Course: Professional Field Guide
Location: South Africa and Botswana (plus lodge placement in Namibia)
Duration: October 2017 - September 2018 – 1 year
Support from NATUCATE: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Arrival: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Project partner: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Accommodation: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
1) Could you give us a short overview of your activities/tasks in the project?
During the first half of the PFG course our course leaders taught us everything we needed to know about the African bush, its inhabitants and our future tasks as guides. The following six months gave us the chance to gain hands-on experience and to test our previously acquired knowledge as a lodge intern.
2) What were your biggest challenges during the course?
Since I am a rather calm and shy person it was quite hard for me to speak in front of a group in the beginning. However, I experienced so much and became more and more confident. Now I really enjoy talking to other people and telling them about the African bush.
3) Was there anything that you liked most? Or anything that left you with a negative impression?
I really liked the daily routine in the class; as the study stress has always been outweighed by fun and joy. But if you decided to give it your all you got the chance to do so!
The only negative thing I noticed was the fact that the “7-day short courses” are actually only four-day-courses. Two days are for arrival and departure and another whole day is for the exam. So in the end you only have four days for learning. It would have been helpful if I had received this information beforehand.
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?
The course met my expectations very well!
5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to other participants?
In my free time I didn’t do anything special.
6) Which tips/recommendations would you give to future participants who would like to do this course? (e.g. tips that would have helped you before your journey)
Take enough sunscreen and not too many normal clothes with you. I noticed that I brought too many “city clothes”, but actually needed more bush clothes. A local SIM-Card is actually your best friend; MTN worked well in most of the camps. If possible, you should also bring a small musical instrument with you, like a ukulele, drum or harmonica for the evening. Besides that, a backpack is a better option than a suitcase, because there isn’t much room in the tent.
7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had? – We can give this information to following participants
The transfers were quite expensive but were paid directly via credit card. Per week I paid about R200 for drinks and R100 for the SIM-Card.
8) Here is some space for further questions/suggestions/ideas/reports or stories:
Thank you so much for everything! Your 24/7 support was extremely helpful. I think this is one of the reasons why the trip was so awesome.