EcoTraining is a passionate environmentally concious organisation specialising in the training of nature guides and those with a deep appreciation of the natural world. As one of our members, we wanted to share the story behind the success of the company so we spoke with EcoTraining Director Anton Lategan to learn more.
Tell us your story. How did your business get started?
In 1993 a visionary named Wayne McClintock realised that the new South Africa would be absorbed into the global community and that international relations, industry and tourism was sure to grow. Up until then, there were only a few well established safari lodges, so EcoTraining was formed out of the DNA of lodges such as Londolozi, and established itself as the leading safari guide training business in South Africa.
Since 1993 EcoTraining has trained about 5,500 people in 11 different countries through safari guide and wildlife training courses with a mission to create awareness, raise guiding standards and connect people to nature.
What are your unique selling points? What makes you different?
EcoTraining is the oldest, biggest and most accredited guide training company in Africa. We have the most experienced trainers working in high quality wildlife areas such as The Kruger National Park and Botswana. We offer courses in four unfenced wilderness camps, all situated in Big Five game areas. Our students become completely emerged with nature from the day the course starts.
What are some of your success stories?
- EcoTraining has trained guides in different rural African countries from the Masai Mara to Gabon to help protect their local environment.
- EcoTraining has trained international university students from the US and the UK towards a career in conservation.
- We are privileged to be the only private training camp in the Kruger National Park. Our landlords are the Makuleke community who received a United Nations equator award for sustainability in 2010.
- We were chosen globally to help the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan to train and establish guiding standards for that region.
- We trained several hundred guides in Australia near Kakadoo National Park that are currently employed in the Australian tourism industry.
- We are proud of the students we have trained, many of whom have successful careers thanks to our training.
What are your future plans?
To save the world! We believe by reconnecting modern man to nature we can inspire a beautiful revolution to create natural ecological harmony in our time.
Which trends and challenges do you see in the youth travel sector?
There is gross misrepresentation of quality on social media and websites. It is difficult to know the true standards an organisation or product offers by just looking at website and it happens regularly that adventure travellers end up with an inadequate experience. People going to mediocre experiences will depart with a mediocre impression. The natural world needs people to be inspired by true wilderness areas and wildlife and I find it a tragedy for young travellers to not experience the real thing.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We believe that this generation will change the world and that EcoTraining will play an important role in getting young people to dedicate their lives or their energy towards protecting this beautiful planet. We feel that WYSE would be the perfect platform to get our message to the youth travellers of the world.
Any top tips for people starting out in the youth travel sector?
People only have one short life. Give them a good and meaningful experience that contributes to something greater than themselves. So my advice is for people to shop around, and pay a bit more money to get into real Africa.
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WYSE Travel Confederation values all of its members and enjoys hearing and sharing the stories behind the brands and organisations that build up our ever growing community of service providers to the youth and student travel industry. If you would like to see your story here contact us, or join WYSE as a member.
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