Londolozi Game Reserve has pioneered walking trails in the wildernessas early as the 1970s and its work with EcoTraining demonstrates that the game reserve is focused on 'getting back to the basics', ensuring that the organisation is continuously redefining its excellence and service.
This collaboration focused on specialist skills around taking guests on foot in the bush. Senior members of the Londolozi guide team also received ‘train the trainer’ mentorship to monitor and ensure ongoing skills development. The initial skills evaluation ensured that each guide is provided with a clear development plan that includes the necessary milestones to achieve their VPDA (Viewing Potentially Dangerous Animals) and Trails qualifications.
“Londolozi and EcoTraining have been working together on training projects for many years. It’s been a great partnership and it has been a privilege to be a part of the training taking place on the ground. Recognising the importance of Londolozi’s inhouse training and maintaining a relationship with this organisation that has been around since 1926 was one of the main reasons. They have an incredible ethos and mission. It was our objective to forge this relationship for years to come,” said David Havemann, who was involved in the Train the Trainer section of the training.
“We truly believe a successful Trails Guide is to approach the bush with a holistic mentality, the ecological interrelatedness that makes one understand that everything is connected. We all know that driving in a vehicle to walking out in the bush is very different. I really believe it’s a more exciting, holistic experience where you get to use your senses a lot more. We always encourage people to read the bush like a book, looking at all the different layers – to look through the bush and not at the bush. When you take a deep breath, you can normally smell an animal before you see it. As guides we always aim to remind our guests that they are part of this ecosystem," said Havemann.
EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in Africa’s safari guide and wildlife training. The safari industry widely recognises EcoTraining’s credibility and standard of excellence in nature guide training. We offer accredited career courses, gap year and sabbatical programmes, nature programmes, high school and university study abroad programmes, custom courses and on-site professional guide training at safari lodges. All courses are run directly from EcoTraining’s unfenced bush camps in prime wilderness areas across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Photo credits: Ross Hawkins