EcoTraining’s goal is to create guides and guardians of the natural world.
“A guide is a leader, a guardian of nature, an interpreter and an honest host to visitors,” says Anton Lategan, managing director of EcoTraining.
He adds: “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.”
EcoTraining was started in 1993, when a few forward-thinking young guides from several safari lodges realised the need for a formal nature guide training programme.
Today, EcoTraining has four permanent camps – three in South Africa and one in Botswana, collectively accommodating a maximum of 80 students at any one time – as well as temporary camps in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
EcoTraining has trained more than 10 000 people, young and old, from all over the world and from many walks of life. The vast majority of our graduates have been employed immediately after qualifying with us, through the approximately 150 safari lodges and operators we partner with.
Our courses are run in simple unfenced bush camps in the middle of great wilderness areas, where participants get to truly experience what it is like to live in wild places.
Our mission is to educate people on the importance of the wilderness and especially the processes that drive the natural ecosystems of the world. Our hope is that participants, armed with this knowledge, leave our courses and go out and make a difference to the way we look after our planet in their day-to-day lives.
Some guides from Londolozi and a few lodges in the Sabi Sands come up with the visionary concept of EcoTraining. And so our foundations are built alongside Londolozi, Sabi Sabi and Singita in 1993.
Anton takes over as trainer from a few good men, including Graham Cook, Paddy Hagelthorn, Malcolm Douglas and Grant Parker. Anton realises EcoTraining has better potential if it is given individual focus, away from the owners’ other business interests.
Anton and Lex Hes form a partnership and purchase EcoTraining. It is a partnership formed from a common philosophy of man’s responsibility to nature, a love of the wilderness, and their personal and professional commitment to each other through this mission. EcoTraining is not only about animals and birds, it is about people.
Expands and moves to our current bases in Kruger National Park (Makuleke Concession), Selati Game Reserve and Karongwe Game Reserve. We are soon recognised as the breeding ground of well-trained guides to the local top lodges, and before long are training guides for a wider and wider community. From humble beginnings of training out of a restored farm shed, driving a cranky Series 3 Land Rover, using bucket showers and long-drop toilets, we have grown into this modern international concept of EcoTraining because we have the right foundation.
EcoTraining launches its one-year Professional Field Guide course, along with shorter one- to two-week wildlife programs to greatly broaden our offering of safari guide and nature training.
EcoTraining expands operations to Australia to deliver accredited practical nature guide and green skills education in Australia. The camp is located on Swim Creek Station, a Buffalo pastoral property 10km from Kakadu National Park and just over 100km east of Darwin. After great success training over 600 guides and rangers over three years, the camp is folded back to the landowners.
EcoTracker, a division of EcoTraining, was born, and is headed up by Alex van den Heever.
EcoTraining starts running courses in Zimbabwe, at Livingstone Game Reserve, at the world-famous Victoria Falls.
EcoTraining turns 21!
New part-owners/directors join Anton Lategan at the helm of EcoTraining: Alex van den Heever (South Africa) and Mark Hutchinson (Australia).
EcoTraining is now established as one of the top providers of safari guide and trail guide training in Africa. We are passionate about creating guides and guardians of our natural world, and we continue to grow and offer more and more students learning opportunities in and about the African wilderness, or, as it is known in Africa, “the African bush”.