Field Guide Course in the Limpopo province

Field Guide Course in the Limpopo Province

In February 2019 I attended a field guiding course in de Limpopo province, with GAP Africa. The course was 4 weeks long.

The first two weeks we would wake up at 5:00 AM every morning, starting with a morning drive or walk for about 2 hours. After the drive/walk, we would have breakfast, followed by the mid-morning theory session. As I was attending the short course, I was following theory classes in both the morning and afternoon. While the others had time to study in the afternoon. Throughout the theory lessons, a variety of modules was taught.

  • Introduction to Guiding in the Natural Environment
  • Creating a Guided Nature Experience, Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Weather and Climate
  • Basic Ecology
  • Basic Taxonomy
  • Introduction to the Biomes of Southern Africa
  • Botany and Grasses,
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Conservation Management
  • Historical Human Habitation.

During the first 2 weeks, I learned the 18 different modules. It seems overwhelming, but once you start learning, it gets really interesting. At the beginning of the course, you receive a text- and workbook. At the end of the theory weeks, there is a test.

The third week was focused on track and sign. This week we were taught about different tracks and signs, which are left behind by wild animals. We would wake up at 5:00 AM, have breakfast and then the trainers would go out and find tracks and signs for us. The track and signs would be circulated by the trainers, and we had to tell from which animal the track was. In one morning, we would get through about 50 tracks, before returning to the camp.

The last week was focused on: Dangerous Game A.K.A. DG Week. It was a week filled with adrenaline rushes. We would wake up at 5:30 AM to have breakfast and then start the day by looking for tracks of the Big 5. Once we found the tracks and would follow them till we spot the animal. We would try to get as close athem as possible, without invading their space. We would gt as close as 50m to the animals, not closer to respect the animal’s space. Also, you don’t want to disturb the animals and/or risk your own lives. In a simpler context: we learned this week how to approach Dangerous Game by foot and by vehicle.

This short field guiding course was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has a love for the bush. My love for the bush started at a young age and after this experience, this grew a lot. It was hard to go back to the city. What I enjoyed the most during this course, was that nature is unpredictable and every day is different.  On a daily basis, you see new species or hear new animal calls. It was an adventure that I would love to do again. I also enjoyed meeting new people during this course; people with different backgrounds and coming from different countries (South Africa, Europe, and America). I bonded with them and now I have friends in many different places around the world.

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