Looking for something totally different to offer your clients on the African Continent? EcoTraining Guides & Guardians is a South African company offering inspirational wildlife courses, accredited wildlife career courses, gap year opportunities and high school programs.
The company traces its roots to 1993 when a small group of guides from Londolozi and Sabi Sands came up with the visionary concept of creating a more formal, professional means of training new guides and guardians of the natural world.
Since then, EcoTraining has coached more than 10,000 people, young and old, from many nations and many walks of life. The vast majority of its graduates went on to careers at the approximately 150 safari lodges and operators the company partners in Africa and beyond.
Although the guide certification courses can last up to two months, EcoTraining offers a number of shorter courses that are perfect for ordinary travelers rather than those who want to make conservation a career. Among these are:
- Wildlife Photography Workshop (6 days): The thought process behind great wildlife photography and putting those thoughts into action in the field.
- Birding in the Bush (7 days): Learn the basics of bird identification or improve your existing identification skills.
- Eco Tracker — Animal Tracks and Tracking (7 days): What is that, who made it, when was the animal here, what happened?
- Eco Quest (7 days): Learn about the large and small elements of African nature, and experience some of the activities and daily experiences of a safari guide.
All of these courses are ideal for students or gap year travelers relishing a deeper understanding of the African bush. EcoTraining also offers a one-year course for students looking for an even more in-depth gap year learning experience. During the year, students are exposed to diverse ecological and geological terrains, landscapes and wildlife species at four wilderness camps in South Africa and Botswana.
“A guide is a leader, a guardian of nature, an interpreter and an honest host to visitors,” says managing director Anton Lategan. “A guide should represent the highest standards of ethics and care for nature and people, in the wilderness and in their own community. Guides are the key to sustainable tourism, as they passionately take a stand for conservation through steering the people who surround them in their interactions with nature.”
Courses are taught in simple un-fenced bush camps in the middle of great wilderness areas, where participants get to truly experience what it is like to live in wild places.
The company maintains four permanent camps — three in South Africa and one in Botswana — as well as temporary training facilities in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Australia’s Northern Territory (near Kakadu National Park).
EcoTraining’s mission is to educate people on the importance of the wilderness and especially the processes that drive natural ecosystems. The goal is that all participants, armed with this knowledge, go out and make a difference to the way we look after our planet in their day-to-day lives.