To participate in the Field Guide Level 1 course you must be at least 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English. You don’t need any specialist knowledge. It's far more important for you to be interested in nature, enthusiastic about wildlife and willing to gain new knowledge. We will require a certificate of vaccination, a first aid course and a doctor's certificate confirming that you are healthy and fit enough to take part in the course. You also need to get travel insurance before departing to Southern Africa. We recommend that you apply early as experience has shown that your chance of obtaining a place in the project is better if you do so. If you have further questions please feel free to get in touch with us.
Everyone interested in the courses Professional Field Guide, Field Guide Level 1, Safari Guide and Trails Guide should be aware that these courses aim at educating the participants. The courses have a set content and deal with a variety of topics that are introduced in English. A number of theoretical and practical examinations as well as presentations in English are part of the learning experience and can be challenging for non-native speakers.
Please note that the courses are not simply safari excursions but require effort. But if you are interested and also willing to learn something completely new, the challenges and tasks will be manageable for you. You should not get discouraged – feel free to contact us so we can discuss the detailed learning plan and explain the general procedure of the courses to you.
Botswana/South Africa - you will arrive and depart via Johannesburg. You will arrive one day before the course begins and spend the first night in a hostel, where you will be picked up and brought to the course on the following day.
Zimbabwe - You will fly in to Victoria Falls International Airport. You will arrive one day before the course begins and spend the first night in the camp. You will leave one day after the course comes to an end.
The Field Guide course, level 1, will equip you with lasting knowledge! An important aspect of successful training lies in observing the environment. You will gain your first impressions on long walks and expeditions – whilst acquiring in-depth knowledge from your professionally qualified instructor.
During these fascinating 55 days you will learn all about plants and animals such as amphibians, reptiles and mammals and their relationship with each other within the South African ecosystem. There are many facets to the Field Guide Level 1 course. You will learn various methods for orientation and navigation in open country, including insights into astronomy, so that you can determine your geographical position using the constellations. During the daily outings you will learn how to handle an open cross-country vehicle and how to reach your destination safely even in rough terrain. Your training as a field guide also includes basic instruction on the geological and climatological conditions in South Africa, tracking, animal behaviour analysis and how to identify native animal, plant and tree species. With time, you will be able to identify many birds and animals just from their calls in the heart of this wild and fascinating countryside. During your stay in Africa you will spend nights in the bush beneath the breathtaking starry sky, gathering in the evenings around the camp fire with the other adventure seekers and experiencing never-to-be-forgotten moments such as when you happen upon a herd of elephants at a water-hole or catch sight of other awe-inspiring animals. Many tales will burn themselves into your memory, for you to tell long after your time in the bush is over. You will also gain insights into the tourism industry and the history of Africa, which will give you a better understanding of their significance with respect to the continent’s problems and options. The major challenges for nature conservation today include conserving species and preserving the natural dynamics of their habitats while at the same time keeping global environmental change at bay.
During your time in South Africa you will discover how nature conservation really works, what measures are used and what factors can have a positive or negative influence on the development of an ecosystem. There will be a theory test and a practical test at the end of the course. You will be given a Field Guide Level I certificate if you pass them. Some universities also recognise the training course as part of your studies and will provide credit points.
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, as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.
In Makuleke you will be staying in stilt houses with access to your own bathroom. Your accommodation in Selati, Karongwe and Mashatu will be in two-man tents with access to shared bathrooms. All camps have a large common room for training, eating together and spending evenings with the group. The camps are not fenced in, and tourists have no access to the site. This gives you a special connection to the natural environment and allows you to enjoy the remoteness of your location.
You will be provided with an early morning snack, a hearty brunch, a light midday meal and a hot meal in the evening. Tea, coffee and tap water are available throughout the day, and fruit juice is also provided at mealtimes. The camp is not connected to the electricity grid, but gets the power that it needs from generators. This means that you will have some ability to charge electronic devices when the generators are up and running. A laundry service is also available in return for a small fee. The camps use solar lamps and satellite telephones for emergencies, as mobile reception is generally quite poor.
Everybody interested in our Wilderness Experiences abroad 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.
During the course you will have some free time which you can spend as you wish. However, because the course only lasts 55 days, these periods will be limited to individual days or afternoons which you can use to relax or revise. Most of your free days will come when changing camp or finishing off a course module with a test. Depending on the camp, you will be able to play volleyball or table tennis, take a look at the library or play cards with your friends. Please feel free to contact us if you require any additional information about the current course and how to plan your free time.