Wildlife and Adventure Enthusiasts Head to Africa with EcoTraining

Posted on 17 May 2024 By Savanna Douglas

Africa has always fascinated and touched many individuals. The wilderness, the wildlife, the colours and culture has enticed German visitors for centuries. The bush and the prospect of safari experiences particularly appeals to many. Now more than ever people search for purpose and connection with authentic experiences which goes beyond a pure vacation. 

EcoTraining, a renowned ranger training facility launched its experiential professional safari guide experiences to the international adventure seekers many years ago. With 30 years of history behind them they are perfectly suited to engage travellers in a one week, two weeks, twenty-eight day, fifty five day or one year course in one of their pristine wilderness game reserves in Africa. 

Remote spaces in Africa like the Makuleke Concession in the far northern Kruger National Park are rare. The tale of a typical introductory ranger training experience here highlights a small group of like-minded people living in a tented camp, without fences in the midst of nature. Limited access to the outside world, an exclusive bubble ensures the students absorb the training and experiences they are exposed to.  

Simple tented lodgings provide sublime views of the bush, and allow animals to roam throughout the camp freely. Students are provided with a detailed safety briefing to ensure their safety. The golden rule of the bush when encountering an animal was firmly reiterated: “Whatever you do, don’t run!”.

Days in the bush commence early, with a bush drum awakening everyone shortly before sunrise around 5 a.m. Adjusting to the unfamiliar surroundings fills most new students with anticipation and the unfamiliar cacophony of nocturnal sounds is part of the adventure. Preparing for potential encounters with elephants, lions, or leopards creates an exhilarated anticipation for the first venture into the learning space that EcoTraining specialises in.

Safari clothing attired the students are led by experience trackers and armed guides who are highly qualified to impart knowledge. The journey includes discovery of tracks, deciphered with the help of the “Bush Bibles,” such as the Tracker Manual from the Tracker Academy. Each footprint unveils a story of the bush’s recent activity, from genet cats prowling through the camp to male leopards on the hunt. Guided by knowledgeable trainers, our rangers in training learn to interpret the smallest details, from the shape of a warthog’s track to the spacing between footprints.

The breath-taking scenery, verdant foliage and colourful birds and ancient majestic baobab trees offer an unforgettable location. Encountering a bull elephant on a bushwalk, maintaining a safe distance and observing a gentle giant in awe is guaranteed to send chills down the spine. 

Back in camp, hearty breakfasts replenish energy before delving into theory lessons and enjoying some free time for reflection. Afternoons are spent exploring further on the 4×4 open vehicles encountering a wide variety of Africa’s iconic species. Sunset views from the Luvuvu river are to be savoured with a sunset drink. Evenings offer campfire side dining, reflections on the learnings of the day. Discussions on how to address the critical issue of poaching, strategies for wildlife protection and how emphasizing the importance of collective action to public can make a difference. Over the following days, a deeper understanding of the region’s flora, fauna, and ecosystems will be gained. From bush orientation to 4×4 driving skills, each lesson enriches the ranger training. An overnight bush stay offered insights into astronomy, unveiling the splendour of the southern hemisphere’s night sky.

The EcoTraining course culminates in certification as an FGASA tracker, marking the beginning of a new perspective on safaris for many. Armed with newfound knowledge, many participants eagerly anticipate future adventures and opportunities to explore Africa’s wilderness.

For more information about EcoTraining’s programmes visit our website, www.ecotraining.co.za or contact us at [email protected].

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