African Insight strives to be the leading South African provider of educational, inspirational and empowering wildlife conservation programs for the next generation. Using hand-picked destinations and mentors which facilitate a holistic, authentic and educational journey, capitalizing on the diversity of wildlife and ecosystems found in South Africa.
African Insight has been providing academic field trips to South Africa since 1999, and many of our partner academic institutions report that these field trips have played a significant role in preparing students for the work environment, increasing recruitment onto courses as well as substantially improving student retention on courses.
South Africa is a world leader in wildlife conservation and despite its third world status it boasts modern and well-maintained communication and travel infrastructure as well as first world medical facilities. Together these combine to provide unique opportunities for wildlife, conservation and environmental and socio-political and rural community development field trips.
Academic field trips are designed at any level to include experiences that meet specific learning outcomes of each group thereby reinforcing (or preparing for) lessons learned in the formal lecture situation. Depending on the aims and objectives of the institution field trips can form part of a formal academic module or a supplementary experiential learning nature.
African Insight provides a complete service with every step of planning your academic field trip. Our experienced academic programme coordinators work closely with trip organizers to ensure that the desired outcomes are planned for and achieved.
This 14-day Game Ranger Course offers a unique opportunity to learn a variety of skills from experienced guides that will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of wildlife, conservation and the African bush. The course incorporates unique opportunities for participants to engage in practical hands on activities whilst being immersed in the African bush.
African Insight Academy
Operates Ranger Courses on Somkhanda and Pongola Game Reserves in the Zululand region of South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province. Both venues are privately owned and situated in the same traditional community and offer ideal opportunities for this exciting practically based experience.
The course is designed for the active adventurous person looking for a deeper conservation / wildlife experience. The content is very practical and requires personal immersion and participation in all aspects. In addition to learning about wildlife and the environment participants will learn many skills and be involved in a variety of ongoing research and conservation management projects.
Both venues offer a comprehensive range of all the common game that historically occurred in the region as well as elephant, buffalo and rhino. Lion and African wild dogs on Somkhanda (not Pongola) and hippo and crocodile on Pongola (not on Somkhanda).
Accommodation is a traditional tented safari camp supplied with running water communal showers and toilets. All meals are provided, with the exceptions of lunches on the travel days. Participants will be involved in the preparation of meals and cleaning duties. Refreshments are provided at meal times.
The days start early taking advantage of the cooler hours and the day’s activities go on into the evening, free time is allocated over the middle of the day. Practical working clothes, small day pack, comfortable walking shoes and a pair of binoculars are essential equipment for this experience.
Participants must expect to spend a few nights “wild camping” in the bush where they will be responsible, on a roster basis, to keep watch through out night to ensure the safety of the rest of the group.
Comprehensive packing and health and safety information is provided on confirmation of a booking.
The first day is getting to the Game Reserve, settling in and a brief introduction to the Ranger Course as well as an overview of the itinerary for the next few days.
The evening will be spent around the camp fire which provides the perfect opportunity to get to know one another.
Days 2 – 12 (8):
The daily structure of the course will vary according to the time of the year and programme for the day. However generally days are divided into three activity session (2 in the morning and one in the afternoon /evening. The early morning session will typically be part of a 3-hour Bush Walks during which some of the basic skills sets which a Game Ranger is required to master will be learned, such as:
• Tracking, signs and spoor identification
• Basic Bushveld Ecology
• Mammal Biology and identification
• Bird Identification
• Tree and plant identification
• Orientation and Bush Navigation
Being able to identify plants and animals is an ongoing process which opens a door that provides fascinating insight into traditional local culture and mythological significance of various species of plants and animals. However, it is also important to learn identification techniques and how this information affects management decisions.
The other two sessions involve learning practical ranger and game reserve management skills through hands on involvement and discussion.
• Determining wildlife carrying capacity
• Game capture and other population control measures
• Eco-tourism vs hunting in conservation
• Vegetation management
• Wildlife monitoring techniques
• Management of endangered species
• Wilderness survival skills and first aid
• Poaching and counter poaching techniques
• Weapon handling and shooting (optional)
• People and conservation
Generally, we include a sunset game drive before dinner, which allows the opportunity to venture further into the reserve. We ensure that all participants operate safely in the bush and rangers carry a rifle with them on bush walks. A good ranger is an expert in animal behaviour and how to deal with dangerous game; they know what signs to look out for to avoid any confrontation without having to use their rifle, although the ability to handle one is essential in ranger training.
The bush environment, unlike the city, has no artificial light, making star gazing a popular activity when enjoying an evening braai or a sleep out. Dinner will generally be enjoyed around a camp fire in camp or on a sleep out in the bush. Clear nights offer the perfect opportunity for star gazing.
Sustainable conservation of a wildlife resource requires a good understanding of the local people living alongside the game reserve. There is no better way to achieve such insight than going into the village to and meeting the people and learning about their culture and socio-economic situation.
Conservation is defined as the wise use of natural resources and as a result of this may include harvesting of the resource, therefore we will include a live demonstration of an animal dissection/necropsy with a special focus on wilderness survival and animal appreciation.
Day 13 (9) Wrap up and Evaluation
After breakfast, there will be an optional evaluation where the participants will be assessed on all the modules covered during the week, including, but not limited to:
• Bushveld ecology
• Mammal biology and identification
• Animal behaviour
• Bird identification
• Tracking and spoor identification of game
• Dangerous game and their behaviour
• Basic fire arm handling and theory of 4x4 driving
• Snake and insect identification
After lunch we have a final wrap up and feedback session followed by a final afternoon Sunset Drive.
Day 14 (10) Depart
After breakfast, we transfer back to the final drop off point.
COST PER PERSON SHARING:
10 Days: R16,875.00
14 Days: R24,060.00
• Accommodation on shared basis
• Guides / facilitators
• Transport (Durban airport return)- or similar
• All meals except lunch on travel days
• Entrance fees EXCLUDES:
• Additional / optional activities
• Lunch on travel days
• Items of a personal nature