We are very blessed to be living in Africa. This continent is home to so much incredible fauna and flora and magnificent scenery that it should not be taken for granted. Not just that, as Africans, we should be encouraging visitors to support our conservation efforts. EcoTraining allows for those who have a passion for the natural environment, to turn that passion into a career.
There is no better way to preserve our natural heritage than by having tourism make that very heritage financially viable. It is thanks to tourism dollars that we have a proliferation of private game reserves and the many lodges within national parks.
On the frontline of tourist education and entertainment are the field guides that ensure that their guests have lasting memories of Africa and continue to give our wildlife their support.
EcoTraining – a Pioneer in Safari Guide Training
EcoTraining was started in 1993 and has since become a leader in safari guide and wildlife training in Africa. They are widely recognized by the safari industry for their high standards and quality results in nature guide training.
Their courses are accredited by the educational authorities in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya as well as by the highly respected Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).
These courses include those with an interest in the bush such as bird watchers to those wanting to take an exciting gap year to those wanting to attain the highest levels in professional field guiding.
All their courses are run directly from their unfenced bush camps in wilderness areas in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya.
To date, EcoTraining has trained over 13 000 people from 33 different countries around the world.
EcoTraining Career Courses
There are a number of professional courses on offer. The most comprehensive is the year-long EcoTraining Professional Field Guide course. Once completed, trainees will be qualified to take safari lodge guests on walking and game drive safaris into Africa’s wild places, finding wildlife for them, and teaching them fascinating facts about the animals and ecosystems.
This first half of this course involves the theoretical and practical training with the second half of the course seeing the student placed at a lodge where they will receive exponential training.
Right from the start students are immersed in the bush and live and train in remote wilderness camps that may include the Makuleke Concession (northern Kruger), Karongwe Reserve, Selati Reserve, Mashatu Reserve (Botswana) and Pridelands Reserve.
These camps are unfenced and so students learn to live amongst the fauna about which they are being educated.
This course is very stimulating and exciting and made more so by the highly qualified and experienced instructors.
EcoTraining claims that there is no other course that offers this breadth of wildlife immersion and knowledge.
At the end of the course the student will not only have potentially gained qualification and certificates, but will have also have gained substantial practical working experience.
The other professional courses vary in length. These courses consist mostly of part elements of the EcoTraining Professional Field Guide course. They include the 55 day EcoTraining Field Guide course, the 35-day Practical course, the 28 day EcoTraining Trails Guide course as well as an online introductory course.
These are non-professional courses that are part holiday part training experience. If you have found a visit to a safari lodge or game reserve a wonderful experience but without the intense immersion in the bush that you desire, then you will thoroughly enjoy these courses.
The Safari Guide course is 28-days long and aimed at those wishing to experience a bush holiday while also learning about the environment they are in. A month of living and learning in nature at a wilderness camp in South Africa or Botswana will satisfy that longing you have to be part of the bush and not just be a spectator.
The EcoQuest course can be seven or 14 days long and is a shortened version of the Safari Guide course.
The seven day Wilderness Photography Course teaches participants about the equipment needed to become a versatile wilderness photographer and about the various elements that combine to make good wilderness photographic compositions.
The Wilderness Trails Skills six day course provides a perfect platform for aspirant or qualified guides or nature lovers to discover and reconnect with meaningful wilderness encounters. The Matric EcoQuest is an adventure for a group of friends wanting a fresh, safe, exhilarating alternative to celebrating the end of your school life together.
EcoTraining offers tailormade courses for agents and tour operators to assist them with the planning of educational safari itineraries catered for small group departures, alumni travel, private celebrity travel, summer schools, and university study abroad programmes.
EcoTraining’s offices are located at The Outpost Centre, Shop No 4, Corner of Van der Merwe and Ehmke streets, Nelspruit. For bookings, call +27 (0)13 752 2532 / +27 (0) 71 895 8658; email email@example.com or visit them online at www.ecotraining.co.za Follow them on Facebook HERE or via YouTube HERE.