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Mara Sunset

From the pen of Anton Lategan

“We use our linear understanding of the sciences and continually take from the Earth. We take as much as we can, we call this production.”

EcoTraining Lock-down

Lock-down got you down?

We know that as you self-isolate during this lock-down period of 21-days it will be hard, especially as most of you love the outdoors and the idea of adventures in the African Bush, we are on your page.

For those of you who are at home, we feel you and want to assure you that for the next coming weeks we are going to try keep you as entertained and immersed in a ‘bush experience’ as possible, just because you will be at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the magic of the wilderness!

We will continue with our weekly trivia questions, our quizzes and add some word search and crossword fun in there for you to keep your mind’s busy and the brain sharp.

In the meantime, for the sake of your sanity, we have come up with a list of things that will entertain you and your family while you wait out the lock-down:

Something for the nature enthusiasts:

and to keep you entertained…

  • You can never go wrong with Sir. David Attenborough. When you can’t get into the bush, he brings the bush to you, learn, be moved and feel a part of an incredible journey. Watch the Planet Earth Series.
  • We have a new series coming your way: Tarry & Tayla Birding 101 or as we are calling it Bird.I.Y. Keep your eyes peeled on the EcoTraining YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/EcoTraining this series will keep you entertained and even make you pee a little bit with all the laughter. Starting on the 6th of April @ 16h00 (GMT).

Reading and brushing up on your nature skills:

Something for the kids:

  • Reading: Here are a few of our top picks for kids who love animals and wildlife.
EcoTraining Children's Book Recommendations

Exciting Books for Kids during the lock-down

Where you could find these books: Exclusive Books or Takealot.com

  • Audio: Here are our top audio/audiobook picks for kids who are adventurous and love the outdoors.
EcoTraining Children's AudioBook Recommendations

Exciting Audiobooks for Kids during the lock-down

Where you could find these audiobooks: Audiobooks or Audible

Should we add an Ugly Five Quiz? It could be quite funny – here is a test in the meantime (for you or the kids).

Can you name the ugly five

Can you name the ugly five (c) The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

We know you would all rather be in the bush and outdoors but in the meantime, we hope we play a little part in lightening up your day and who knows you might be smelling the fresh smells of acacia trees and hearing a hippo grunt before you know it.

STAY SAFE!

An interview with Steve Baillie | EcoTraining Podcast

Want to know what you can expect from an EcoTraining course? Freelance content creator David Batzofin, chatted with Senior Instructor Steve Baillie to get his opinion about our 1-year Professional Field Guide Course.

David’s first question was “Talk me through what a participant can expect”. Listen to our latest podcast to learn more.

Students at Pridelands

Pridelands Camp (c) Steve Baillie

Want to start a career as a Field Guide? Or if you want to learn more about EcoTraining, follow us on social, either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be apart of our students’ and instructors’ amazing journeys through the African wilderness.

EcoTraining student and instructor

Mandela Day and a tribute to Johnny Clegg | EcoTraining Mashatu Camp

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.

Matabele ants at Karongwe Camp

Matabele ants get their name from the mighty Matabele tribe as they equally go to war with termites the same way the Matabele tribe use to overwhelm their adversaries.

David Batzofin (cc)

The participants on the EcoQuest course at Karongwe Camp came upon this Matabele Ant raiding party setting out. Also known as hissing ants because of the sound they emit, they live on a diet comprised solely of termites.

David Batzofin (cc)

Although the Matabele raiding party featured extensively during the morning drive, there was time to focus on other interesting interactions that were taking place close by. Like this African Harrier Hawk and Fork-tailed Drongo.

Equipped with long scaly legs and a long neck for getting into the cracks and crevices, the large grey raptor also known as a gymnogene was busy searching in this tree as to where chicks and eggs might be concealed.

In this scenario, it is possible that the Drongo did have a nest it was protecting. This relatively small bird will dive-bomb large raptors that are intent on killing their offspring or just out of defense.

David Batzofin (cc)

When first discovered, the participants watched as the raiding party set out in a very organized manner. Then, one of their scouts took a wrong turn, leading to total confusion within the party until the issue was resolved and they could move off with confidence.

David Batzofin (cc)

Another diversion, this time to take a moment to look at some of the flora that we can observe during morning activity. The Black Stick Lily is known as the Monkey’s Tail, derived from its Afrikaans name ‘Bobbejaan’s stert’ (Baboon’s Tail).

This is a resilient plant that can withstand extreme conditions and can also go for long periods of time without water. Their medicinal properties include the treatment of asthma and as an anti-inflammatory.

David Batzofin (cc)

Instructor, Michael Anderson, wondering what the result would be if he stuck his fist into the path of the returning raiding party. The bite of this ant, although not toxic to humans, can be very painful and can cause swelling.

David Batzofin (cc)

This particular species of ant is the only one that look after those that get injured during a raid. Much like the US Marines, they try not to leave anyone behind and will tend to the wounded on the site of the battle. The treatment is only carried out on individuals who have lost one or two limbs.

David Batzofin (cc)

From the time they left their nest until they returned with their spoils, less than an hour had elapsed. As they were not under constant surveillance, it is not certain as to how far they had to go to reach the termite mound.

David Batzofin (cc)

The returning raiding party with their spoils. As their diet consists only of termites, they returned with as many as they could carry. Interestingly enough a raiding party will not return to an already raided termite mound immediately. Thus giving the termites a chance to replenish their losses. These ants do not forage individually, but only as a large coordinated party.

David Batzofin (cc)

The successful and victorious raiding party disappears into the grass to share and enjoy the fruits of their labour with the rest of the colony.

10 Interesting facts about Elephants

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.

What type of guide do you want to be?

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.

A wilderness Photographer who became a professional Field Guide

People come to EcoTraining for a variety of reasons. Some want to become safari guides. Some want a gap year of adventure. Some just want to learn. Then you get some who want to be better photographers.

Bioturbation and how this contributes to the well-being of the planet

If bioturbation did not occur, plant growth would be severely reduced, thus negatively impacting the overall productivity of the planet. We owe a great deal to all these industrious animals for the preservation of our planet.

Good Work Foundation training

Konica Minolta sponsors field guide students from the Good Work Foundation to train at EcoTraining

In August 2017, EcoTraining welcomed a group of eleven young individuals from the Good Work Foundation (GWF) bizhub Conservation Academy in Mpumalanga. Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA) in partnership with GWF sponsored these previously disadvantaged candidates to pursue their dream of becoming accredited Field Guides.