Field Course Southern Africa: Tracking
This course will help you to find your bearings in the African wilderness and will make you more familiar with the animal life in the area. You will deepen your knowledge of the various animals in the region, learn how to recognise their tracks and use these tracks to make your approach. Your survival training in the wilderness will include the traditional know-how of historical hunters and gatherers. This will include teaching about vital subjects such as finding water, identifying edible fruit and laying traps. Come and have an unforgettable adventure in the middle of a unique landscape and acquire traditional know-how in the African wilderness.
Your EcoTraining Adventure – Why book with Natucate
As long-term partners of EcoTraining, we have a trusting relationship with the team on site and visit the camps ourselves each year. When booking your EcoTraining adventure with Natucate, you will benefit from expert advice, comprehensive travel preparation, 24/7 support and German travel law advantages. When booking with Natucate, you won’t have any extra costs.
On our EcoTraining info page you can learn more about why to book your field course with Natucate.
- Enjoy a fascinating training adventure in Southern Africa
- Acquire essential knowledge about the tracks of Africa’s wildlife
- Discover the fascinating wilderness on daily game walks
- Live and learn together with an international team
- Get an official tracking certificate
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Risk coverage certificate
Terry, your travel agent for Southern Africa
You would like to learn more about this trip? Don't hesitate to contact me! Our service doesn't end with your departure: I answer all of your questions and support you before, during and after your stay abroad.
Note: The price stated above is an approximate value. Due to sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate of the South African Rand, the final price for this trip will be calculated at the time of enquiry based on the latest exchange rate.
Animal tracking in Southern Africa
In this course you learn how to recognise the tracks of Southern Africa’s wild animals, to follow them and to read their behaviour while experiencing the pristine landscapes of South Africa and Botswana from up close.
Arrival and orientation in Africa
You will arrive in Johannesburg one day before the course begins and spend one night in the city. On the next morning you will be picked up and taken to your camp. At the end of the course you will be transferred back to Johannesburg to continue your journey or to go back home.
Activities as a tracking course student
You and your group will set off for your first excursion of the day in the early hours of the morning, where you will get some practical experience with finding tracks and tracking animals in the African wilderness. You will return to camp before noon and spend the hot midday hours with theoretical teaching units covering the landscape and the animals that live there.
The focus will be on recognising the tracks left by various animals so that you can match them up and identifying their calls. You will also learn about how these animals behave and how to assess them. You will also be taught how to determine how recent tracks are.
The group will set off for its second excursion of the day in the afternoon to apply the theory in the wilderness. You will interpret the tracks that you find as a group along with your professional course leader, match them up to the right animal and follow them.
The 7-day course will train you in the fundamentals of animal tracks and how to interpret them. You could graduate with:
- Tracker Academy Track and Sign Certificate
The 14-day course builds on what you learned in the 7-day course. You have the chance to be given a certificate at the end of the course after passing a test. This certificate is issued by FGASA. You could graduate with:
- Tracker Academy Track and Sign Certificate
- Tracker Academy Trailing Certificate
- Tracker Academy Tracker Certificate
- FGASA Tracker Level 2 Certificate
Accommodation in Southern Africa
You will share your accommodation with another member of the group in stilt houses with a connected WC and shower or two-man tents with shared bathroom facilities. You receive three to four meals per day. The camps' electricity comes from generators, because they have no connection to the power grid. The camps also use solar lamps and satellite telephones for emergencies, as mobile reception is generally quite poor.
Leisure time during your outdoor adventure
During the course you will have several free afternoons and evenings which you can use for relaxing or learning. Depending on the camp you have the chance to play volleyball or table tennis, to borrow a book from the library or to play cards.
Arrival in Southern Africa
Tracking in Southern Africa: A typical course day
Last day in the tracking course and departure
“During these excursions our practical skills got tested: Guiding, driving, tracking, trees, animal behaviour – we literally dealt with anything that crossed our path.”
Gunter took part in our Tracking as well as in our Wildlife Photography course in South Africa. Here you can find some fascinating impressions of his unforgettable time in the midst of wild nature:
“Enjoy your time in the bush and savour each moment. Each day is different: you can learn, see, hear, feel and smell something new all the time.”
“When I started the course, my goal was to simply be in nature and watch various animals – “back to the roots” so to speak. These expectations were more than exceeded.”
1. Camp Makuleke
Camp Makuleke is located in the Pafuri region in the northern part of South Africa's Kruger National Park. A multitude of fascinating wild animals can be observed in this area and impressive areas can be admired.
If you opt for nature-oriented further education with a stay in Makuleke, you will gain insights into the breathtaking nature of Kruger National Park including its "Big Five": African elephant, black rhino, African buffalo, lion and leopard. Hikes and game drives in open off-road vehicles enable you to experience a superb diversity of flora and fauna – a true enrichment.
2. Camp Karongwe
The South African camp Karongwe is situated at the mostly dried out riverbed of the Karongwe River, in the middle of an area of about 9000 hectares, which will impress you by its biodiversity as well as by its picturesque landscapes.
Nearby you can find the breathtaking Kruger National Park, well-known as one of the largest protected areas in South Africa. Immerse yourself into the spectacular natural landscapes during daily game drives and bush walks, experience the biodiversity of the Karongwe Game Reserve up close and expand your knowledge of the region’s unique flora and fauna under the guidance of experienced field guides.
3. Camp Selati
Camp Selati is located west of the world-famous Kruger National Park. Situated directly on the banks of the Selati River, it is a wonderful observation point for numerous wild animals that cool off from the South African heat in the water of the river.
By participating in an advanced training course in the wilderness of the Selati Game Reserve, you are choosing one of the most interesting regions on the African continent. 33,000 hectares offer plenty of space for a species-rich fauna and flora which you can immerse yourself into during daily game drives and bush walks.
4. Camp Pridelands
Camp Pridelands is located in South Africa's Limpopo province and has been part of the world-famous Kruger National Park since September 2017. In Pridelands a wealth of fascinating wildlife observations can be made – from representatives of the Big Five to hyenas to the rare African wild dog.
As part of your educational nature adventure, you and your team will set off into the wilderness every day under the guidance of an experienced guide to acquire valuable knowledge about the flora and fauna of the region and to learn more about nature and species conservation as well as current measures and initiatives to preserve biodiversity.
5. Camp Pongola
Camp Pongola is nestled into the wilderness of Pongola Game Reserve in the north-east of South Africa, near the Swaziland border. Endless green expanses and a diverse animal world are characteristic of the region. Four of the Big Five are at home at Pongola – elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – as well as hippos, crocodiles, hyaenas, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, twelve antelope species and more than 350 bird species.
Every day, you and your team will set out into the beautiful Pongola wilderness to learn more about the unique flora and fauna and to acquire more in-depth knowledge about guiding as well as nature and species conservation.
Background of the tracking course in Southern Africa
Swap the pace of your hectic everyday life for the serenity of the bush, and dive into the untouched natural landscape of Africa. The endless landscape provides a rare opportunity to rediscover yourself and your environment with all of your senses. Regardless of whether you are looking for a sabbatical, some personal eco training, or just a trip to the wilderness, you will have an unforgettable time in the African bush.
The purpose of the course is to revive traditional expertise which has become increasingly rare in order to bring it to life for interested people from around the world. The course covers the art of tracking, which is becoming increasingly forgotten due to the increasing urbanisation of Africa. You will learn how to get your bearings in the wilderness of Southern Africa, while your theoretical teaching units will give you an insight into what earlier hunters and gatherers did. This includes mastering the art of building a trap from natural materials (without actually catching any animals), finding bird nests, water sources and been able to identify which fruits you can eat and which you can’t.