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Project Quick Facts
- Species: All species, plus plants & rocks - The whole African ecosystem!
- Conservation Impact: Conservation education
- Programme availability: Specific dates - see Dates & Prices
- Rhino Rating:
EXPERIENCE THE LIFE OF AN AFRICAN GAME RANGER IN AN INTENSIVE 2 WEEK PROGRAMME
The Game Ranger Experience gives you an ideal introduction to the wildlife and habitats of South Africa. It is set in a magnificent game reserve in the Greater Kruger area, with superb wildlife viewing opportunities. During an intensive two weeks you'll explore topics such as ecology, animal identification, wildlife behaviour, tracking and botany alongside ranger skills such as fire arms handling, safety in the bush and an element of astronomy.
Things you'll learn:
- 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
- Bushcraft & safety in the field
- Astronomy & geology
For two weeks, you'll get to experience the world of a game ranger, learning to interpret your environment on guided game drives, bush walks and a sleep out. this experience covers the theory and practical knowledge behind life as a Game Ranger and includes the following elements:
- Ecology is the branch of biology that studies the relations between organisms and their environment. As a game ranger it's important that you have a good understanding of the role an animal plays within its ecosystem and how they are connected. For example, hyenas are very important to the health of the ecosystem. As scavengers, they clean up a huge amount of dead matter and as hunters they help maintain the genetic health of their prey groups.
Mammal biology and identification
- Most lectures will take place out in the fresh air where you will learn the biology and anatomy of African mammals and the skill of identifying wild species that you may encounter in the bush on game drives and walks.
- Geology is the science that deals with the history of the earth as recorded in rocks. South Africa has numerous famous geological features and this aspect of the course will give you a fascinating insight into how today's landscapes were formed looking at the native rock, its composition, properties, history and processes of formation.
- Why do animals demonstrate certain behaviours and what is the reason behind such traits? Are they inherited or acquired? Animal behaviour is the scientific study of everything animals do. It involves investigating the relationship of animals to their physical environment as well as to other organisms, it includes topics such as how animals find and defend resources, avoid predators, choose mates, reproduce and care for their young. There's no better place for you to learn about this fascinating field than out in the field!
- The Limpopo province is one of the best provinces for bird watching with over 500 bird species found in Kruger National Park alone. You will learn about different species and how to identify them based on physical characteristics and habitat preference.
Tracking and spoor identification of game
- A spoor is any sign of a creature such as tracks, trails and droppings used for animal tracking and to survey what types of animals live in an area. You'll learn to identify a wide range of animal tracks as well as how to read the environment around the tracks for context.
Dangerous game and their behaviour
- Game drives will allow you to venture into the world of some potentially dangerous animals where you will learn which animals pose a threat, the warning signs to look out for and how to track them safely.
Basic fire arm handling
- We ensure that all participants operate safely in the bush, accompanied by rangers who carry a rifle with them on game drives and walks. A good ranger, however, 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 ever having to use their rifle, although the ability to handle one is essential in their training. You'll be taught how to handle a rifle and you'll also get to have a go in a target shooting practice. These sessions always turn somewhat competitive!
Snake and insect identification
- It's important to be aware of the different insects and snakes you may come across in the bush, those that are harmless or poisonous and how to identify different species. You will participate in a practical workshop at a specialist reptile centre.
- Astronomy is the scientific study of celestrial objects such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae and galaxies. A highlight of the Game Ranger Experience is a night spent sleeping out under the stars in the bush. It's the perfect opportunity to learn how to get your bearings by reading the stars - with no artificial light to distract, the night skies in the bush are incredible!
CERTIFICATION & ASSESSMENT
On completion of the course an optional theoretical and practical examination can be taken. You will be awarded with a certificate of achievement. This is not a professional qualification.
The Game Ranger course was brilliant! I now know lots about all the main African animals and the smaller ones, the trees and their uses, insects, reptiles and birds.” Stuart Spindler
I wanted to go away and have a fantastic experience but not a safari. The Ranger Course was great for being more hands on than just sitting in a land rover and listening.” Richard Baxter
It was absolutely perfect for me and even better than what I thought it would be. I loved that we learned about wildlife in great detail and had a lot of chances to observe. The guides were all excellent and enthusiastic. I wanted to learn about the entire ecosystem of animals, plants, habitats, seasonal changes and as well as information on conservation ... I got all of that and it was amazing.... Seeing a leopard as we were returning to camp was incredible. So was watching a hyena by lantern light in the night from my tent in Kruger. Listening to elephants rumble feet away as I was going to sleep, watching a Verreaux’s Eagle eat a Dassi, sitting in a hide watching a baby ellie play in the mud ...The whole trip was awesome!” Carolyn Smith, USA
I attended the the 'Game Ranger Course' back in October. I had never been to South Africa before but had always wanted to go. I wanted to know more about the wildlife that lived there and the countries conservation. I learnt so much more than I thought I would in just two weeks. We did a lot of tracking of the 'BIG FIVE' by foot and vehicle. I also learnt how to shoot a rifle at targets which I had never done before. The high light of the course for me was camping out overnight watching out for the animals that may pass us, it was so exciting. I was very apprehensive about going to South Africa alone , but soon as I arrived and met the rest of the group it was great. I am so glad I went on the course, and I would definitely recommend it.” Donna Calvert
Prices & Dates
Game Ranger Experience Dates
- 23 February - 9 March
- 3 - 18 May
- 19 July - 3 August
- 21 February - 7 March
- 24 July - 7 August
- 10 - 24 October
These dates are the start / end dates in Johannesburg. If you are taking the flights from London, you will depart London one day before and arrive back on the day after the expedition ends.
Programme fees 2016:
£2,050 / US$ 2,790 excluding flights
£2,925 including return flights from London
Prices include accommodation, meals, transfers from Johannesburg airport, 24/7 support and financial contributions to the reserve. Prices are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.
We also accept payment in EUR, CAD, AUD and ZAR. Please ask us for a quote, subject to exchange rates at the time.
You are welcome to join the Game Ranger Experience in combination with another project during your stay. These placements are more complicated as they include travel arrangements between the projects, so please ask us for a quote for your desired project combination.
What is a "Rhino Rating"?
The "Rhino Rating" is our way of ranking a project in terms of how challenging it is - both physically and in terms of culture shock, comfort levels and skills required. Please refer to the "Rhino Ratings Explained" section for the general criteria for each rhino rating. The paragraph below explains the method behind our madness in choosing the rhino rating for this particular project.
Why does this experience have a "3 rhino" rating?
The Game Ranger Experience is generally suitable to people of average levels of fitness and physical ability. The programme does include bush walks, which generally last 2-3 hours. The pace is slow, as you'll stop to interpret your environment, but the terrain can be uneven and, depending on season, temperatures can be warm to hot. You will move between different camps, some of which will have basic facilities (stretcher beds in tents and limited access to electricity). While individual activities are not too challenging physically the overall experience consists of a very comprehensive programme with busy days - Your mind will get at least as much exercise as your body!
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