)
  • 3 bunk bed bandas (sleep 12 pax)

Groups of up to 18 can stay at the centre

Borana Conservancy, Kenya

Borana Fly Camp:

The camp consists of dome tents, each with two mattresses and bedding (two learners per tent). There are shared bathroom facilities. Please bring a sleeping bag for sleep-outs.

There is no electricity at the Borana Fly Camp – paraffin lamps are used for all lighting, and a generator is used to charge batteries. Studying at night with paraffin lanterns can at times be challenging, so a headlamp for this purpose is recommended, as well as an extra battery-operated lamp should you wish to study in your tent at night.

Borana Lodge:

Borana Lodge consists of a total of eight cottages, four of which have large double beds and four that have twin beds. All cottages have a phenomenal view over the dam. The cottages are quite modern, including open fireplaces and stylish bathrooms.

There is electricity at Borana Lodge – the voltage is 220/240V AC and the plugs are the UK-type, round two-pin or flat three-pin. There are adaptors available and there is also complementary Internet (WiFi) access, though it may be slow and intermittent due to the remote location of the lodge.

Most of the time will be spent at Borana Fly Camp, and lodge accommodation is dependent on availability.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Accommodation consists of dome tents (students share tents) with shared ablutions and supplied bedding (sheets and pillows).

 

What Students should bring
For both the 2 month or 3-4 week courses)

  • As many reference books as you have (course notes are supplied)
  • Bring at least 2 sets of khaki uniform, for bush excursions (shirts essential)
  • Binoculars – essential
  • Car cell phone charger.
  • Flashlight (Torch) (Headlamp very NB!)
  • Pens, pencils, exam pad (make sure you write on both sides of your paper!).
  • “Bush clothes” (neutral coloured clothing) – bright and white do not belong in the bush.
  • PLEASE ONLY BRING CLOTHING FOR 1 WEEK AS SPACE IS LIMITED. WASHING FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE.
  • Something warm to wear.
  • Walking boots/shoes (plenty of walking)
  • Water bottle, sunblock, hat.
  • Soft drinks, snacks etc. ( Three meals per day are provided )
  • Toiletries and Towel
  • Your own bedding (Sleeping bag and pillow or similar)
  • Swimming clothes
  • Insect Repellent
  • Raincoat
Important Information

GENERAL

How old should I be?

In terms of age restriction we will accept participants from 12 years of age (accompanied by an adult), and 16 years of age unaccompanied. Please understand that our unfenced bush camps are all in dangerous game areas, and it is with the participant’s safety in mind that this restriction is in place. There is no cut-off age to our courses, provided participants are of a reasonable level of fitness.

In order to attempt the FGASA qualifications, participants are required to be 18 years or older and be in possession of a valid driver’s licence.

What is the general age and nationality of the other students on the course with me?

The age ranges of students tend to be from 18-65 … We have a wide variety of people, from a wide variety of countries. Be assured that you will meet and study alongside interesting people who are passionate and enthusiastic about conservation, and more specifically about the bush.

What are the criteria for joining a course?

  • Must be 18 years or older (FGASA courses)
  • Must be in possession of a valid driver’s licence (FGASA courses)
  • Must enjoy a reasonable level of fitness (all courses)

Can I bring along my partner as a non-paying participant?

We only have 20 beds available at each camp and these are reserved for paying participants only. We also accommodate our past students with volunteering positions in camp. We are fully allocated in terms of staff and volunteers at the camp, and will therefore not be able to accommodate an accompanying non-paying participant on course.

By when should I book my course?

We book on a first come, first served basis and therefore it is tricky to advise as to when you should book for your course. We can’t guarantee availability at any time, but can suggest that the sooner you book the stronger the likelihood will be that we can offer you a space on a course. Some courses are more popular than others, and certain times of the year are also busier. Our advice is that as soon as you are ready to commit, please make your booking.

We would typically require the registration forms completed and returned within seven days of making your booking, and payment of the deposit within two weeks from then.

How do I get to camp?

Please arrange flights into Johannesburg (OR Tambo International Airport). From there you are welcome to make use of our own Bush Bus transfer service, which runs between Johannesburg and our four camps in southern Africa.

Alternatively, you can arrange a connecting flight to smaller airports nearer to our camps (Hoedspruit Airport for Karongwe and Selati Camp/Polokwane Airport for Mashatu or Makuleke Camp), with private transfers to the camp meeting point (arrival).

Please bear in mind, though, that these connecting flights and private transfers are quite pricey. We feel the Bush Bus transfer is a far more affordable and practical option, in terms of getting to the camps.

Our logistics department will be able to best advise you on your transfer options to and from the camp. Please make contact on operations@ecotraining.co.za, should you require further assistance.

What steps should I take to prevent contracting malaria?

As none of us are health facilitators, it is best for you to contact your GP or travel doctor to glean their opinion on the matter. As all our camps are situated in malaria areas, we suggest you impart that knowledge to your doctor when asking for advice.

Is there WiFi connectivity at the camps?

It is hugely limited – most of the time there is nothing at all, thus we suggest you let your family and business friends know beforehand about the limited contact.

 

ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS

Telephone: +27 (0)13 752 2532

Email: enquiries@ecotraining.co.za

Website: www.ecohttps://www.ecotraining.co.za/training.co.za