What happened at all?
What is our conclusion? In the 27 days we were in camp we walked 134 hours in the bush. We covered almost 280 km on foot in that time. We had three lion sightings on the walks. In total, we could observe seven different lions during these sightings. Three leopard and thirty eight elephant encounters are also on our list. Our Group could observe 600+ elephants on foot – partly at close range. These numbers are exceptionally high. We are definitely lucky and enjoyed and appreciated these sightings very much.
Fantastic experiences in the bush
We would like to divide our experience: the practical part, i.e. the bush walks were always stunning experiences. Our two Botswana instructors, who were always present, worked hard and always tried to give the group great experiences with high learning content. We rate this part with 5 out of 5 points.
The course participants are mostly wonderful, lovely people. We met very cool people who have their hearts in the right place and – if they get a chance – will become wonderful guides. Guys, you’ll rock it 🙂
Everything okay with EcoTraining?
We are very irritated when we look at the other parts of our stay. EcoTraining does not make it easy for us to discover anything positive. The company’s marketing stands for conservation, high ethical values and calls itself a Pioneer and Leader in Safari Guide and Wildlife Training. Accordingly, our expectations were high for the course.
The first disappointment was the food. Apart from the daily fresh fruit salad, we rarely found any healthy food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, very greasy food and coffee consisting of a chicory extract with a small amount of coffee granulate and a high amount of sugar, noodles and sometimes rice were the essential foods. Fresh vegetables were available in rather small quantities.
Given the high level of physical exertion, we believe that a whole food diet would have been highly desirable. The “fruit juice”, which was available three times a day, consisted for the most part of sugar and flavorings, and if you studied the ingredients, you would stumble across countless “E” contents. We limited ourselves to consuming water and ate very selectively. We had the illusion, that a company that is interested in a healthy environment is also interested in healthy people and is doing its part to make these two issues go together.
Our conclusion regarding the cars
The largely defective and unmaintained vehicles were the most dervish disappointment for us. To be honest, in now 12 years of Africa experience, we have never seen such poorly maintained vehicles anywhere. This is unacceptable, especially since the camp also offers field guide courses, where the vehicle is an elementary component. On some days none of the three vehicles was ready for use! Group participants who had to drive to an external shooting range had a flat tire every day and once a spare tire that belonged to a different type of vehicle, so it was not changeable. We are only evaluating here the things we experienced ourselves.
The appearance of the general manager during the flying visit of the delegation from the company headquarters honestly gave us the rest. His behavior and that of his employees was unprofessional at all. The difference between words and deeds is inexplicably high (see report of the 2nd week).
In the run-up to our trip we explicitly clarified that our vehicle could be parked in the camp. Another participant came with his private vehicle and even did some transfers for EcoTraining several times. When the delegation from headquarters arrived, we were suddenly told that private vehicles were forbidden in camp and that we had to bring the vehicles to the South African border. Why should we park the car at the South African border? After leaving the group we go on to explore Botswana! This situation shows once again that there seem to be major communication problems.
We conclude that we would not want to consider EcoTraining for any future course bookings and unfortunately cannot recommend this provider. We rate this part with 1 out of 5 points.