The Field Guide Level 1 training
After arriving in Selati, Daniel and the other participants were introduced to the procedures of the course by guide Andreas and were told about important safety and behavioral rules for living and moving in the wilderness. “Andreas was the first of our two guides in Selati. I was immediately impressed by his skills. By now, a genuine friendship has developed from our first encounter in the camp.” During game walks and drives, Andreas, and later on guide Dave, led Daniel and his team out in the game reserve. They watched zebras, giraffes, impalas, buffaloes, and many other animals, and learned how to identify birds according to their songs, or trees according to their leaves. In short: the practical lessons conveyed all the knowledge about the flora and fauna of Africa that a real Field Guide needs to have at first hand. But theory was also taught. Next to the teaching hours in the camp’s own class room, the students give presentations and write tests – that you need to learn for! “What I learned from my spontaneous action of doing the course: preparation is everything. Since I didn’t plan on completing the course before my departure to Africa, I didn’t get any of the recommended books. I had to make up for this last minute while the other participants already acquired this knowledge prior to the beginning of the course. That was quite a challenge”, Daniel points out. This didn’t lessen his excitement for the course in any way. “The time in Selati was simply great. I will never forget my first sleep over in the bush under the night sky, or how I saw a pride of lions for the first time on a walking safari, and especially: my first encounter with elephants.” Deeply moved by the experiences so far, Daniel and his team made their way to Mashatu/Botswana to start the second part of the course. The course program was similar as before: regular game drives and walks in Botswana’s wilderness, this time with guide Massi, combined with theory lessons and occasional tests. “Mashatu was another sequence of highlights. Mashatu itself is already one – breathtaking, how much wildlife there is to see. I was also able to watch elephants for the first time by foot and not “only” through the windows of the SUV.” But also the time in Mashatu came slowly to an end and the last two final exams were due. While the written exam is taken by all participants in the class room of the camp, the practical exams were extended over several days. “During the practical exam you are at the wheel of the SUV, guide your team through the bush and explain the flora and fauna. Your guides are also there and test your knowledge with occasional questions but keep themselves in the background.” Daniel mastered both exams and is now a proud holder of an official FGASA-certificate.