You don’t need to see an animal to gather information about it. If you know how to read animal tracks and other bush information, you can gain valuable insight into what, when, maybe even how and why an event took place in the wild. The EcoTraining 7 or 14-day EcoTracker course will turn you into a budding bush detective.
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A vast amount of information can be gathered about mammals, birds and reptiles without ever having seen them. Every animal leaves some indication of its presence that can be recognized. Participants are taught how to ‘reconstruct’ the scene and understand the evidence presented by the animal activity. Through the ancient art of animal tracking participants will connect with Africa’s iconic places and wildlife on foot. This course take place in the remote wilderness areas of Mashatu in Botswana or South Africa. Participants are introduced to the ancient art of animal tracking, and will learn the disciplines of track and sign identification, animal trailing and hunter-gatherer techniques and are mostly hosted by engaging and expert local Shangaan trackers.
In many parts of Africa, traditional skills of tracking 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 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.
Operated by Africa's biggest guide training company, EcoTracker aims to contribute to the preservation of indigenous wilderness skills and the conservation of the Earth's last wild places. EcoTraining instructors are certified by the acclaimed Tracker Academy – the first and only formally accredited tracker training school in South Africa. Visitors to EcoTracker will get a taste of this knowledge from trackers who have dedicated themselves to mastering the skills of traditional hunter-gatherers.
EcoTracker guests can choose between Makuleke, in the remote north of Kruger National Park, or Tuli block in the Kalahari fringe-lands of Botswana, and there are 7 days or 14 days options. The 7 day course focuses on basics of Track and Sign Interpretation, while 14-days gives additional time to learn Trailing on foot in the bushveld.
Guests are based at camps that are comfortable and functional, sharing spacious 2-bed tents. The course is open to all over 16 years old and participants should be fit and able to walk up to at least 5km per day.
Modules covered on the 7-day course are:
- Theory of Animal Tracking
- Track and sign interpretation (core)
- Hunter-gatherer techniques
On a 14-day course, participants learn the art of 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 amongst 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 animals themselves - under the watchful eye of an EcoTracker instructor. Interpreting mammal and bird alarm calls, animal behaviour and assessing the age of tracks form part of the trailing skill set.
- Tea, coffee and cordials
- Instructors and training
- Game drives
- Beverages (beers, ciders, soft drinks)
- Entry to Kruger Park; Botswana border crossing (cable car)