Professional Field Guide Africa – Marc Aurel
Field guide adventure in South Africa and Botswana: Learn more about Marc Aurel's time as a wilderness student in our one-year Professional Field Guide course in Southern Africa.
Name: Marc Aurel
Project: Professional Field Guide course in South Africa and Botswana
Locations: Selati, Karongwe, Makuleke, Pridelands/South Africa and Mashatu/Botswana
Duration: August 2018 until July 2019
Support from the Natucate team:
Professional Field Guide course in South Africa and Botswana – Feedback: Seven questions for Marc Aurel
1) Could you give us a brief overview of your activities in the course?
Student for the first 5 months. You learn to drive a game drive vehicle properly and a lot of facts about the animal world, plant world, bird world; general understanding of the ecosystem. Soft skills are also very important. The remaining 6 months I worked as a Back-up Guide for Natucate’s partner organisation; second rifle on walks and daytime normal camp duties; cleaning of fattrap, firepit; vehicle checks, woodrun, rubbish run, camp cleaning, maintenance.
2) What were the biggest challenges for you during the course?
My biggest obstacle was the language, as it is essential to be a guide. However, it only took a few weeks to find your way around and after 3 months the obstacle was overcome.
3) Was there something you liked most? Or something you remember particularly negatively?
The experiences you can gain are unique – especially when roaming the bush on foot. It is also great that all camps are not fenced. However, the organization/structure of Natucate’s partner is not always appropriate. Often there is a change of instructor, the bush bus does not bring a trailer or there is not enough food. In my course the problems were rather small, though.
4) Did you have certain expectations before you travelled to the course?
I didn't have any specific expectations. I was a bit surprised when the Level 1 course was about soft skills / guiding skills, but I liked that very much.
5) Have you done anything in your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
During my holidays I was once in Stellenbosch and once in Zimbabwe; I can recommend both. In retrospect, however, I would recommend that you plan your holidays on site, as you can then travel with people you get to know there. Nevertheless, you should plan and pay for everything on site in time, as otherwise you can quickly get problems, especially if you are in a place where there is no connection.
6) What tips would you give to other participants?
Take less clothes with you! Particularly when it comes to underpants, t-shirts, socks. You can wash by hand and don't have that much luggage then. Do not take books with you except for a bird book. There's a library there. Books are just extremely heavy. Powerbank to charge your own devices helps a lot. Solar panel is also a good idea.
7) Can you estimate how many additional costs you had on site?
Transfers will always be at least between 80-150 EUR, sometimes even more. If you stay in a Airbnb you only need to spend 30-40 EUR per night. Usually this is even suitable for 2 persons. Food is cheap in South Africa. Fast food shops cost about half the price that is common in Germany.
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