What’s better than hanging out with Grandpa in the bush?

This story is a special tribute to grandfathers on Father’s Day. This is a heart-warming story of a grandfather, his grandson and an adventure in the African wilderness!

If you can remember, towards the end of last year EcoTraining ran an exciting and educational radio programme on Pretoria FM. EcoTraining’s very own instructors Jan Hendrik, Quentin Swanevelder and Jasper Visser were guest speakers on the show called ‘Veldfeite met EcoTraining’ with the show’s host, Pienaar Lochner exploring topics about ecology, bush myths, dangerous game approach and much more.

We also ran a bush quiz competition in conjunction with the show and our reigning winner of the 7-day EcoQuest Course turned out to be 13-year-old Willie junior Conradie. His knowledge and participation on the show proved without a doubt that he was a worthy winner.

Winner Willie Conradie Jnr has lived with his grandmother and grandfather Mr Willie Conradie Snr since birth. He attends high school at Hoërskool Hans Strijdom in Mookgopong (Naboomspruit) and stays in the school hostel.

Since Willie Jnr was too young to visit the bush unaccompanied, we invited his grandfather to join him. Overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement to bond with his grandson on an adventure in the bush, he accepted. EcoTraining sent Willie Jnr and Snr on a road trip to Makuleke camp with… can you guess?… Our media man, Willie van Eeden! I mean, what are the chances?!

The EcoQuest took place from 25th to 31st March and we hear that Willie Jnr stole the hearts and respect of the EcoTraining staff. His politeness towards others and eager admiration for the bush encompasses all that we try to achieve here at EcoTraining.

If you can remember, towards the end of last year EcoTraining ran an exciting and educational radio programme on Pretoria FM. EcoTraining’s very own instructors Jan Hendrik, Quentin Swanevelder and Jasper Visser were guest speakers on the show called ‘Veldfeite met EcoTraining’ with the show’s host, Pienaar Lochner exploring topics about ecology, bush myths, dangerous game approach and much more. We also ran a bush quiz competition in conjunction with the show and our reigning winner of the 7-day EcoQuest Course turned out to be 13-year-old Willie junior Conradie. His knowledge and participation on the show proved without a doubt that he was a worthy winner. Winner Willie Conradie Jnr has lived with his grandmother and grandfather Mr. Willie Conradie Snr since birth. He attends high school at Hoërskool Hans Strijdom in Mookgopong (Naboomspruit) and stays in the school hostel. Since Willie Jnr was too young to visit the bush unaccompanied, we invited his grandfather to join him. Overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement to bond with his grandson on an adventure in the bush, he accepted. EcoTraining sent Willie Jnr and Snr on a road trip to Makuleke camp with… can you guess?... Our media man, Willie van Eeden! I mean, what are the chances?! The EcoQuest took place from 25th to 31st March and we hear that Willie Jnr stole the hearts and respect of EcoTraining staff. His politeness towards others and eager admiration for the bush encompasses all that we try to achieve here at EcoTraining.
Willie Jnr and Willie Snr taking a break in the fever tree forest

After the trip, we received a pleasing email from Mr. Willie Conradie saying,

AFRIKAANS translation

“Ek is deel van die twee Willie Conradies wat die Quest van 25/3 to 31/3 “ervaar” het. Ek wil net weereens se baie dankie vir almal wat betrokke was. Dit was ‘n besondere ervaring vir ons altwee. Baie leersaam en verrykend.

‘n Voorstel: Ek sal aanbeveel dat julle ‘n gesins- of ouer-kind pakket saamstel omdat dit beslis bydrae tot versterking van die band tussen ouer/s en kind. Ek het dit ervaar. Ons mense in die stede wat nog minder met die natuur te doen het as ek sal baie baat vind daarby.

Weer ‘n keer baie dankie vir ‘n onvergeetlike ervaring.”

ENGLISH translation

“I’m part of the two Willie Conradie’s who “experienced” the Quest from 25/3 to 31/3. I would like to thank you once again to all those involved. It was a special experience for both of us. Very informative and enriching.

A proposal: I would recommend that you set up a family or parent-child package because it definitely contributes to strengthening the relationship between parent / s and child. I experienced it. Us people in the cities that have less to do with nature and would benefit greatly from this experience.

Once again thank you for an unforgettable experience.”

Watch this video of Willie jnr. as he runs through his experience on the course.

In the post-course interview on radio, Willie Snr. spoke about some unbelievable encounters including an elephant in camp on the day of arrival, on foot encounters with a breeding herd of buffalo and more elephants. One of the highlights of this course was their interaction with wild animals on foot. But what stood out most, was the time he got to spend with his grandson, to experience new things together made their bond so much stronger.

Willie and Ross looking at tracks in the sand

Listen to the post-course interview of Willie Snr. *This interview was done in Afrikaans

We want to encourage fathers and sons to always make time for each other, experience new things together and make unforgettable memories. On behalf of EcoTraining, we would like to wish all the fathers and father figures a special Happy Father’s Day!

If this story inspires you to take a father and son or daughter adventure in nature then let us help you plan a special educational and bonding experience. Contact Leana on enquiries@ecotraining.co.za.