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Christmas Gift Ideas for Safari Guides (and Safari Lovers) – Part 2

If you’re looking for inspiration for Christmas Gifts, we have gathered more gift ideas we think will add a bit of the African bush to any holiday.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Safari Guides (and Safari Lovers) – Part 1

The holidays are almost here, and you still don’t know what to get the safari lover in your life? Not to worry. We have gathered gift ideas we think will add a bit of the bush to any holiday celebration.

A Year in the Bush and a Lesson for Life

I remember that day like it was yesterday. A hot and humid early summer day in November 2020, the day my Field Guide Level 1 course started. Little did I know that from this day on, I would embark on a journey that would teach me so many things and make me leave my comfort zone. A journey that yet continues to last.

Sharing Air with Ezulwini

How close is too close? In this blog, Victoria shares an up-close and personal experience with the gentle giant of Pridelands.

Another Day in Paradise

One moment you’re talking about the leaf structure of a sickle bush, the next you’re staring a male leopard dead in the eye from about 50 yards. The first few weeks at Ecotraining’s Karongwe camp has been nothing short of spectacular, surpassing all expectation with a bit more on top.

Sanctuary for the Sitatunga

As the chilly, early morning mist cleared, we sat in silence, patiently waiting and watching. The drone of insects heralded dawn’s awakening as we kept an eye on the paths and tunnels made through the reeds and rushes by the Sitatunga. A rustle in the reeds and a faint calling sneeze alerted us that they were on the move. Excited that our patience had eventually paid off, all binoculars were trained on the very shy antelope that are so difficult to observe.

EcoTracker Experience in Mashatu

Growing up, I would imagine going on safaris as a live-action version of The Lion King, with wild animals interacting and living their lives, paying no attention to me. The two trips I’ve taken in the bush as an adult weren’t actually that far off from that image: I saw a ridiculous number and variety of animals from the safety of a game vehicle. My most recent experience – an EcoTracker course in Mashatu – was somehow entirely different, and even more magical.

The First Rains by Emma Summers

The short bushveld winter has now officially ended in the South African bush. Days are getting warmer and the nights aren’t as cold as they once were. This is the time of year when we eagerly await the first storm. Will it come on time or will it be late? Only Mother Nature has the answer.

The Juggle of a Safari Guide

Have you ever wondered just how many balls your safari guide must juggle on a safari? Victoria shares her experience of what it’s like to be a new guide.

Altering Course: An Interview with Bouke Lolkema

Society tells us our lives will be mapped out by our youth and our ambition: what schools we attend, who we marry, or what high-paying career we take on. But those are not the only factors that determine our paths. Sometimes tectonic forces are working deep below our feet, waiting to show us paths we had not prepared for when we least expect them—after our careers, our schooling, and our lives are pretty much sorted out. Or so we thought…

Another Successful Day at the Office

In the middle of the Mashatu bush, in the early hours of the morning, I was woken by the loud roar of a male lion. I was hesitant to get out of bed and shine my touch to see if the lion was anywhere near my tent. I decided to climb back into bed. By the sound of the roar, the lion was not that close to the camp.

How WILD can it get?

As the sun slowly rises over the horizon the dawn chorus of a new day starts. Crested Francolins call in duet and the birds of prey start to warm up, desperately waiting to catch a morning commute with the rising thermals. It is here on the Southern side of Ndlovu dam where JP Le Roux and myself are doing some filming for our Youtube channel while enjoying a morning French pressed coffee.

Selati swimming cover - River Swim ~ An African Baptism

River Swim ~ An African Baptism

Swimming when the river flows is the Selati equivalent of making hay while the sun shines. EcoTraining blogger, Victoria, recalls a sunset swim, shared with students and tilapia fish.

Africa's Big Tuskers - Elephant - cover

Africa’s Big Tuskers

“Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran” – Rudyard Kipling. Bear witness to the ancient giants of Africa. Titans are long-enduring but faced with a perilous future. Reverent creatures that we have the privilege of walking amongst a dwindling population.

A Leopard's Call - Mashatu Tere leopard

A Leopard’s Call

I like to end the day relaxing in front of my tent doing a few yoga stretches, enjoying the silence of the camp, the evening song of the birds, and marveling in the feeling of the last of the rays of the winter sun before it disappears for the day.
On hearing the alarm calls of the Nyala that hang around the camp, I stopped for a minute, listening, holding my breath, to see if I could hear what had disturbed them. And then…

Pridelands - Looking at termite mount - Tayla McCurdy

Celebrating World Ranger Day

The 31st of July is World Ranger Day, let’s explore what it means to be a ‘ranger’ in celebration of this day!

the art of walking

The Art of Walking – A Reflective debrief

I’ve always told my guest when walking out in the bush to read it like a book. Start on the horizon and scan from left to right and don’t forget to scan the trees close to you, there might be a Black Mamba looking back at you from its den. It’s definitely a question of who is looking at who out in nature.

Sabine at Magadikghadi - EcoTraining Online Course Alumni: A Thriving Global Community of Nature Enthusiasts

EcoTraining Online Course Alumni: A Thriving Global Community of Nature Enthusiasts

One thing we all know is true: once you have been to the African bush, you are never quite the same again. It is an impossible experience to convey to anyone who hasn’t been, and if you are reading this, you are among those of us that never tire of going on safari.

The Things my Shoes have Seen

The Things my Shoes have Seen

I found myself speed walking to gate number C6 at Cape Town International airport. With way too many bags strapped over my shoulders, I shuffled towards the stairs going to the desired gate. From nowhere a friendly face stopped me and drew my attention to my shoes, this literally stopped me in my tracks.

The Ladies Guide to the Bush - Ecotraining

The Ladies Guide to the Bush

The African bush, there truly is no place like it. Life evolves around nature, the rising and setting of the sun, where the morning bird chorus becomes your alarm clock and the sound of the nocturnal birds, frogs, and insects sing you to sleep. Living in the remote African wilderness can be idyllic, but it also presents a unique set of challenges that will at times push you out of your comfort zone.

Game Ranger vs Safari/Field Guide - Ecotraining E Learning

How to become a Game Ranger

People often confuse the terms “game ranger” and “field guide”. There is a difference, and here is why…

Elephant Close to tent - Ecotraining - Chamomile Tea with Elephants

Chamomile Tea with Elephants

The shortest day in Selati, could have started like many others. We all start to stir just before the sun starts to come up, drinking our morning tea and coffee around a fire, except today was different. We were awoken by the sounds of Elephants and Lions, who were on the opposite side of the riverbank somewhere close to the camp. These two magnificent animals were not very happy with each other, one had obviously disturbed the other and they were busy telling each other off, each trying to stake a claim to that particular area.

Elephant Tracking - Ecotraining

Walks of Life – Art from the Wild

I stood inside the enormous circular depression in the ground. Even with both of my size 11-US boots, there was plenty of room to spare. It was unbelievable: the sheer size, the amount of power it must have taken to cave in the earth like that. I will never forget it – the first time I saw an elephant track.

migration map and calendar - Diane McLeish - Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration – Part 3

Most people think that the Wildebeest Migration only takes place between June and October, but it is a year-round occurrence. There are various but equally exciting events that occur at different times of the year. The river crossings usually coincide with safari high season so consequently, there is a perception that it is the only time of the year that the wildebeest migrate or can be seen.

Wildebeest Migration - Chaos at river edge - Diane McLeish

Wildebeest Migration – Part 2

Every year, around 1.5 million wildebeest are joined by thousands of Thompsons gazelle, zebra, eland, and other ungulates (hoofed animals) in what has been called the “greatest show on earth”, The Great Wildebeest Migration.

Great Migration - Ecotraining

Wildebeest Migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration in the plains of East Africa is one of the most spectacular displays of wildlife behavior and nowhere is there a terrestrial movement of animals as immense as the wildebeest migration. As one of UNESCO’s Wonders of the World, it is one of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

The Black Mambas of Pridelands - Walking Safari - Ecotraining

The Black Mambas of Pridelands

Pridelands has two Black Mambas in camp at the moment and after a colorful interview, I can confirm that these ladies are way more lovely, and infinitely more hardcore than the snake.

Why Bees are important - Ecotraining

Why Bees are Important?

Daily we hear about animals whose population numbers are in decline, but did you know that the humble Bees numbers are also in decline and they too are at risk of extinction?

Karongwe Camp turns over a new leaf - Lodges - Ecotraining

Karongwe Camp turns over a new leaf

Professional Field Guide students, Sarina and Joya, take us on a walkabout through the newly built EcoTraining Karongwe camp.

Impala - Ecotraining

A Sound as Ancient as the Land

April is a magical time of year in the bush. The last of the summer rains have normally passed so the bush starts to turn a beautiful golden brown. The short bush Autumn starts to take place so the days are still warm but the nights are starting to cool, perfect for sitting around the fire or snuggling down into your sleeping bag. The days start to get a bit shorter and the nights longer, giving us more time to admire the beauty of the cosmos.