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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.

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.

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.

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.

Elephant Safari - Ecotraining - The Botanical Giants of Africa

Lake Ndlovu ~ The Pridelands Experience

Pridelands camp is many things. In this blog, Victoria shares what makes Pridelands the unique and wild camp that it is.

Learning About Butterflys Butterfly - Ecotraining

Learn About Butterflies Day

It would be impossible to learn everything about butterflies in one day but let’s start by exploring some of the practical reasons for being so pretty. Victoria dive into the ornate nature of butterfly colouration and we discover that a butterfly is so much more than beauty and grace.

Walking Safari - Ecotraining - Apprentice Field Guide Course

A Students View on the Apprentice Field Guide Course

“I made the decision to travel to South Africa. Upon arrival, I knew that I was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime! No surprise that is exactly how it is playing out…” Student, Graham Ramon, gives us a glimpse into the first few weeks of his time on the Apprentice Field Guide course.

EcoTraining Quiz: Migratory Birds

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining Quiz!


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Primates

EcoTraining Quiz: Primates

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining Quiz!


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Loal is lekker - Ecotraining

EcoTraining Quiz: South Africa is ‘Lekker’

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining ‘Lekker’ Quiz!


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EcoTraining Quiz: Cuckoo’s

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining Quiz!


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EcoTraining Quiz: Become a Field Guide |||

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining Quiz!


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EcoTraining Bird Quiz - Brood Parasite - EcoTraining ELearning - Bird Eggs

EcoTraining Quiz: Waterbirds

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The Trails Guide - Ecotraining

EcoTraining Crossword: Trails Guide

Test your knowledge with this week’s EcoTraining Crossword!

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A Reconnection with the Wilderness on Trail

“Moving around by day, looking, listening, smelling, touching and tasting. Reawakening your senses” – this is the essence of a Wilderness Trail

EcoTraining Quiz: Trails & Tracking

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Eco-Isolation with EcoTraining

Eco-Isolation with EcoTraining

Jennifer Palmer is an impassioned wildlife biologist, a global educator, public speaker, and an intrepid lover of nature. She is one of the founders of Women for Wildlife, and through her work, she has become a trusted advisor to nonprofits, governments, foundations, film producers and business leaders around the world. We were very happy to host her at one of our EcoTraining Camps during the lock-down and help her ‘eco-isolate’ in a safe place that brought her so much joy.

Swimming with Elephants - EcoTraining

Swimming with Elephants

Have you ever seen elephants disappear? No, it’s not a magic trick but it is something we have seen with our own eyes.

EcoTraining - A Worldwide Community

EcoTraining: A Worldwide Community

EcoTraining’s Worldwide Community brings both personal and global benefits

By Zach Savage

There are so many reasons to choose EcoTraining as a place of learning, whether you want to have a career as a safari guide or take a wildlife course and become a custodian of nature. One of these is being exposed to the most beautiful wilderness areas in the different camps. But another – perhaps unexpected – reason that EcoTraining camps are such a great place to learn is that you will meet people from all over the world and from all reaches of life. Actually, for me, this is one of the best parts about spending time in an EcoTraining camp. Far from only being confined to a particular geographical area, your world is expanded so much, and you learn more about life and people than most ever will.

The first night at camp

On your first night in camp, there’s a fireside gathering where everyone says where they are from in the world: Germany, South Africa, Netherlands, Mexico, USA, Britain, Switzerland, Zambia, Australia, Bulgaria, Italy, Denmark – the list goes on. It’s an opportunity to hear about each individual, learn what their outlook on life is, how they were raised, what they believe in and many other insights into a life completely different from your own. There are many lessons to be learned from this: you can draw differences between their life and yours, but it is the similarities between you and someone from halfway across the planet that really connects you to a feeling of unity that we all experience when we are in the bush.

Building a worldwide community around a camp fire

Sitting around the fire get to know one another (c) Zach Savage

You will find that you build relationships in the bush much quicker than you would under normal circumstances. In camp you are interacting with a small group of people, day in and day out, for weeks – or even for months -at a time. You can become very close to people very quickly. And, for the most part, the intimate nature of camp life is only beneficial as you are spending time with like-minded people who are there because they love nature and want to learn more. You get to know people so well that often bonds and friendships are formed that can last long after the course has finished.

EcoTraining’s Ethos

The ethos of EcoTraining is to create Guides and Guardians – people who care about nature and its conservation and then to have these people guide and teach others to also respect nature and protect it in every way possible. When someone leaves EcoTraining, 99% of the time they are leaving as a guardian, spreading that awareness and passion for nature all over the world, and so helping create a worldwide community of Guides and Guardians.

In this way, doing an EcoTraining course is not just about gaining a qualification or having a holiday during which you significantly add to your knowledge. It is about creating much greater respect for nature on a global level so that we can preserve it for generations to come – and play a role in one of the most important issues of our time.