To take part in this Wilderness Experience course you must be at least 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English to understand the instructions given by the course supervisor. The application documents also include a vaccination certificate and a document concerning your state of health. You should be fit enough to be able to walk in high temperatures. No specialist knowledge is required. It's far more important for you to be interested in nature and enthusiastic about wildlife. You also need travel insurance before departing to Southern Africa. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
Anybody who is interested in the Professional Field Guide, Field Guide Level 1, Safari Guide, Trails Guide, Birding or Tracking courses should be aware that the purpose of these courses is for individuals to further themselves on a personal level. The courses have a fixed curriculum where specific content is handled in English. Some courses involve theoretical and practical tests. Doing a presentation in English might be a challenge for non-native speakers if they are not used to it.
Please note that the courses are not simply safari excursions. Some teaching is involved as well. However, anybody who wants to further themselves away from their normal day-to-day life will be able to handle what is expected of them. Participants will be evaluated at the end of the course to determine what skills they have learnt. They may be given a FGASA certificate, depending on their performance. Please don`t allow yourself to be discouraged if you are interested – contact us and we will be happy to go through exactly what you`ll cover on the course and the general schedule.
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. This will require a great deal of physical stamina and patience, as it can take some time to locate the animal.
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.
The seven day course will train you in the fundamentals of animal tracks and how to interpret them. You will be given a certificate at the end of the course after passing a test. This certificate is issued by FGASA.
The 14 day course builds on what you learned in the seven day course. This course takes a closer look at tracking. The first part of the course deals with interpreting tracks. In part two, you will learn how to follow them. You will also be given an insight into the life of historic hunter gatherers. The course focuses on tracking wild animals, like rhinoceroses, elephants and lions. This is normally done on foot. A test is also held at the end of this course, which will give you a certificatewhich is recognised by FGASA.
You will shared your accommodation with another member of the group in stilt houses with a connected WC and shower (Camp Makuleke) or two-man tents (Camp Mashatu, Selati), where you will have access to shared bathrooms. The day will begin in the early morning with a light snack, coffee and tea. This will be followed later in the morning by a hearty brunch, a light meal in the afternoon and a balanced hot meal in the evening after the last excursion of the day. Tea and coffee is available throughout the day, and fruit juice is also provided at mealtimes. You can also drink the tap water in the camps and purchase other drinks. The camps' electricity comes from generators, because they have no connection to the power grid. This means that you will be able to charge your electronic devices if you need to. The camps also use solar lamps and satellite telephones for emergencies, as mobile reception is generally quite poor.
We realise that some of the people on our projects in Southern Africa want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, in particular the big five. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.
Everybody interested in our Wilderness Experiences should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.