From cattle herder to EcoTraining instructor – Norman Chauke

I grew up in a village named Makuleke which is situated in the far north of the Limpopo Province.  As a young boy, I used to wake up very early in the morning and take the cattle out to graze on my way to school.  After school, I would come home, briefly do my homework and have something to eat, before I was sent back into the bush to find our cattle and bring them home.

There were consequences if I did not bring all our cattle home so I naturally became a diligent tracker.  Our food when I was a boy was mainly pap, it was not often that we had meat.  Sometimes my brothers and I would go hunting, setting traps to catch small birds such as hornbills and doves.  We would also sometimes go out in a bigger group with dogs to catch small game such as scrub hares, duiker and steenbok.  This was always good fun and I always enjoyed the chase!

The turning point in my life was when I had the privilege of doing a year-long Tracking course with Tracker Academy.  The co-founder of this company is Alex van den Heever and after I completed my tracking course I asked Alex to assist me in starting a career in track.  He sent me two EcoTraining courses: FGASA Level 1 Field Guide course and the Trails Guide course.  After successfully completing both these courses I stayed on with EcoTraining to help train students on a number of different courses, including tracking which is my speciality.

My time at EcoTraining has dramatically changed my life making me more aware of nature conservation and the ecosystems that I have been lucky enough to work in.

One of the things I love about EcoTraining is the people that work for the company.  They have one common goal of being nature conservationists and work hard to spread the word to the world about nature and why we should protect it.

Now that I’m working for EcoTraining my life has completely improved to the point that I have built myself a house, bought a car and am able to look after my family and my son Katlego.

As an EcoTraining employee I now strongly believe in educating people all over the world about conserving and protecting our wildlife, especially protecting our most loved rhinos, since they have become the target of false beliefs that are threatening their survival.

About the Author:
Picture of Annemi Zaaiman

Annemi Zaaiman

Explore more

bee on lavendar plant

Why Bees are Important?

Daily we hear about animals whose population numbers are in decline, but did you know that the humble Bees numbers are also in decline and they too are at risk of extinction?

Read more
arrow-marked babbler

The Magic of the Morning Chorus

Imagine yourself early in the morning in the middle of the South African bush; the sun is just about to rise, and the wildlife begins to wake up. You close your eyes and listen. What can you hear?

Read more
in the driver seat

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to sleep in a tent in the middle of the African bushveld, falling asleep to the sound of a lion roaring in the far, some jackals playing, hyenas laughing? Have you ever asked yourself if you are “made” for a life out there? Well, I did! Doing the 28-day course in Mashatu was more than just a break from everyday life. It was a deep dive into the core of life itself.

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.