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Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1 or 2 Weeks

Kruger National Park and Reserves, South Africa or Botswana
from £925 (7 days)

Ref: AA014

This course, of one, two or three weeks' duration,  is a great opportunity for those with an adventurous spirit wanting to gain a greater understanding of nature whilst experiencing the excitement of the bush, and an ideal option for the keen student looking to give guiding a try before embarking on a career and formal qualifications. Students will also learn how to drive a 4 x 4 vehicle, ot identify common birds, plants and trees and how to track game. The course, which incorporates certain aspects of the 28 day Safari Course, is primarily aimed at students looking for a more in-depth bush experience but who do not have four weeks away from their work obligations

Who can join: 16 years and over
Accommodation: Thatched/tented huts
Transfer time: dependant on camp
Pick up Point: Transfer not included
Meals: Meals included
Volunteer numbers: approx 20

Duration & Fees

Prices valid from the 01 Jan 2017 until the 31 Dec 2017

7 days£925
14 days£1,535

Prices valid from the 01 Jan 2018 until the 31 Dec 2018

7 weeks£1,095
14 weeks£1,745

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

2017 Start Dates:

26 Aug - 8 Sep (14 Days - Karongwe & Makuleke)
30 Sep - 6 Oct (7 Days - Makuleke)
10 Dec - 23 Dec (14 Days - Karongwe & Makuleke)

2018 Start Dates:

19 Mar - 25 Mar (7 Days - Makuleke)
16 Jul - 29 Jul (14 Days -Karongwe)
18 Aug - 31 Aug (14 Days - Makuleke 18 - 25 Aug / Karongwe 25 -31 Aug)
29 Oct - 4 Nov (7 Days - Karongwe)
1 Nov- 14 Nov (14 Days -Mashatu 1 - 7 Nov / Makuleke 7 - 14 Nov)
14 Nov - 20 Nov (7 Days - Makuleke)
23 Nov - 28 Nov (7 Days - Makuleke)
10 Dec - 16 Dec (7 Days - Karongwe)



Payment

30% of course fee is required as a deposit at time of booking – the balance is due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Tea, coffee and soft drinks
  • Instruction and training 
  • Game walks
  • Open vehicle game drives
  • Sleep outs and additional activities

What's not included

  • Transfers/transport to and from the camp, before and after the course (Amanzi Travel can arrange the road transfers for students)
  • International and domestic flights including arrival and departure fees if applicable
  • Travel insurance to cover the course (to include cover for repatriation)
  • Tourist Visas
  • Any accommodation before and after the course
  • Personal items, clothes, travel goods etc
  • Spending money – for drinks etc - beer, ciders, bottled water
  • Kruger National Park Entrance Fee (only applicable if course is at Makuleke Camp)
  • Botswana border crossing (only applicable if the course is at Mashatu)

This one, two or three week  Field Guide Experience is designed to provide an ecological learning experience and incorporates certain aspects of the 28 day Safari Guide Course.  It is primarily aimed at people looking for a more in-depth bush learning experience but who do not have four weeks available away from their normal place of work.   It is a perfect opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the bush  learn more about this fascinating environment.  Not only will this course expand students'  knowledge of both the small and large elements of nature that surround them in the bush and how each element is carefully interconnected with another in a specific region, but also give them a taste of the life of a Safari Guide.  

Students will learn about the behaviour and identification of many of the insects, spiders, scorpions, other small creatures and birds in the ecosystem. As well as learning about the underlying elements that support this amazing variety of life such as the geology, soils, plants and climate, students will study how the smaller organisms interact with one another and their environment.  They will also have the opportunity to learn about identification and behaviour of the larger wild animals that roam the wilderness areas.   

Depending on which camp the course is held at, all the big predators ranging from lion, leopard, and cheetah to spotted hyena may be seen as well as their prey, which are a variety of plains game species such as kudu, impala, duiker, nyala, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and warthog. Spending eight hours out in the bushveld every day provides countless opportunities to study the various animal tracks so that students can track and find the game on foot or by vehicle! 

Students will learn how to drive a 4x4 vehicle, to identify birds, plants, trees, tracks and how to track animals, as well as learning basic bush survival skills and how to navigate and orientate yourself in the bush. Students will also be shown what it is like to approach dangerous game on foot and how you should handle these situations.

An ECO Training certificate of participation is awarded at the end of each course by the course provider;  many previous participants on this course have loved it so much that they have gone on to take a professional Field Guide qualification!  Please note that each course requires a minimum of 4 participants to run.

General Subjects Covered

  • Ecology
  • Common trees and shrubs
  • Animal tracks and tracking
  • Bird identification and behaviour
  • Animal behaviour
  • Astronomy
  • Orientation and navigation
  • Bush skills
  • Using binoculars correctly and positioning the vehicle for photography

Philosophy

The aim of the course is to give the students attending everything they need to further their own interests and development, be that en-route to a professional guiding career or purely to learn more about the bush that inspires them. The courses offered aim to foster not only the knowledge and skills essential to allow the students to become excellent guides, but also to show them something of the philosophy and approach that is an integral part of interaction with the magnificent bush environment. The course aims to give the student a new outlook on the environment and a holistic life experience. Students who have attended these courses have returned to the ‘real world’ with a different outlook on life.  Some have simply applied this new outlook to their daily lives and others, inspired by their time in the bush, go on to change their lives by pursuing a career in the guiding industry.

Location and Environment

The training programmes take place in bush camps located in untamed and stunning African bush. Depending on the camp at which the course is being held students will have the opportunity to view and interact with buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard as well as a huge variety of antelope and bird life.

The accommodation camps are designed to allow students to get up close and personal with their environment. The accommodation is in an uncluttered and authentic game reserve camp, and as it is completely unfenced there are occasional nocturnal visitors - hence the sounds of the bush are literally right outside the accommodation!   It also provides a perfect opportunity to practice tracking skills through and around the camp each morning.

Summers in this part of Africa are warm with temperatures ranging from the mid 20's C on cloudy days to the high 30's C on clear days. Occasionally peak temperatures can exceed 40 C.  Rain in the summer tends to be either heavy with short-lived thunder storms or more gentle frontal rain over a longer period.  The winters tend to be dry and mild but with occasional winter showers.

Typical Daily Itinerary

Rise before the sun for hot coffee and listen as the bush begins to come to life.  The  first activity of the day will be an outing into the bush, the format of which is very flexible and will depend on what is found or perhaps on the roar of a lion heard during the night. The programme will also take account of the subjects that need to be covered during the course.  The outing may either be on foot or in the safari vehicles.

Students return to camp towards the end of the morning to enjoy a hearty brunch consisting of cereal, fruit and a variety of cooked items, followed by the day’s lecture. There is study and rest time following this to allow students time to digest the information gained during the morning outing and lecture as well as the brunch!  Afternoon tea is enjoyed prior to the afternoon outing.  If on foot this will last until sunset;  if in the vehicles until well after dark.  Drives could be looking for nocturnal animals such as the leopard or bushbaby or practising identification of the local bird life. Time could also be spent practising 4x4 driving skills or new found skills in astronomy.

Following this day full of activity everyone returns to camp for dinner, which is followed by socialising around the camp fire, exchanging stories of the day's adventures and wondering about the delights that may be in store for tomorrow.  The emphasis is on practical day to day experiences in the bush.  The daily outings are flexible and may focus on specific subjects such as animal tracks and tracking, birds, plant identification or animal behaviour, or may involve game viewing and learning about the ecosystem in general

Extra Information

Getting There

Students should arrange to fly into Johannesburg (OR Tambo) Airport.  From here onward transfer can be made either by road or air to the various camps.  

A bushbus service to the camps can be booked through Amanzi Travel and full details and costs will be in your pre-departure pack. 

For details on the transfers please contact Amanzi Travel 

Please note that Amanzi travel can arrange international and domestic flights.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can arrange any flight requirements that you have upon request.

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Kruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksKruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksKruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksKruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksKruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksKruger National Park and Reserves,  South Africa or Botswana, Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 WeeksThe sleeping arrangements at all camps consist of two people (same sex) sharing a tent.  It is possible for students to have tents for themselves alone, but double rates will be charged. 

The course takes place in bush camps in South Africa and Botswana that collectively have access to 91,000 hectares of untamed and stunning African bush.  Depending on which of the camps the training programme takes place, there will be opportunities to view and interact with buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard as well as a huge variety of antelope and bird life. The accommodation camps are designed to allow everyone to get up close and personal with the environment. They are authentic game reserve camps and are unfenced allowing the occasional nocturnal visitor. This means the sounds of the bush will literally be right outside the accommodation and provides a perfect opportunity to practice tracking skills through and around the camp each morning.

Below is information on accommodation at all the camps where the courses take place. Please contact Amanzi Travel to confirm dates and camps for your booking.

Karongwe Camp, Hoedspruit Area

Karongwe Camp is on the banks of the Karongwe River (mostly a dry river bed) in the 9 000 hectare Karongwe Game Reserve, which is to the south-west of the Kruger National Park. It has spectacular undulating hills, valleys and broad-leafed woodland.

The camp consists of 10 walk-in style Meru tents, with twin beds, supplied bedding and mosquito nets. There are shared ablution facilities and a central communal area.

There are viewing decks in the central area of the camp, and many students choose to make the viewing decks their “bedroom” for part of or for the full duration of the course. The central communal area is made up of 4 tall thatch-roofed open-sided decks which forms a square that encloses an open campfire area. One of the deck structures serves as the open air dining area, lecture room and study area. Two decks remain open to welcome the adventurous who want to spend their nights as close to nature as possible, while the last deck is home to your head instructor.

Hyena make nightly patrols of the camp and are often seen by participants who choose to make one of the viewing decks their home for the duration of the course.  Elephant, cheetah and lion have also made appearances on occasion.

Makuleke Camp, Pafuri, Northern Kruger National Park

The camp is situated in the Makuleke concession between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers, This is a true wilderness area, steeped in history and situated in the remotest part of Kruger in one of the most biologically diverse areas. Scenery ranges from the beautiful, quietly-flowing Luvuvhu River shaded by Nyala trees and fever tree forests and teeming with hippos and crocodiles; to the awesome Lanner Gorge, palm-fringed wetlands and rocky outcrops with thousand-year-old baobab trees. Members of the Makuleke community are employed at the camp.

Accommodation is in safari style walk in tents on wooden decks covered with thatch in the shade of nyala trees. Each unit has a verandah overlooking the surrounding bush and an en-suite bathroom with a flush toilet, shower and basin. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. The central communal area consists of a thatch-roofed open sided deck where all meals, lectures and studying takes place. A clearing for evening camp fires creates an idyllic setting for social and leisure time.

Selati Camp

The Selati Camp is situated on the banks of the Selati River in the Selati Game Reserve to the west of the Kruger National Park. Selati is a great place for viewing lion, white rhino and elephant. General game is plentiful and you might even get to see the large herd of eland, as well as the rare sable antelope. The dominant vegetation type is woodland and to the east are large granite koppies (hills) where Black eagles and Klipspringer can be found.

Participants share twin walk in style tents. Students need to bring their own bedding for their time at this camp and mosquito nets at not provided There are shared bathroom facilities and a central communal area overlooking the Selati River. The central communal area consists of a thatch-roofed open sided deck where all meals, lectures and studying takes place. A clearing for evening camp fires creates a great place for student leisure time.

Mashatu Camp

Situated in the Tuli Reserve of Botswana bordering South Africa, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty with majestic rocks, diverse vegetation, abundant wildlife, a profusion of birds and a rich archaeological hertitage. The ample plains range from savannah, to riverine forest, marshland and sandstone outcrops amongst giant baobab trees, a wholly preserved and untainted wilderness. Mashatu truly embodies all that defines Africa. 

Participants share twin tents. Students need to bring their own bedding and there are no mosquito nets at the camp. There are shared bathroom facilities and a central communal area overlooking the dry river bed ideal for evening campfires and socialising.

General – All Camps

All four of the camps have sleeping arrangements for 2 people sharing.  Single occupancy requires double payment.  Sharing is on a single sex basis unless booked as a couple. 

There is no electricity at any of the camps – paraffin lamps are used for all lighting and a generator is used to charge camera batteries and cell phones. The kitchen is equipped with gas fridges for storage of all perishable food items.

Fresh, drinkable water is available from the taps.
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are sold at the camp
A laundry service is provided by the camp and is included in the course fee.

Meals
 

Early morning wake-up: Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit and cereal
Brunch after activity:  Cooked breakfast and fruit salad
Afternoon tea:  Light lunch/sandwiches
Dinner:  A balanced, warm plated meal (e.g. meat, vegetables, salad)

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.

Climate

For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest


South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 Weeks

I attended the course held at Karongwe in early August which was taken by Ryan Clark... an amazing and informative course. Ryan was a brilliant guide and we learn a lot from him during the short course we had. Ryan was able to answer all of our questions and focus the course and lessons on the elements we were most interested in, namely tracking and bush knowledge (which was very much appreciated).

Graham, UK (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1 or 2 Weeks)

Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 Weeks

I had a magical time- absolutely amazing. Thank you!!

I learned a ton about conservation that I didn’t know even though Ive been active in it for years. I thought that was immensely valuable. 

I didn’t really know what to expect on my trip, even though I read and re-read all the details (although it's impossible to truly describe what your trip will be like). I spent two weeks camping in the bush in Botswana and I loved it. I'm a city gal and I found the daily activities a bit challenging sometimes but totally do-able and I enjoyed them. There is no way to describe how wonderful it is to actually be amongst wildlife, and learn about it in such a multi-sensory way. I truly didn’t want to leave. My instructors were absolutely fantastic and I totally trusted them 100% when out among wild animals.

Kirsten, USA, aged 42 (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1 or 2 Weeks)

Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest)  - 1 or 2 Weeks

Above all expectations. It was really one of the best and most memorable experiences in my life.

Alejandra, USA, aged 34 (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1 or 2 Weeks)

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