Professional Field Guide – Daniela
Daniela decided to spend one year in Southern Africa's wild nature and took part in our Professional Field Guide course. In the following field report you can learn more about this magnificent time.
Professional Field Guide
By providing the Professional Field Guide course in Botswana and South Africa, NATUCATE’s partner offers an interesting opportunity to learn more about the country, its culture and, of course, its nature. Plus, you learn to see yourself as a part of the greater whole.
One thing I’d like to note here is the fact that people whose native language is not English are most likely to have some minor communication problems during their first weeks on site.
The list about birds and trees of Southern Africa which you receive from NATUCATE allows you to do some groundwork but you should research some terms before and internalise their meaning.
Especially when it comes to grasses it is very useful to know something about ‘Increaser’, ‘Decreaser’ and ‘Pioneer’ beforehand because you literally get bombed with these words the first days on site, although there was no lecture yet. Lectures and the guiding of participants start in the second week.
But if you study on your own with books from the large camp library and are willing to work with effort as well as diligence, you can quickly overcome these obstacles. It’s like in school: without your own commitment you won’t learn enough to get appropriate results.
The staff members in camp are friendly and helpful and are happy to answer your questions. Some simple but still important rules promise a good cooperation and really nice experiences in nature.
If you successfully pass the first course to become a Nature Guide there are other courses following right after. NATUCATE’s partner provides additional topics within the one-year course which qualifies you even more for the job than other guides educated by FGASA in the end. Apart from the Nature Guide basic class you should pass courses in navigation, basic birding and tracking in order to receive a certificate. Even if you don’t pass the exam you still do receive a certificate of attendance.
If you passed all these courses and the final assessment, the next course – the Field Guide course – starts. To pass this course, you will be instructed in rifle handling. Before, there will be four tests to proof your knowledge which you can gain from a book that relates to the course. If you pass the rifle handling test you have the chance to become a back-up guide – if you participated in 75 or more hours of hiking. Back-up guide, another qualification that can help you later.
All in all the structure of this course – especially in the beginning – is not very practical, particularly for people who don’t speak English as their native language. But with a little bit of effort you get to explore wonderful things and return back home with a handful of experiences. I highly recommend this course to people who are willing to gain knowledge on their own.
I personally like this course very much and I’ve already made new friends which was very easy because we all share a love for the same thing: nature.