EcoTraining Guides & Guardians

Based in South Africa, EcoTraining offers accredited career courses, gap year opportunities, inspirational wildlife courses and high school programs with the ultimate goal of creating highly skilled guides and guardians of the natural world.

The company traces its roots to 1993 when a small group of guides from Londolozi and Sabi Sands came up with the visionary concept. Since then, EcoTraining has coached more than 10,000 people and many of its graduates now work for more than 150 safari lodges and operators around Africa.

Courses are taught in simple un-fenced bush camps in the middle of great wilderness areas, where participants get to truly experience what it is like to live in wild places. EcoTraining hopes that all participants, armed with this knowledge, make a difference to the way we look after our planet.

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Customized Programs

EcoTraining Customized Programs

EcoTraining offers customized courses for agents and tour operators to assist them with the planning of educational safari itineraries catered for small group departures, alumni travel, private celebrity travel, summer schools, and university study abroad programs.


All customized itineraries have a strong ecological learning component and are designed to provide participants with the knowledge about the infinite variety of living organisms that exist in nature and the underlying elements that support this variety of life such as geology, soils and climate to mention a few.

Customized courses emphasizes two components – learning about the fascinating elements of nature and how each are carefully interconnected to one another in a specific region and secondly, experiencing aspects of typical safari guide training. Customized courses are intelligently tailored to factor in the objectives of the client to ensure all deliverables are met and exceeded.

Features of EcoTraining customized courses:

  • Tailored educational itineraries
  • Exclusive conservation activities
  • Two activities a day, either game drive or walking safari
  • Customized itinerary to ensure client objectives and deliverables are met
  • High-caliber industry expert field guide instructors
  • Access to remote African wilderness areas and concessions
  • Accommodation in unfenced wilderness camps where wildlife roams freely
  • Video and photographic capturing of the course where needed

Birding in the Bush 7 days


Birding in the Bush

Birding as a hobby has grown tremendously in popularity in the past decade, and these days visitors to the African wilderness areas want to do more than simply spot large game. Owing to this development on the ecotourism front, we have developed our seven-day Birding in the Bush course.


This course enables birding enthusiasts to identify a great variety of species of birds by sight and sound and to also learn about their biology and ecology. Birding as a hobby has risen tremendously in the last decade and these days, nature enthusiasts want to do more than simply spot large game. Participants don’t have to be a ‘twitcher’ to attend. The course caters for those who wish to learn about the basics of bird identification or improve their existing identification skills.

Birding In The Bush EcoTraining Rach Lange Makuleke

We are confident that any person attending our course will leave us enriched, and with greater confidence in being able to pass on the wonders and beauty of South African birdlife to family, friends or clients.


  • Evolution
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Habitats and environments
  • Bird identification
  • Bird behaviour
  • Ethics
Wilderness Trails Skills 6 days


Wilderness Trails Skills

This unique six-day course provides a perfect platform for aspirant or qualified guides or nature lovers to discover and reconnect with meaningful wilderness encounters. We firmly believe that the wilderness experience can be an inspiring cornerstone in the lives and careers of all those with a passion for nature and its inhabitants, developing a lifelong culture of conservation.


This purist wilderness experience is about traversing across some of the finest and most remote wilderness regions of southern Africa on foot.  The course may challenge some personal boundaries as participants sleep in the open wilderness under the stars and travel light with minimal supplies.

It is more about the depth of experience than the distance as you learn to make a fire, find water from natural sources and leave a light footprint behind you. This unique course provides a perfect platform for aspirant or qualified guides or nature lovers, to discover and reconnect with meaningful wilderness encounters. This immersive nature experience can be an inspiring cornerstone in the lives and careers of all those with a passion for nature and its inhabitants, developing a lifelong culture of conservation.


While there are no formal subjects or lectures, the emphasis of the course lies on meaningful wilderness philosophy, low impact guiding skills and bush lore. The adventures are instructed by some of the most experienced trainer/guides in Africa, with a choice of stunning venues within the Makuleke Concession, Kruger National Park (KNP).

Lessons taught on this course will not be found in any book, but learning will be ‘hands on’. Lessons include wilderness appreciation and the MIA (Minimal Impact Approach), situational awareness, setting up an eco-friendly camps and water purification, and ‘leaving no trace’ are but a few of the advanced skills you will learn.

Wilderness Photography 7 days


Wilderness Photography

Taking great wildlife photos is not as easy as it looks. Not only does one need creativity and technical knowledge, but also knowledge and understanding of one’s subject matter.


Taking great photographs of nature requires creativity and technical skills, but also the knowledge and understanding of one’s subject matter. The wilderness photography course teaches participants about the equipment needed to become a versatile wilderness photographer. Participants also learn about the various elements that combine to make good wilderness photographic compositions. This course will give photographers and aspiring photographers alike the time and opportunity to put these learnings into action in the field under the guidance of an experienced wilderness photographer. Participants will spend mornings and afternoons in the bush looking for photographic opportunities followed by a lecture each day and constructive criticism of any digital photos taken during activities.



  • Module 1: Understanding exposure
  • Module 2: Composition
  • Module 3: Understanding light
  • Module 4 : Photographic guiding skills
  • Module 5: Editing images and social media


  • Equipment, lighting
  • Backgrounds
  • Depth of field and exposure
  • Composition
  • Impact
  • Storytelling
  • Action/motion sequences
EcoTracker Course: Animal Tracks and Tracking 7 & 14 days


EcoTracker Course: Animal tracks and tracking

EcoTracker offers you the ultimate wilderness immersion. Through the ancient art and science of animal tracking – possibly the world’s oldest – you will connect with the iconic places and wildlife of Africa on foot.


Our seven- and 14-day courses take place in remote wilderness areas of Botswana and South Africa. EcoTracker will engross you in all aspects of tracking wild animals: track and sign identification, trailing and survival techniques of wildlife. The courses are mostly hosted by engaging and expert Shangaan trackers.

In many parts of Africa, the ancient survival skills of tracking wild animals have disappeared at an alarming rate – alarming because without these skills, humanity’s connection to the Earth is significantly reduced. The time-worn skills of animal tracking taught human beings to live consciously with an appreciation and respect for the natural world. With urbanization and technology, much of this profound ecological intelligence is being lost at a time when it is most important to our long-term survival.

EcoTracker aims to contribute to the preservation of indigenous wilderness skills and the conservation of the Earth’s last wild places. Our instructors are certified by the acclaimed Tracker Academy – the first and only accredited tracker training school in South Africa. Visitors to EcoTracker will get a taste of this knowledge from Shangaan trackers who have dedicated themselves to mastering the skills of traditional hunter-gatherers.



There are two major aspects to tracking of wildlife – track and sign interpretation, and trailing (following animal trails). EcoTracker includes hunter-gatherer techniques as part of the course. All aspects of tracking take years to master.

Track and sign interpretation – this component of animal tracking looks at the signs left by invertebrates, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals. All learning takes place in the field using field guides, photographs and presentations to supplement practical training.

Trailing – this component involves following tracks to find the animal. Mastering trailing takes years, and this aspect of the course requires a relatively high level of fitness and an ability to focus mentally. EcoTracker’s instructors are among the best animal trailers in South Africa, and we pride ourselves on our ability to teach this complex skill.

Students will have the opportunity to practice trailing wild animals themselves – under the watchful eye of an EcoTracker instructor. Interpreting mammal and bird alarm calls, animal behavior and assessing the age of tracks form part of the trailing skill set.

Hunter-gatherer techniques – Southern Africa’s indigenous peoples survived off the land for centuries. EcoTracker’s instructors will teach you how to build traps using only natural materials, show you how to find birds’ nests, water and edible fruits. Through sharing of their experiences growing up in the wilderness, the instructors will immerse students in the wild.


7-day course:
This course is designed to give the student a basic understanding of track and sign interpretation. The assessment at the end of the course is endorsed by FGASA for those who wish to try and achieve certification. Depending on the seasonal movement of animals in the area, students may be afforded the opportunity to follow or trail animals on foot.

14-day course:
The longer course gives students the opportunity for a more comprehensive understanding of track and sign interpretation, trailing and hunter-gatherer techniques. The core focus of this course is to spend time trailing animals such as rhino, elephant, buffalo and lion on foot (often dependent on seasonal animal movements). At the end of the course, students can choose to do a fully accredited FGASA trailing and track and sign course.

The course will begin with the track and sign interpretation component, where trainers will teach you how to correctly analyze an animal’s track. Visual presentations, using photographs and illustrations, are also employed to assist with the learning process.

The second component of the course deals with the ability to follow or “trail” an animal’s track, until the tracker finds it. Trailing skills are more complex, and therefore take much longer, to master.

Learners will get to experience the trailing skills first-hand from our Shangaan trainers, who are some of the top trackers in South Africa. Once comfortable the learners will have the opportunity to practice trailing an animal themselves, under the tutelage of the trainers.

EcoQuest 7 & 14 days


The EcoQuest course (seven or 14 days) is designed to provide a learning experience, and incorporates certain aspects of our Safari Guide course. It is aimed at those who are looking for a more in-depth bush experience, but who do not necessarily have four weeks to break away from work obligations.


The EcoQuest course is designed to provide participants with an ecological learning experience. Participants learn about the infinite variety of living organisms that exist in nature and the underlying elements that support this variety of life such as geology, soils and climate to mention a few. This course is aimed at those who are looking for a more immersive nature learning experience.

This program is perfect for those who want to be more than just spectators of nature but want to be able to interpret for themselves when on self-game drives.

The EcoQuest course emphasizes two components – learning about the fascinating elements of nature and how each are carefully interconnected to one another in a specific region and secondly, aspects of conservation.


  • 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 for photography
Safari Guide 28 days

Safari Guide

This is EcoTraining’s well-known 28-day Safari Guide training course, aimed at those wishing to experience a bush holiday, while also learning about the environment they are in. A month of living and learning in nature at our wilderness camps (Selati and Karongwe in South Africa, and Mashatu in Botswana) will provide you with the practical and theoretical knowledge of the natural environment.


The first of its kind in the safari industry, this course was developed for the purpose of offering participants a glimpse into the life and work of a Safari Guide. This course is a condensed version of the accredited EcoTraining Field Guide (NQF2) course and teaches participants the practical and theoretical knowledge of the natural environment. Participants will learn how to identify and interpret elements of the natural environment. This course is intelligently designed to give learners the best immersive environmental learning experience whilst understanding the roles and some techniques of a professional field guide. This is a great course for those who are still deciding if a career as a safari guide is what they want to pursue.


  • Ecology, geology and soils
  • Trees/Vegetation Identification
  • Birds
  • Tracks and tracking
  • Mammals
  • Guiding Skills (including vehicles and radio procedures)
  • Arthropods
  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Astronomy
  • Climate and Sleep-out
  • Bushcraft
  • Fish and Taxonomy
  • Grasses
  • Habitat Management
  • Historical Human Habitation
  • Basic Fire Arm Theory and Practical Shoot/Study Day (depending on camp)

Matric EcoQuest 5 days


Matric EcoQuest

Go on an adventure safari with a group of your best friends… a fresh, safe, exhilarating alternative to celebrating the end of your school life together. Based in a beautiful big five game reserve, with a comfy tented camp as your base, embrace the celebrations with a whole lot more meaning, adventure, memories and experiences.


This course is aimed at matriculants looking for an enriching experience in the African bush during December. Students enjoy an educational safari adventure with their friends to honour the ending of their high school life together and the celebration of their new life chapter to come. This course will give participants a snapshot into the life of a safari guide whilst learning about the infinite variety of living organisms that exist in nature and the underlying elements that support this variety of life such as geology, soils, plants and climate.



  • Wake up with tunes of early morning bird-song and drumbeats
  • Go on a game drive out into the wilderness, fresh air in your face; an outing promising the soul food of awe-inspiring views and exciting encounters with wild animals
  • Learn to drive a powerful 4×4
  • Walk into the wilderness, approaching big game on foot (with an armed instructor always close by)
  • Wade through a river feeling the cool water against your sun-kissed legs
  • Sit around the camp fire at night with plenty of time to enjoy a couple of drinks
  • Share sunrises and sunsets together and capture all these memories on camera

matrics-Ecoquest EcoTraining Gap Year


  • use tracking skills to find animals
  • gain knowledge and skills to protect our wildlife
  • sleep out under the stars of the African skies
  • navigate and orientate yourself using nature’s markers and signs;
  • learn how to handle a rifle, practice target shooting
  • steer yourself and your friends in a rugged 4×4 vehicle, whilst learning off-road driving skills
  • study the night skies and brush up on your astronomy knowledge
  • learn so much about wildlife

This is EcoTraining