Step into the shoes of a safari ranger, on this journey to an exclusive lodge in the African bush.
This 28 day “African Nature Guide Experience” is an opportunity for the ardent safari goer to qualify, on the Southern African system, as a real, certificated, field guide.
Enjoy a unique safari ranger experience with an international group of travellers. This trip is perfect for nature lovers who want to take it a step further.
We explore the savannah in SUVs and on foot and get close to the wildlife and incredible nature. Learn about animal behaviour, how to recognise insects and birds, tracking and the unique African ecosystem in daily ranger training classes. Our Instructors are experienced rangers who are passionate about sharing their knowledge of these amazing surroundings and its wildlife.
Tasks may vary from physical work to interesting and interactive lecture based content. There are several monitoring projects which assist in capturing vital information used in the research and management of all species on reserve. The experience is diverse and structured, yet not prescheduled as result of the nature of working in and around wildlife and a reliance on prevailing conditions.
The Albatros Ranger Camp, perfectly located in the Entabeni Game Reserve, is a small, exclusive lodge with a swimming pool and restaurant.
Upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, an Albatros Travel representative will be waiting to escort you to the vehicle for your transfer to Honeyguide Ranger Camp, where one will join the Ranger Training Course over a period of 28 days.
Entabeni Safari Conservancy, “The Place of the Mountain”, is situated in the World Heritage “Waterberg Biosphere” of the Waterberg region. Less than a three-hour drive north of Johannesburg, this 22 000 ha malaria-free reserve boasts five eco-systems. Because of the 5 different ecosystems within the reserve, game viewing and bird watching are most rewarding in terms of the variety of species to be seen, identified by knowledgeable and friendly rangers.
Entabeni offers far more than the usual game sightings of the Big Five. Experience scenic helicopter flights, stargazing in the observatory, sunset lake cruises and a variety of game viewing activities.
Days 2 – 27:
The average day includes an early start, getting out into the field, either on foot or in a game viewer. Practical lessons could be on tracking, bird life, mammal behaviour, special guiding techniques or one of many other subjects.
Then back in camp you would be given a formal lesson on one of your many subjects.
Then the afternoon would also be spent in the field, once again learning new things, and enjoying superb game viewing.
Some evenings may include night drives or astronomy discussions.
These subjects will be taught to you by experienced guides, both in the class room environment and in the field, and will culminate in an assessment, by an authorized CATHSSETA (www.cathsseta.org.za) assessor. If you are successful you will receive an NQF (National Qualifications Framework) level 2. (This is an entry level, and you do not need to do level 1 first)
This includes the study of the following subjects:
- botany and grasses,
- Weather and climate,
- conservation management,
- creating a guided experience,
- introduction to guiding,
- animal behavior,
- historical human habitation
As part of this course you will also complete a First Aid program, which is a compulsory requirement for your NQF. This is an informative, bush orientated program with an experienced (South African Labour Department Accredited) instructor.
During the course you will also learn the fine art of Track and Sign identification, by spending many hours in the field learning this skill. Near the end of the program an assessment opportunity will take place, where you can test your new skills, and potentially earn a certificate, on the internationally acclaimed CyberTracker system (www.cybertracker.org) with one of a small handful of qualified professional assessors.
A manual will be issued for the program as study material as well as a field guide on the wildlife of the region to assist with knowledge acquisition regarding the local species.
All assessors are fully accredited to award qualifications in their fields. Certificates will be awarded upon completion of YOUR successful assessment by the assessors. The government-issue CATHSSETA certificate will take a while however, as it will need to be processed.
Besides the ranger training programme at the camp, there will be other activities and excursions in the surrounding area.
Pedi village and wildlife conservation projects
During the trip, we will spend a day outside the game reserve and get a taste of one of the indigenous cultures in the area, the Pedi culture. We visit a village, which is not inhabited, but designed to show the structure of the village and the community among the Pedis. Although present-day South Africa is a very modern country, it has kept many of the original cultural traditions alive, and this village allows visitors to see the various traditions and understand how the different tribes and ethnic groups lived. We will also taste some traditional African specialities.
Later we visit a conservation centre that works with injured and orphaned predators. Here lions, leopards and cheetahs are cared for until they can be let out in the wild again.
Then we continue to a breeding station for buffalo. This kind of game production is becoming more and more popular in South Africa, as there is more money in it than traditional agriculture.
Doorndraai Dam Reserve
We drive to Doorndraai Dam Nature Reserve located nearby. In these beautiful surroundings, we can swim, fish and enjoy a delicious meal from the braai – the special South African version of a barbeque.
Hiking in Yellow Wood
Another activity is a full-day hike in Yellow Wood gorge that cuts through Entabeni’s massif. The gorge’s waterfalls and wooded slopes are home to baboons that are often spotted here, along with elephants and zebras.
On the hike we move from 900m to 1,500m above sea level. We enjoy a picnic in the open and swim at one of the waterfalls – depending on the weather.
Sleep under the stars
A very special and rare experience is in store when we spend the night under the starry skies and next to the warm flames of the bonfire. This activity is subject to favourable weather conditions.
If you are a golf enthusiast, a few hours spent at the renowned golf course, Legend Golf & Safari Resort located just outside the Entabeni game reserve, will be unforgettable.
After breakfast and checkout, we say goodbye to Ranger Camp and the instructors – but all the skills we have learned, and not least the memorable experiences, we will bring home with us.
On the way to Johannesburg we stop at a shopping centre where we can spend some hours and spend the remainder of our South African rand.
Time to say good bye as we make our way through to OR Tambo International Airport in time to board our onward flight home.
As we depart OR Tambo, we take home with us fond memories and souvenirs not to be found anywhere else in the world.