“My name is Markus Eichelberg, I am a 49-year-old guy from Germany.”
Markus Eichelberg completed an EcoTraining Kenya Safari Guide course in August this year … and now he is a nature guide in Germany!
“Back in 2009 I had a little side job as a photographer, and became more and more interested in nature and landscape photography. I wanted to treat myself – a photographic safari in Africa. A once-in-a–lifetime-experience, as I thought then,” he says.
“After some research I found that a tour like that would stretch far beyond my financial capacity at that moment. Through an article in our daily newspaper I found the contact details of EcoTraining, and called them up regarding a wildlife photography course. Sadly, this course was only five days long – way too short for a flight around the world. The staff at the EcoTraining office offered me another course – a two-week EcoQuest course at a very reasonable price. I was convinced, and went ahead and booked a course with EcoTraining.
“Back home after the course and reflecting on the two weeks, my interest in nature conservation was awakened. I started doing some research to see what options there are in Germany to educate myself and to do some kind of nature guiding here. I found a program for a nature guide certification run over several weekend workshops.
“As there are no big and dangerous animals in Germany and most of the ‘nature’ in fact is cultured land, the education is very different from the EcoTraining courses. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about Germany, “the Forest Land”, the interaction between humans and nature’ and the threats for habitats, plants and animals in this highly industrialised country.
“I wanted to share my nature experience and my growing knowledge about nature, ecology and conservation, as well as my skills in nature photography. Thus, I created a multi-vision show about the EcoQuest Course and offered a wide range of walks, bicycle tours, field trips and photo workshops.
“The desire for Africa returned. I wanted to do an EcoTraining course again. As my interests changed over the years and my English skills improved a little, I decided to give it a go and to do a Safari Guide course. South Africa is beautiful and I will go back there someday, but this time I was looking for something different.
“I chose Kenya, the Lewa Wilderness Conservancy with the four-week Safari Guide course in August 2014. It was a perfect choice. The countryside, the dense and variability of wildlife, the engaging staff of LEWA, the other likeable students and our memorable instructor Andreas Fox – I will never forget these amazing four weeks.
“We learned so much during two weeks of game driving, two weeks of bush walking and 18 lectures. It was challenging and hard work to pass, but at least I made it. Now I have the KPSGA Bronze Level and the EcoTraining Field Guide Certificate.
“Now the fire of conservation is burning in me. I am preparing the multi-vision show LEWA Milele – A Spark of Hope, to share my experiences and to inform the people here in Germany about the beauty of Africa, the threat of poaching rhinos and elephants, and our responsibility to protect the habitats and animals. Further on, I plan to do some nature guiding with German groups in southern and eastern Africa.
“Hopefully we meet in Africa someday.”