Field Guide Level 1 Africa – Elke
From August to October 2021, Elke travelled to Southern Africa to become an Apprentice Field Guide. She now looks back on a wonderful time. Learn more in the following review which she wrote together with her fellow guide student Hanna.
Field guide training in late 2021
As we watched the sun slowly disappear behind the mountains on our last evening in the bush with our new friends, we started to realise what a wonderful experience was coming to an end.
After eight weeks in South Africa, it feels like we've been here forever and that we belong right here. We have learned so much within the last 55 days. We drove a 4x4 vehicles around the bush ourselves, examined plants of which we didn't even know the name just a short time before, and talked about their medical uses and just some of the many customs of South African tribes. And every now and then we heard one of the many birds that we learned to recognise by their song.
New learnings, new impressions
A simple track in the sand tells a story by itself: What animal was here? In which direction did it run? Does it live in a group or alone? What does it eat and what adaptations to its special way of life does its digestive system show? And yes, in order to find out more about that we also looked closely at the remains.
No day resembled the other and each minute that we spent in the bush by car or on foot, we learned something new from our fantastic instructors. Not to mention the theoretical lessons and the tests we took two days later on what we had just learned.
A part of nature
At night we lay in our tents, listened to the leopards and hyaenas and reviewed the experiences of the day: Sitting in the grass with cheetahs, buffalo encounters on foot, elephants right next to our car or the snorting of hippos in the water... But the small things also captured us, and we all quickly understood that out in nature everything belongs together and that every creature, no matter how small, even the different types of rock, influences the coexistence of species and thus creates something big.
Conclusion guide course – 55 invaluable days
For the last 55 days, we have been part of this whole and part of the South African wilderness ourselves, and we wouldn't trade this incredible and intense time for anything! It was a challenging and sometimes exhausting time, but we will never forget the countless moments that were simply breathtaking.
A big thank you also to Natucate! The dedicated team was always available and help with getting prepared. Daniel, in particular, always knew what to do thanks to his own experience in Africa, and he also arranged a video conference so that our Natucate group could get to know each other a bit beforehand. This meant that some of us already met at the airport and were able to embark on the great adventure together :)
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