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  • Writer's pictureRafael Bloch

A Nature Guide Course with AGA

Updated: Jun 18

Let me paint you a picture.


A couple months ago you came across a post on Instagram about a guiding school in the Okavango Delta. You immediately sit up straight, something about the video of Wild Dog running through camp has perked your interest and you click the link to our website.


Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, you stumble across the course list and without thinking too much you send us an email enquiring about the courses and their prices. You are met with an immediate automated response “Thank you for contacting us, we have received your message and appreciate you reaching out… we will gladly assist you as soon as possible.”


Now you wait.


You blink and before you know it, and you’ve travelled halfway across the world to the little bush-town of Maun, in Botswana. You leave the airport and find a seat at the Duck (if you don’t know it, you will soon). Game Rangers, Field Guides, Film Crews, townsfolk and travellers all meet at this unique little location outside the airport. You’re overwhelmed and a little anxious and you begin reconsidering your decision of joining in on a 28 Day Wilderness Experience. But you snap out of it when you notice one of our friendly instructors asking around for your name and if you are joining on the Nature Guide Course. There is this bubbling sensation in your chest, you immediately become ecstatic and with a brave smile on your face you respond “Yeah, that’s me, I’m ready.”


Let the life-changing adventure begin!


KWAPA CAMP


This little haven in the wilderness where all the magic happens.


You’re sitting around a campfire with a mix of local and international students with. There’s no two people here from the same country, yet, you are all here with the same passion and dream of a deep exposure to the wilderness. Some of you may be here to become professional guides in the future, others to explore parts of themselves and immerse in this wild adventure.


Either way, a nature guide course equips you with the foundational tools for you to begin interpreting the various elements of the natural world. From geology, astronomy and climate all the way to tracks & signs of animals, mammals, birds and plants, you begin to develop your own ‘lens’ in which you view the world.


The real fun begins when you put this newfound knowledge into practice and you begin driving our trusted Land Cruisers through the wilderness. You’re stopping for trees and plants that you never knew existed. You’ve learned incredible facts and about the behaviour of wild animals and you begin to take note of their recognition and comfort zones allowing you to drive closer and closer to them as you build your confidence in approaching animals.


But this is all just in the first week, you have another 3 weeks of this!


HIGHLIGHTS


It’s almost impossible to talk about the highlights because it looks so different to everyone. For some it’s the close encounters with animals. It’s about the new birds, the plants, smells and sounds. Even the tasty, nutritious meals we get served every day. It’s the smell of rain on the parched earth, overwhelming to your senses, almost choking you because it’s been so dry for so long.


But even for us, the instructors, staff and volunteers, sharing our passion with you allows us to look at things differently. Things we’ve taken for granted because we can’t see a Grey Go-Away bird for the first time again, we can’t see an elephant for the first time again. But we can show you yours! It allows us to relive those precious moments and look at them from a different angle.


Who am I kidding, though? The highlights are endless!


Leopards rasping through the night? Hyaenas calling between elephant trumpets while you try and sleep? The plethora of birds you can now name at the camp bird bath? Oof, and the Wild Dogs, oh the dogs!


Your classes are taken out in the bush and you get the chance to sleep under the stars, sharing stories late into the night around the campfire while your light reflects glimmering eyes of the nighttime creatures in the not-so-far distance. You go to bed giggling.



There's only one thing to do at this stage and that is to leave your fear behind and come with an open mind to experience this for yourself!


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