Footloose and Free

Footloose & Free

A pilot on Air France for the past 15 years, Jean-Louis started flying as a bush pilot in 1989 – traversing South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and the Ivory Coast. He has clocked over 10 200 flying hours, been hijacked, and safely crash-landed a plane. His life experiences are riveting and honest.

“A lot changed during Covid,” he says. “I love nature and Africa, and while on the internet, I found EcoTraining, so I signed up for the 1-year Professional Field Guide course, got a year off from Air France with the option to go back, and here I am. He says the instructors are top-class, and he was particularly impressed with the first aid course.”

baby giraffe
Giraffe – Photograph © Cameron Clements
Jean-Louis Devaux – Photograph © Vinicio Herrera

“I am a free man now and want to choose another life, flying small planes. My idea is to be a guide and use what I have learnt here on course to take people to Namibia or wherever, flying them between lodges and camps and travelling the country as their pilot and guide. There are many possibilities. I want to remain free.”

Being in his fifties in a group of students in their early twenties is challenging, admits Jean-Louis.

 “Different ages see and appreciate things differently, but I am pleased to have my tent and space. Ultimately, everyone here aims to make Earth a better place.”

Lioness at Pridelands – Photograph © Cameron Clements

He says it’s

“definitely going to be difficult to go back to Paris, but my two daughters are there. It’s a different world with traffic and stress.”

So Jean-Louis is methodically plotting his return to flying the skies of southern Africa again, which is very familiar territory to him.

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?

This comprehensive and unique one-year course has been designed to supply the safari industry with high-calibre FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified professional field guides. Students live and learn at four different wilderness camps, exposing them to diverse ecological and geographical terrains, wildlife species, climates, and more.

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

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