10 new things that everyone should know when Kenya forms part of their bucket list Safari
The field of guiding is attracting more women into the industry every day. This August EcoTraining celebrates those women who are dedicating their lives to making our natural world a nurturing one.
Jennifer Palmer, is the founder of Women for Wildlife, an organization that seeks to empower local communities and at the same time, work towards the goal of conserving wildlife. She recently spent time at all of the EcoTraining camps and was part of several courses that were running in those camps at the time.
Jennifer, who has a Masters Degree in International Applied Ecology and Conservation, was able to immerse herself in both the ethos of EcoTraining and the roles that women play in the South African guiding industry.
Her work and passion has taken her to more than 40 countries including in Latin America, the South Pacific and now Africa.
Her goal she says “is to bring people together with compassion to make a difference in the world”.
As a solo traveller, she shared some tips for other women who might find themselves in similar situations, listen to what she has to say on her solo travels.
She also shared her thoughts about her time at the EcoTraining camps.
In honour of Women’s Day, we’ve put together a video of some of the EcoTraining Women who show us that being brave, strong and independent has never looked so good!
There are so many women out there that are making a difference every single day. We want you all to know that we appreciate your drive and dedication to the industry.
In 2009, the United Nations declared that July 18th, Mabida’s birthday would be celebrated internationally as Mandela Day. In tribute to the 67 years that he fought for equality and social justice, communities, businesses and individuals were tasked with ‘giving back’ for 67 minutes.
Kate Ochsman took an EcoTraining one-year Professional Guide Course and she wanted to share to all the future female guides or those who are thinking about joining this industry that you can do it and here is why…
A message from Kate:
When you think of Safari, conservation, being a field guide, a ranger…the first thing that comes to mind is, “He must be living the life”. Surrounded by wildlife each & every day, getting to drive an awesome 4 x 4 vehicle, being submerged by the ruggedness of the bush, fixing things with his hands, living a simple lifestyle with only pure nature as his surroundings.
What a man!
You are a woman!
This is a man’s world!
You don’t belong here!
This is far too tough for you to handle!”
“Tell me, lady, can you even handle a rifle?
What if there’s a big animal encounter?
Will you be able to handle that situation? If it arises?
Not even to mention all the hard labour you have to do!”
Well my fellow fella’s, that time is long gone.
Me myself also coming in with that mind-set taking my first steps into the Safari/Wildlife industry. But I must admit there was a rude awakening that lurked around the corner for me.
A man will be a man and there is always this little “macho-man” temperament that will surface every time the boys get together.
“Who can do it the quickest?”
“How close can you get?”
“Who can shoot the best?’’
And the list goes on…
It is here where I saw, not some, but all the ladies stepping up and showing the guys how it’s done.
Being in this industry but more so being part of a company who provides training to the future of this industry, I can write this with great pleasure and excitement that the future looks bright. Especially with all our female counterparts joining this magnificent, exciting wild world.
What I came to see is that they CAN do it.
And with so much enthusiasm, knowledge and power.
Still being the feminine you.
And still, feel beautiful and sexy as hell.
Ladies, You CAN do it…and you are welcome to.
Your skill, knowledge and elegance will leave this industry empty if you are not part of it.
You are strong.
You are confident.
You are powerful beyond all measure.
Here I am leaving you with a classic but oh so powerful quote from one of my favourite movies…Cool Runnings.
“Look in the mirror and tell me what you see!”
“I see Junior”
“You see Junior? Well, let me tell you what I see.
I see pride!
I see power!
I see a badass mother who doesn’t take no crap off of nobody!” To all you future female guides, you can do it!
Want to know more about Kate?
In the video below, we have Kate Ochsman. An American woman from Los Angeles who is not trying to but showing us all that it can be done. Showing everyone that you still feel like a lady or listen to Kate’s interview on Sound Cloud. You can also follow Kate’s journey and her life after EcoTraining on Instagram.
The EcoQuest course is not all about dashing in a vehicle from one Big 5 sighting to the next. It is about becoming intimate with the ecosystems and the biodiversity of the area around the Karongwe camp.
The camp kitchen is a hive of activity as the sun slowly starts to filter through the trees. A warm beverage (or two) before setting off on an early morning game drive is always a must.
After the quick morning coffee and a chat about the game drive plan, you are then off on a new adventure. You never know what the day has in store for you. It’s very exciting.
Selati camp being situated on the banks of the Selati River makes the mornings even more beautiful, with breathtaking sunrises and interesting animals coming to investigate around the water’s edge the possibilities are endless.
It is always a pleasure to be out on a drive, even if the vehicle seems to be at an impossible angle. In this instance an instructor was driving, but the students each get a turn behind the wheel. They get to know the capabilities of the vehicle and they get to understand how to interact with guests in situations that might arise while on a drive.
Vultures perched on trees can give away the presence of a carcass, which in turn often signifies the fact that there are predators in the area. These two White backed vultures looked like they had a disagreement.
A look can say it all. Often when you get close to a lion, even if you are in a vehicle, a low growl will warn you of their mood.
Could this be a Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticose)?
Every drive is a learning opportunity for the students. Be it an animal, bird, insect or plant species. Questions are asked by the instructors to make certain that every safari drive it utilized to the fullest.
This is one of the Kingfisher species that does not eat fish. Instead it preys on insects like grasshoppers and locusts. They have been known to catch and eat lizards.
There is also a recorded case of one seen eating a bat! Of the 10 Kingfisher species found in South Africa, only 4 have a fish based diet.
The students make time for a sundowner break on the viewing deck perched high above the vast bushveld that stretched out towards the horizon.
There is no better way to end a day in Africa. Our sunsets are spectacular and will creep into the hearts and souls of students, both local and International.
Many of our potential students wonder what it will be like to spend a year in the bush and how they will manage this if they come from an urban background. Not all the EcoTraining courses run for a full year and there are shorter courses on offer at Selati.
Humans have long been the greatest threat to this planet’s biodiversity. That is why we are said to be living in the Anthropocene – the years wherein the Earth’s atmosphere, geology, biosphere, and ecosystems have been most greatly impacted by the presence of Homo sapiens.
To celebrate ‘Learn about Butterflies Day’, EcoTraining Instructor, David Havemann shares his fondness towards certain butterflies in Southern Africa. These beautiful flying insects are more than just a pretty sight, they also have many fascinating features that most people do not even know about.
You never know what you will find in the African bush, especially if you decide to explore it on foot. There are so many creatures hiding away, all minding their own business. It is just a matter of what creature you will bump into next.
Red-billed Quelea’s are a relatively common sight in a number of South Africa’s nature reserves and farmlands. These small seed eating birds can be predominantly seen flying from food source to food source and always in big numbers. These numbers will ebb and flow depending on the amount of food available and to make it quite difficult for predators to take any individual within the flock.
“I was born and raised in the Netherlands, amongst the shadows of concrete building and perfectly manicured parks. In a country where at that time had hardly any wildlife left. It was in 1996 when I visited Africa for the first time for our honeymoon and I was eager to see elephants in the wild.”
All of EcoTraining’s birding courses dates are carefully selected for an optimal experience. With the coming of each season, along with it brings different experiences. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should do the 7-day ‘Birding in the Bush Course in February:
One thing to keep in mind is that South African summers can get very hot. How hot you might ask? It’s not unusual for it to get as high as the mid 30 degrees to low 40 degrees Celsius. If you are not used to or have not been exposed to these extreme temperatures, you might wonder how you will ever survive this scorching heat.
Professional Field Guide demonstrates safety first in a scary situation!
The same species that was said to have killed Queen Cleopatra
Working in nature in unfenced bush camps is a wonderful and frightening experience at the same time. We live and work in remote areas so wildlife encounters in camp occur quite often.
Can you guess who they are?
If you have ever heard them running, you will understand why…
This Heritage Day we Celebrate our diversity as a Rainbow Nation.
Happy World Rhino Day 2018! On this day we’d like to recognise the successes in the fight against the extinction of this majestic animal.
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty Orb spider your wife…
Selati Game Reserve is home to eight officially protected trees. In this article, we have a look at each of the eight trees and how they have helped human beings in the past.
In celebration of Arbor week, we would like to share our personal thoughts on the subject of trees and to ‘leaf’ you with something to think about.
Here are some great camping tips on how to keep warm in the chilly South African winter
Biological diversity or biodiversity is the variety of life around us, life of all kinds, from the largest animal to the smallest plant. Its complexity is measured in terms of variations at genetic, species and ecosystem levels.
Our EcoTraining unfenced bush camps are located in remote areas of beautiful concessions and game reserves. As such, our instructors and students are fortunate enough to experience frequent encounters with elephants, whether it be in camp or out in the wild.
FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa) and EcoTraining will help you plan your guiding career by sharing an overview of the various types of guiding and options available to you.
Now here is an itchy subject. Malaria affects millions of people around the world. The disease has been wiped out in some places but is still rampant in tropical areas of the world. ‘Mal aria’ was a description of the “bad air” that was found in swampy areas and thought to be the cause of the disease.
“Travel has the ability to show us what we’re really made of, to expand our minds, hearts and spirits, and to transform us, among so much more. “