Location: Makuleke and Karongwe in South Africa
Duration: December 2017 – 2 weeks
Support from NATUCATE: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Arrival: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Project Partner: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Accommodation: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
1) Could you give us a short overview of your activities/tasks in the course?
Every day in the morning and the afternoon there will be a game drive or game walk that will take 3 to 4 hours each. After lunch there will be a lecture about topics like tracking, birding or the local geology. In between activities and meals there will be some free time that everyone can use for activities in the camp.
2) What were your biggest challenges during the course?
To clean off the dirt from my feet :-D
3) Was there anything that you liked most? Or anything that left you with a negative impression?
In general, I really liked the funny evenings together with the group around the campfire. Moreover, the sleep-outs in Makuleke were a surprisingly great experience, as I am usually afraid of every crawly insect and never thought that I would sleep as good as I did. My personal highlight was the encounter with a herd of elephants that comprised at least 40 animals during our bush walk with Ross. To hide out in the bushes while a dozen curious elephants walked past us was a really special experience.
The thing that was – to my mind – missing in the course was the educational aspect. I would have preferred to also have some practical lessons besides the theoretical ones.
4) Did you have certain expectations before you started the course? If yes, did the project meet your expectations, disappoint or maybe even exceed them?
I tried to start the EcoQuest course without any specific expectations. In advance I had great respect of sleeping in a tent in the wilderness and in the end it was one of the best things I have done. To be in the free nature for 2 whole weeks is just incredible. Moreover, I think it was great to get to know so many people that you would normally never meet in your daily surroundings.
5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
As the course only takes 2 weeks, your free time consists of a few hours every day that you will spend in the camp. You can read a book, catch up on your sleep, spend some social time with your group mates and have a nice chat or look for a peaceful spot in the camp to enjoy the nature and the sounds of the bush.
6) Which tips/recommendations would you give to other participants who would like to do this course? (e.g. tips that would have helped you before your journey)
Take as less as possible with you, in general you don´t need much. Enjoy the “simple life” in nature – offline! The only gadget that you should need electricity for, will be your camera. To bring a sleeping bag for your sleep-outs in the bush makes sense, but you can also borrow equipment if needed. Very important: bring a head torch. It looks silly but it is really handy.
Concerning the literature: the recommended books are all very good, nevertheless for the EcoQuest course you do not need to buy all of them by yourself, as they can all be found in the camp libraries. They are neither part of the lessons nor will there be any test questions from them, as there is no learning commitment in the EcoQuest course.
7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had? – We can give this information to future participants.
In the bush you will only need money for additional beverages from the fridge (soft drinks, beer/wine) – therefore it really depends on your thirst how much money you will spend (1 beer costs roughly 14 Rand). Furthermore, you can buy shirts, caps etc. in the camp. During my two-week stay I have spent round about 100€ for beverages, a shirt and tips.