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Passion meets purpose for guides

Passion meets purpose for guides

Passion meets purpose for guides

Eight passionate people were recently selected from lodges and villages around Botswana to attend a fully sponsored nature guide training programme by the Amarula Conservation Trust.


The delegates enrolled on their course in August for self study and research and then 33 days of fulltime field training at EcoTraining’s camp in the Mashatu Game Reserve of Botswana. This was followed by 30 days of attachment as learner guides in the workplace.


Hardie Basson, marketing manager of Amarula for Botswana, revealed the rationale behind this sponsorship. “The initiative is aimed at developing Botswana tourism. Amarula is working with Botswana authorities in developing sustainable upliftment programmes in the tourism sector. Programmes supporting various research projects are in progress and will be rolled out over the next few years.”


Okwa Sarefo, the Nature Safari Guide instructor wrote: “The passion of these learners for wildlife and their commitment to the course was amazing to witness. They would stay up talking about what they had learned late into the night. They enjoyed learning about the ecological functioning of nature and how each organism contributes to the ecosystem. They were one of the best groups of students we have ever had.”


The EcoTraining Nature Guide Level 2 course included lessons on botany, ecology, geology, climate, astronomy, mammals, birds, guiding principles, 4x4 vehicles, game driving, laws and regulations of Botswana pertaining to parks and reserves as well as tracking, conservation and habitat management. 


The course is intended to advance eco-sustainability and provide critical employment skills. It is aligned to the new National Guide Qualifications of Botswana and is accredited under the Botswana Qualifications Authority.

“The criterion for the delegates was simple - they needed to be linked to potential employment, demonstrate a passion for wildlife, a willingness to improve their own education and an ability to give back to their communities,” said Clinton Phillips of Eco Training. 


“Knowledgeable, skilled, competent and ethical guides play an important role in the foreign tourist experience - we simply wish to up-skill, give back and create excellent memorable experiences”, Basson said.