All applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a good level of English. We will also require a certificate of vaccination and a doctor's certificate confirming that you are healthy and fit enough to take part in the course. No specialist knowledge is required – it's far more important for you to be interested in biology and enthusiastic about ornithology. You also need to make sure to get travel insurance before departing to Southern Africa.
You will arrive in Johannesburg one day before the course begins. You will be picked up for the course on the following day. You will be brought back to Johannesburg at the end of your course before continuing your travels or returning home.
Instead of focusing on the bush and the big five as you would with a traditional safari, you will focus on the smaller residents of the African wilderness. The birding course gives you an opportunity to find out how to identify different birds based on their appearance and call, or to deepen your existing knowledge. In addition to some theoretical groundwork, most of your activity during the course will be a practical nature. There is no need to be a fanatical birder to take part. The course is suitable for people with any level of expertise and will be an enriching experience which will make you aware of the details of the African wilderness. The one-week course will take you through the African wilderness on foot and in off-road vehicles to gather interesting new insights into the ecosystem.
We realise that some of the people on our projects in Southern Africa want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, in particular the big five, as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.
Your accommodation for the duration of the birding course in Southern Africa will be in either stilt houses (Makuleke) or two-man tents (Mashatu, Selati, Karongwe). When staying in Makuleke you will have access to your own bathroom attached to the stilt house. Shared bathrooms are available in the other camps. All camps have a large common room for training, eating together and spending evenings with the group. The camps are not fenced in, and tourists have no access to the site. This gives you a special connection to the natural environment and allows you to enjoy the remoteness of your location.
Everybody interested in our Wilderness Experiences should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.