Follow your Heart

Follow your Heart

As a university student, Sam has already completed three years of a five-year course in the environment and law studies, which he will go back and complete in full.

“But I also realised I didn’t want an office job,” he says. “I heard about EcoTraining from a friend and looked at photos on Instagram. My parents supported my decision to come because they said it would change me greatly, and it already has. I have learnt independence and to know what I want.”

lion tracks
Follow the tracks – Photograph © Scott Ramsay
Sam Bakel
Sam Bakel – Photograph © Keri Harvey

A Well Structured Day

Sam says his bush knowledge is greatly improved, and he enjoys that the day has structure.

“I love starting the day walking in the bush, then we come back and have brunch, maybe take a nap, have some free time and learning time, and later we go out on the afternoon activity. It’s all very balanced. The instructors are accommodating and great mentors too. The camp is very comfortable and meets all my expectations.”

In a comic twist, hyenas stole Sam’s undies while drying and left him with just a single pair; he laughs about it. Being at Pridelands, adjacent to Hoedspruit, it was easy to get replacements the next day, so it all ended well.

“Because the camp is unfenced, I love waking up the next morning to see which animals came through the night, leaving their tracks behind. Waking up with an elephant standing at my tent was a bit scary but also very cool. The whole experience here has been fantastic.”

Elephant herd at Pridelands
Gentle GIANTS at Pridelands – Photograph © Marno de Klerk

Sam does have a word of advice for those considering doing an EcoTraining course too, and he speaks from experience. “If you know it’s for you, do it. Listen to your gut and trust it. Being here has given me peace of mind. It makes me happy and truly soothes my soul. 

How to become a Field Guide | EcoTraining Professional Field Guide

The African bush is calling you! Will you answer the call?

Would you like to know more about the EcoTraining Professional Field Guide Course? Here is your chance to learn more and get an in-depth idea of your year with EcoTraining.

About the Author: 

Keri Harvey is a Travel Writer and Photographer.

For Keri, travel is life, like breathing. She is a modern-day nomad from her home in the Cape to Cairo, Abidjan to Zanzibar, into the Middle East, Europe and Asia. With about 50 countries visited date, her stories are told on blogs and websites and in over 3 000 magazine feature articles spanning over 20 years.

Previously an award-winning editor on various South African lifestyle, travel and wildlife publications, Keri has worked freelance since 2001 and published articles in over 100 magazine titles. Every day, Keri wakes up to write or to travel, and her greatest wish is to inspire people through her stories to pack their bags and allow the travel bug to bite.

About the Author:
Keri Harvey

Keri Harvey

Explore more

Instructor Richard Davis giving a lecture to several students in nature

Wildlife Conservation with EcoTraining

EcoTraining showcases its commitment to wildlife conservation and environmental preservation by promoting sustainable practices and educating people about protecting endangered species. EcoTraining sets the bar high with its courses, trains field guides, and instils a sense of responsibility towards nature and wildlife.

Read more
a group of students looking at tracks in the sand

Understanding Wildlife Tracking

The ancient art of tracking unveils the secrets of animal behaviour. We explore the key steps of identifying, interpreting, and tracking wild animals in the heart of the South African wilderness.

“Do not be afraid to get dirty. Get down on your knees and have a close look at the tracks. It is essential to take your time. You can make a mistake by being too quick on the trigger when identifying tracks,” said Gerhard Delport, a former EcoTracker student.

Read more
students at lanner gorge

EcoTraining Celebrates 30 Years of Excellence

Thirty years of EcoTraining is a significant milestone. This celebration is a testament to EcoTraining’s long history of promoting field guiding and wildlife conservation. It’s an opportunity to inspire the next generation of passionate individuals who will continue the legacy of creating guardians of the natural world.

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.