Operating for 24 years, EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in safari guide and wildlife training in Africa. EcoTraining is widely recognised by the safari industry for its 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. To date EcoTraining has trained over 11 000 people from 33 different countries around the world.
EcoTraining started in 1993 and in 1997 Anton joined as an instructor and later became Managing Director. Anton as a leader and visionary epitomises integrity, energy and quality standards where the guiding industry is concerned. Having travelled to many corners of the world, Anton’s focus and mission is to reach people with a conservation message. Why choose EcoTraining:
Our definition of guardian: a person who promotes, advances and protects nature.
Ten Reasons Why Ecotraining Is the World Leader in Guide and Nature Training:
1. Founded in 1993 – EcoTraining is the original guide training school in South Africa, with the largest, most bio-diverse footprint in Africa.
2. Formally accredited training courses – the most recognised of any training school in Africa.
3. Greatest variety of nature training courses – from 7 days of Animal Tracking to our one-year Professional Field Guide program.
4. Knowledgeable team of instructors – totalling 120+ years of real time bush experience.
5. Located in 6 pristine wildlife reserves in 5 African countries – totalling 100 000 hectares (250 000 acres) of wilderness.
6. The only training school to be situated inside the Kruger National Park.
7. Trained over 10,000 students and professional safari guides; many of who are now leaders in the industry.
8. Employment opportunities – due to our longstanding relationship with many of Africa’s top game reserves, our graduates readily find jobs. For example, Singita Game Reserve has indicated that it prefers EcoTraining graduates.
9. Wilderness immersion – students enjoy two practical activities a day, seven days a week.
10. Our intention is to create guides and guardians for the wilderness.
Owners of EcoTraining:
Managing Director and Owner of EcoTraining (Pty) Ltd
EcoTraining started in 1993 and in 1997 Anton joined as an instructor and later became Managing Director. Anton as a leader and visionary epitomises integrity, energy and quality standards where the guiding industry is concerned. Having travelled to many corners of the world, Anton’s focus and mission is to reach people with a conservation message. He has dedicated his life to preserving wildlife and serving local communities through environmental education. Anton believes that the principles of ecology are universal: we are part of nature and that humanity needs to be balanced with a strong environmental consciousness and accountability to the global community.
Alex van den Heever
Co-Director of EcoTraining (Pty) Ltd
Alex, a former EcoTraining graduate in 1994 was appointed a Director on EcoTraining in 2016. After completing his marketing and business management studies in 1995, he joined Londolozi Game Reserve as a Game Ranger. During his 13-year tenure at Londolozi, Alex operated as the environmental manager, represented the marketing division and conducted specialised safaris. Alex has a keen interest in wildlife tracking and has dedicated much of his time to learning its ancient art. In 2014 he qualified as the youngest ever tracker assessor in South Africa. Alex is currently the general manager of the Tracker Academy, a training division of the SA College for Tourism based in Graaff-Reinet. In 2017, Alex co-authored the Tracker Manual published by Struik Nature.
Our nation’s future relies on a well-educated public to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us, our families and communities, and future generations. It is environmental education that can best help us as individuals make the complex, conceptual connections between economic prosperity, benefits to society, environmental health and our own wellbeing.
There is a generation of people in South Africa that is unfortunately not in touch with the importance of protecting and enjoying our natural heritage. They don’t have the privilege of experiencing the physical, sensory, psychological, health and long-term commercial merits of being in harmony and connected to nature. They also don’t have the privilege to cherish our natural heritage because of social, economic and historic factors. This generation of young South Africans will heavily influence the government, commercial and business environments in the years to come.
This will have a direct influence on all functions of society, not limited to conservation. We need to share the realisation that everything from food security to national job creation and health is directly influenced by our protection of, and connection to, the natural environment.
Programmes & Courses
Gap Year Programmes
Wildlife Short Courses
Why choose EcoTraining
EcoTraining has worked with many communities bordering the Greater Kruger National Park by training guides and trackers into the industry.
In 2008, EcoTraining was contracted by the Zoological Society of London to provide training for eco-guides in the Lope National Park in Gabon.
Guides learning the uses of plants as an alternative to deforestation
Kenya Maasai trainees at the Koiyaki Guiding School, Masai Mara, Kenya
EcoTraining was the consultant to the Koiyaki Guiding School (a UN project) based in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. KGS plays an important role in providing training for people from the Masai community and EcoTraining played a major role here in raising the standard of instructing and contributing to some direct training of future guides. This is among many projects conducted in Kenya.
Maasai trainees at the Koiyaki Guiding School, Masai Mara, Kenya
EcoTraining conducted a training programme to upskill guides, originally from the surrounding Chiawa area and now working in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
EcoTraining, through corporate funding, provides training for people from local communities in Botswana and Namibia. Each year a group of candidates are chosen through a thorough selection process to attend EcoTraining programmes, run at our Mashatu Camp in Botswana and camps in Namibia. This is among many projects conducted in Botswana.
EcoTraining was approached by an international business consulting company to assist in the development of nature guiding in Jordan. Four young trainees were chosen through a rigorous selection process and then sent out to attend an intensive one-year training course at EcoTraining’s camps in Botswana and South Africa.
From 2008 EcoTraining trained over 300 local Aboriginal rangers on several four-week programs where their natural skills were “converted” into guiding skills. Compared to previous programs of a similar nature, this program was a huge success.
The program was highly commended by the Northern Territory government and mentioned in Federal Parliament in 2010 as a successful model for further indigenous education initiatives.
EcoTraining realises that the key to the success of this project is to transfer acquired knowledge and responsibility for environmental conservation to all those who live near wildlife areas.