Profes­sional Field Guide Southern Africa – James

James spent one year in South Africa's and Botswana's magical wilderness to become a Professional Field Guide. Learn more about his adventure in the wild.



Name: James

Age: 38

Project: Professional Field Guide in Africa

Locations: South Africa and Botswana

Duration: Beginning of February until end of December 2019 – 11 months


Support from the Natucate-Team:


Project partner:


Professional Field Guide in Africa – Feedback: Eight questions for James

1) Could you give us a short overview about your activities during the course??
All of the different courses involved in the Professional Field Guide Course, daily activities in the bush, occasional tasks such as duty team, cleaning vehicles and alien plant removal.


2) What were your biggest challenges during the course?
I wanted to do well on the course, so put a lot of time and energy into my studies. This was certainly challenging but very enjoyable as I was interested and motivated to do well. Occasionally it was challenging to live and spend so much time with the same small group of people, but this was to be expected and easily managed. The internship section of the year was also challenging at the beginning, as the workload was intense and the learning curve steep. That being said, I wanted to learn – so I got my wish.


3) Was there anything you liked most? Or anything that left you with a negative impression?
My favourite aspect was the deep knowledge our instructors had of the bush and the invaluable experience of spending extended time out in the bush. My only negative impression of Ecotraining was that the administrative side of the company sometimes seemed a bit disorganised. A couple of minor financial points: the cost of the Bush Bus (when not incorporated in the overall fee) was exorbitant, it felt a bit as though Ecotraining were taking advantage of a captive audience. Likewise, the costs for family members to attend graduation seemed disproportionately high.


4) Did you have certain expectations before you started the course?
Overall the course met my expectations – and I would say the quality of the training provided exceeded them.

5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to following participants?
Played the guitar! I tried to make sure I had an hour of downtime every day, and I’d also recommend going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep more often than not. And when in Selati, play lots of volleyball.


6) Which recommendations would you give to other participants?
Focus on the huge privilege of getting to spend so much time in the bush with people who know it inside out. Don’t engage with group politics or fret about the small stuff, look at the big picture.

7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had?
I did my best to pay as little attention to how much I was spending as possible.

8) Here is some space for further stories or ideas:
Not really!

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