Field Guide Level 1 Africa – Alain

Field Guide Level 1 in Botswana and South Africa: Learn more about Alain's time as a wilderness in our Field Guide Level 1 course that he joined as part of his sabbatical.

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Alain
Reviews
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Profile

Name: Alain

Age: 48

Course: Field Guide Level 1

Location: Mashatu/Botswana and Karongwe/South Africa

Duration: Beginning of October until end of ovember 2017

Rating

Support from NATUCATE:

Arrival:

Project partner:

Accommodation:

Field Guide Level 1 – Feedback: Seven questions for Alain

1) Could you give us a short overview of your tasks in the course?

I took part in a two-month training as a Field Guide Level 1 – even though, I participated rather as a tourist than a student because I didn’t take the final exam. What the course was about: Acquiring essential knowledge about the flora and fauna of Southern Africa and learning how to share this knowledge with safari guests.

What a typical day looked like: getting up at 5am, short breakfast, game drive/walk in the African bush from 6-10am (from the third day onwards, students must conduct these drives themselves – instructed by an experienced guide, of course – and act as a safari guide), breakfast at 10pm, afterwards activities in the camp (e.g. learn how to change a tire etc.), lunch at around 1pm, siesta, classroom hours in the early afternoon (astronomy, taxonomy, animal behaviour, meteorology), another game drive/walk in the later afternoon (with a sundowner and a short night safari), dinner, campfire or movie night.

2) What were your biggest challenges during the project?

You need a few days to get used to the new rhythm and the daily routine. Moreover, communicating in English with lots of technical terms can be challenging.

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3) Was there anything that you liked most?

I really loved the game walks, especially in Mashatu – beautiful landscapes with open savanna and a fascinating plant and animal life. Moreover, I enjoyed Tracking and Field Observations – to find out which tracks belong to which animal is so exciting and can sometimes be a real challenge.

Some of the instructors have deeply impressed me with their personality and their profound knowledge.

In Mashatu it was sometimes a bit chaotic, this is what I did not like. Moreover, 20 people in one group were too many.

4) Did you have certain expectations before you started the project?

Of course, I had certain expectations, also because of the information I received by NATUCATE. In the end everything was completely different. I think, for this course, it is extremely hard to describe the exact course schedule to someone who has never been there before. It was more challenging than I expected (I might have been quite exhausted from my job which was very stressful right before I joined the course).

Looking back, I think my time in the course has been great. The amount of new things you learn and experience is really remarkable. Even though several months have passed since I left the course – I still miss the African nature.

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5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to following participants?

We didn’t have much free time. My leisure time activities: relaxing and enjoying nature.

6) Which tips would you give to other participants who would like to do this project?

Bring snacks and a bottle of rum or whiskey.

7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had?

I only had a few extra costs. You should bring some cash for drinks (beer, soft drinks).

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