Bush Adventures of a Media Intern

I have always loved nature and animals; I would watch nature documentaries instead of cartoons on Saturday mornings. The number of times I obsessively watched “Shark Week” or “Big Cat Week” on National Geographic is too many to recall. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, back when I was a teenager, I would answer along the lines of a criminal investigator, a wedding planner, and a psychiatrist. I had many interests; however, I needed direction. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about my love for nature while trying to find my place in this world.

I excelled at the languages and creative subjects in school and did not do biology and chemistry. After high school, I got a degree in International Business and have worked in that field ever since. Looking back on my education, I would have done things differently.

My rekindled love for the bush

I had started a new job eight days before we had to go into lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a lonely and depressing time for me, as it must have been for many. My sister-in-law sent me a link for an online safari show one day. I had never heard of WildEarth, but I started watching and loved it. I would watch 6 hours a day and learn so much about the African Wild. When EcoTraining was added as a location, first Karongwe and then Pridelands, I looked into this company training people to become Safari Guides. I saw that there was a possibility to do online courses.

I knew being a Safari Guide was not for me, as I am not a people person at all, but there was a course offering all the knowledge without the guiding part. I did this enthusiastically, and in the end, I knew I had to go and be where all these beautiful things were. Making it happen took another two years.

Finding my passion

During the Pandemic, I bought a camera to keep myself occupied during my many walks to a small forested area near my home. I quickly figured out I only wanted to photograph animals. I had no interest in landscapes, people, or cities. While doing this, I figured out that to photograph the animals, I have to be able to find them. I taught myself some things about tracks and the places to look. I attended the International Tracking Symposium and was amazed by the number of people worldwide using different techniques to find and study animals. Since then, I have upgraded my camera equipment and taken several courses to refine my skills.

And more happiness

I went to a holiday fair in January, and EcoTraining was there. We talked, and I signed up for the 28-day Ecotracker course starting in April. The four weeks I spent in Karongwe and Pridelands were intense, hot, engaging, and some of the happiest times of my life. I learned a lot, and when the course ended, I knew I had to get back somehow.

All about being a media intern

I jumped at the opportunity to return for a media internship with EcoTraining. I was so excited when I arrived back at EcoTraining in November for the internship. I mostly worked on getting as much footage as possible, both video and photos. I also did some short videos for socials and posted stories on Instagram.

I spent most of my time at Pridelands, but I also visited Karongwe, Mashatu, and Makuleke. All the reserves have their unique environment and wildlife. Pridelands was my favourite due to the wildlife sightings, even at camp around the dam. Taking photos and videos of the wildlife and the students’ activities was fun and challenging. To be back in the bush, surrounded by animal sounds and signs, made me smile daily. I did not mind the lack of sleep, the heat, the last-minute requests, having to switch camps, and the humidity, although yes, I complained about it a lot at the time. It was all worth it in the end.

Spending time with the students and staff, who all share a passion for wildlife in one form or another while being surrounded by such biodiversity brought out my creative side and allowed me to improve my photography. It has rekindled my love of nature, wildlife, and Africa, and I am thankful to EcoTraining for giving me this opportunity.

I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know where and that is where the WILD things are.

EcoTraining is an FGASA-endorsed training provider accredited by CATHSSETA.

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

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For more information on the 28-day EcoTracker Course, contact [email protected] or call +27 (0)13 7522532

28 day EcoTracker Course: Animal Monitoring

A first-of-its-kind tracking course in South Africa! 🐾 We join EcoTraining Instructor Tsundzukani Hlongwane in Karongwe, where we join the current 28-day EcoTracker students. They give us a glimpse into their experiences while on the course. One incredible experience was tracking a female leopard with her cub. What an excellent opportunity!

About the Author:
Aniek Lomme

Aniek Lomme

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