A Year in Review

A year in review that started with a gallop

January was wild! February saw the wild dogs entertaining everyone at Ndlovu dam; EcoTraining’s School Road Shows were up and running for the first time since Covid with the promise that life, as we once knew it to be, was returning.

Then came the flood warnings, overflowing dams as Cyclone Freddy introduced himself, VPDA assessments in Londolozi, Wild Dogs finally out of the BOMA on Selati and a new game viewer for Karongwe.

Brimming with new life

February was wet – but the show had to go on. With all the falling rain, March and April were full of new life! Leopards, chameleons, and curious elephants are getting up close, all while EcoTraining is receiving our CHE certificate, and after all the flood warnings…an orange fire Index!

May got hot with unexpected opportunities to assist with conservation, interesting snake sightings, full moon lion encounters, more rain, and Africa’s Travel Indaba showcasing EcoTraining’s 30 years in business.

Fresh starts

Fresh starts are all around. June brought the heat with ARH assessments, an EcoTraining radio interview on World Environment Day, wildflowers, trail walking, birding masterclasses, Conservation talks, night watches, a new borehole in Selati, cycling for Wildlife,

Snow in July

Advanced birding, children exploring the wonders in Makuleke’s fever tree forest…and snow! If the first half of the year was anything to go by, snow in July shouldn’t have been a surprise—snow on Mariepskop, Dullstroom, and Long Tom Pass. But rain or snow, EcoTraining marched on.

EcoQuests, more radio interviews, meditation, dancing and situational awareness, more training in the Mara, gardening in Karongwe, still more breathtaking sunsets, buffalo, quiet times, elephants, groups bonding, Field ops with a difference, lots more water, big cats, fast cats, shy cats, cats escaping, cycads, new agents and the wild dogs making a kill in the middle of Selati camp!

January may have been wild – July was wilder! What fun in August and September – EcoTraining representing at the Curro Golf Day, morning walks, graduations, 200 elephants on a walkby in Botswana, Mara EcoQuests, new PFG groups, Karongwe big tuskers, active Hyena dens, close encounters of the Rhino kind and scorpion tracking.

More birding, dry pans up in Makuleke, settling into the new Mashatu camp, decorated drinks tables, a Blue Moon, bush dinners, camp visits, car washing, Wilderness Trails, Limpopo still flowing, Elephant Breeding herds, Spring in full swing, fires, new life, FGASA exams, USA meetings, Baobabs, Kori Bustard sighting on Selati, Heritage Day, more rain, crocodiles, and EcoTraining showcasing in Cape Town

The circle of life continues

October stepped up with scorpions, Lala Palms, star gazing, vultures, the circle of life, Flippie in Karongwe, Volleyball matches and Rugby World Cup champions (equally stressful), Makuleke turning green, Racket-tailed Rollers, those once dry pans now full of water again and Jacko lanterns in Pridelands.

Still, November gave us fun-filled moments with tracking, butterflies, fruits and dangerous flowers, bush tea, the morning chorus, Sable antelope, LBJ’s and colourful critters, Hippos at golden hour, sleeping lions, Selati Big birding weekend, planting trees in Kenya for International tree planting day, wildlife and farm life co-existing, soft skills training, and a trip to the Ngorongoro Crater.

The AGM in Karongwe focused on growth and areas of improvement, encouraging the staff to share their hearts and thoughts. Melodies from some ingenious musical instruments and special fireside moments followed the evening feast.

And the sightings continued – white lion, hedgehog, Kori Bustard on Pridelands, Ezulweni showing off, leopards and more. 

Moving into 2024 with enthusiasm

But, with such a year behind us, we can all go into 2024 with our heads held high, our eyes set on the prize, ready to not back down from the challenges we will face with the resolve and spirit we all have.

“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced”, J Keats.

FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified Professional Field Guide Course.

Immerse yourself in the African wilderness, expand your knowledge, and embark on a transformative learning experience with EcoTraining.

Sign up for the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course today! 

For more information on the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course, contact [email protected] or call +27 (0)13 7522532

About the Author:
Jaclyn Marx

Jaclyn Marx

Explore more


Bush Adventures of a Media Intern

After 87 days as a media intern for EcoTraining, I reflect on my time spent in the bush with many new memories and experiences. Being in Africa, out in nature, in unfenced camps, and surrounded by like-minded people is the definition of my happy place. Combined with the opportunity to grow my photography skills, this period of my life is only the start.

Read more
pangolin at night

The Mysterious Pangolin

Have you ever seen a pangolin? These mysterious creatures are facing severe threats to their survival, including poaching, electric fences, climate change, habitat loss and road mortality. Learn more about them on World Pangolin Day, 18 February 2023.

Read more
elephant sighting

When the Bug Bites

The reasons why people embark on an EcoTraining adventure are different for everyone. For some, it’s a clear-cut path to a professional career in guiding or ecotourism. For others, it’s simply a way to immerse themselves more. But whatever the reason, and whatever the walk of life of the students, EcoTraining offers a course for everyone. EcoTraining graduate Wim looks back on how his EcoTraining adventure came to be.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.