Global Excellence Awards 2018

Page 28 LUX 2018 Global Excellence Awards From humble beginnings, EcoTraining grew to the largest of its kind in Africa, providing the most widely recognized accredited courses with the most bio-diverse footprint in Africa. Today, the firm draws on the experience of its dedicated team to provide truly unique, once- in-a-lifetime experiences to participants on its courses. Corne explores how this has helped the company to gain and retain its position at the head of the safari training market. “Here at EcoTraining, 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 our unfenced bush camps in prime wilderness areas across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Although we are Africa’s largest safari guide training company, we also provide a range of options for agents that are looking for more niche custom activities for their guests. These are comparable to a ranger experience course that gives travellers a behind the scene experience that is real and very different from your normal Safari. “As part of our focus on quality, we provide very customised immersive experiences that cater to small groups or multi-generational family groups that want to experience a more With almost 25 years’ experience in the market, EcoTraining has established itself as the pioneer and leader in safari guide and nature-related training in Africa. Having recognised the firm in our LUX Global Excellence Awards we invited Corne Schalkwyk to tell us more about the firm and the secrets behind its success. EcoTraining Safari Guide Training Specialists of the Year - South Africa & Award for Excellence in Conservation Safari Education 2018 hands-on educational safari. Our product provides practical training as part of the trip, and clients are guided by specialist trainers to ensure these experiences provide in-depth knowledge is gained as part of the bush course. This could range from learning how to track and trail as part of your safari to learning how to approach dangerous game on foot.” In today’s education market, where the focus is on quantity of students rather than the quality of their instruction, EcoTraining aims to buck the trend by offering exceptional quality, student-focused training that will shape them into the experienced guides that the industry needs, as Corne is eager to emphasise. “Fundamentally, our mission is to train naturalists, guardians and professional field guides as ambassadors for nature. Our mission is clear, we aim to provide a rich, knowledgeable and practical learning experience for students to reach their full potential. By sharing nature’s processes, its ecosystems and the importance of wilderness, we seek to equip people with the skills necessary to effect positive change in the world. We believe nature conservation is about people, and as such they remain our core focus.” Moving forward, with the safari industry continuing to focus on conservation Corne and