The courses are ideal for the more unusual aspects of Southern Africa. Learn about the folklore, and geology of the region. Discuss the processes of evolution and find out what could be in store for the planet. Become an expert birder and learn about Southern African birdlife, or discover the perfect formula to running a successful game lodge. Fancy yourself as a bit of a shutterbug? Take the photography courses and learn all about the art of photography, especially how to take that perfect wildlife photograph.
All prices are shown in South African Rand (ZAR)
Geology, Palaeontology and Evolution
prices start from ZAR 1,760
Learn about the Earth and its make up, as well as an in-depth look at southern Africa itself and the chance to study some of the amazing fossil discoveries from the area. These modules include discussions on the process of evolution, and what is next for the planet.
Module 1: Introduction
Southern Africa is unparalleled in terms of geology. From valuable minerals with a 4 billion-year geological history to the evolution of plants and animals, particularly mammals and dinosaurs; all are well preserved in our rocks. We also have some of the best palaeontology records of the origin of man. The story of earth and life explores it all.
Module 2: Earth
This is a three-component module exploring, as the title suggests, how the Earth works. Investigate its internal mechanics, plate tectonics and what happens when continents collide.
Module 3: Extraterrestrial geology
We move our geology off-planet in this fascinating look back to the Dawn of Time.
Module 4: Continents
This four-component module takes a close and in-depth look at the continents of our planet, from the First Continent, why the northern parts of South is the richest piece of real estate on Earth, what occurred when the planet experienced it's largest explosion and what became of the super-continents and will we see them again.
Module 5: Life
Two components examine life on planet, how the conditions conducive for life came about, the energy powering life, some evolution and the nature of life.
Module 6: Gondwana
Formerly known as Gondwanaland, we investigate everything about it in one exceedingly comprehensive component.
Module 7: Fossils & dinosaurs
Three components cover this topic with an in-depth look at palaeontology and palaeobotany, reptiles and mass extinctions and the domination and demise of Dinosaurs.
Module 8: The modern world takes shape
A fairly diverse range of topics combine to fill the two components of this module, from the oceans, oil, diamonds and collapse of the global ecosystem to changes in climate, grasslands, rivers and deserts.
Module 9: Hominidae
Two components combine to conclude the inevitable story of Earth and Life, the evolution of our species, the modern human. We look at the arrival of humans, their progressive dominance and eventual expansion to every corner of the planet.
Module 10: The 6th extinction?
Our final module draws on the wealth of information previous imparted to mull over in the context of the present, among many of other subjects; earthquakes, volcanoes and extinction level events, to finally consider lessons from the past for the present and future. Fundamentally we ask whether our species will or deserves to survive the current 6th Extinction.
[ back to top ]
prices start from ZAR 2,235
All the essential information you need for survival – from psychology and ecology, to edible and medicinal plants, animal behaviour, and navigation. Learn how the world around us and evolution has affects and still affects methods of survival, as well as the best way to survive every situation.
Module 1: Land survival
Teaching the learner the discipline of land survival, its importance as a life-saving body of knowledge and its value as life insurance in a survival emergency. It creates awareness of the circumstances that may require survival knowledge especially in the light of current situations in a world fraught with natural disasters, war and terrorism, aeroplane, shipping and other transport disasters.
Module 2: Ecology of survival
The aim of this module is to create an awareness of human vulnerability in the African Big Five territory and to illustrate the value of basic ecology as a very helpful skill in the survival situation. It then aims to also familiarise the learner with the actual ecological territories that they may expect to encounter in a survival emergency and the key survival factors associated with them.
Module 3: Psychology of survival
Since the correct mental attitude increases your chances of survival exponentially it is important to internalise the value and dangers of fear and panic in psychological survival. This module also centres on focusing the learner not only to be prepared for the unexpected but also to use his/her mind in order to survive and to trigger the required activities in response to a survival situation.
Module 4: Edible & useful plants of southern Africa
To inform explorers about useful and edible plants, their different parts, their uses, and the hazards and considerations associated with them. It also provides a "last resort" mechanism to obtain edible plant material in a survival situation through rules of edibility and testing. Useful lists and introduction to specific species are provided with reference to vegetation types of Southern Africa.
Module 5: Animals - their survival uses & dangers
Although animals are potentially dangerous they are also a resource in a survival situation. Knowledge of animals may save a person's life for not only are they a potential source of food but they could also indicate or warn us against danger, lead us to water, show us where the food is and even indicate direction. Techniques on how to deal with dangerous game are also described.
Module 6: Improvisations & survival skills
Improvising and using survival skills to purify water, obtain food and beverages and protect yourself against the elements are the objectives. It focuses on ways to shelter yourself and to keep you safe from dangerous animals. In order to make the survival effort more comfortable, time is spend on improvising basic useful tools and implements and lastly to make a fire by using the friction method.
Module 7: Bush medicine
The nature of bush survival is such that medical emergencies arise often without warning. This module is not a substitute for emergency care and first aid but aims to bring into perspective those medical issues most likely to be experienced in a Bushveld survival situation. Look at the causes of medical emergencies, how to deal with afflicted people and how to prevent medical emergencies.
Module 8: Survival nutrition
Nutrition examines the importance of metabolism, the nutrient requirement of the body and natural nutrient sources to enable the survivor to find natural survival nutrients in the Southern African Bush. It also aims to establish water as the most important priority of life in a survival situation and to inform the survivor of the potential sources of water in the dry landscape of Southern Africa.
Module 9: Sea & coastal survival
This module takes the survivor into the sea and coastal regions. It looks at the natural forces and environments that shape this coastline and how it influences our survival in it. Reflect on the marine wildlife, their threats and dangers and how we can make use of them. The focus is always on safety and the last component looks at sea and coastal afflictions like motion sickness and drowning.
Module 10: Natural navigation
People have revered the sun, moon and stars since ancient times, some as godly entities and yet others as an integral part of their timekeeping and daily life cycle. Since an emergency or survival situation can arise when least expected and modern navigation tools may not be available, this module is aimed at enabling the survivor to find direction and time with alternate and natural methods.
[ back to top ]
prices start from ZAR 725
Learn a bit about the folklore of the area, including beliefs and stories of the creatures and plants. Credo Mutwa is one of Southern Africa's most eminent storytellers and expert on folklore; this course works with Credo Mutwa for an enlightening and entertaining experience.
Module 1: Insects (& other invertebrates)
This component deals with Credo's thoughts on Africa's smaller creatures, the insects, arachnids and millipedes.
Module 2: Birds
Credo Mutwa waxes lyrical about Africa's winged creatures. From general bird-lore to accounts of individual species.
Module 3: Beliefs
This is a mixed component, dealing with a variety of Credo Mutwa's beliefs and stories. You'll find accounts on smallpox, his ancestors, a great deal about animals and their feelings, sangomas and hyenas, followed by a detailed account on his beliefs about the creation of the universe, extraterrestrials, constellations and other heavenly things.
Module 4: Mammals
Credo Mutwa has a great deal to say about Africa's mammals. He expressed views and beliefs and tells stories about 15 common animals. In doing so he shares his own experiences, frequently hair-raising and humorous.
Module 5: Trees, reptiles & the natural world
Three different topics are covered in this eclectic component. From trees to reptiles, from rocks to creation. Credo Mutwa, one of Africa's finest storytellers has his say.
[ back to top ]
Birding by Habitat: Beginner, Enthusiast, Expert
prices start from ZAR 705
Learn the basics of birding, as well as what to look for in a range of habitats. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, these modules are suitable for all ranges of birders.
Module 1: The basics of birding
These are introductory components aimed at the beginner birder. They look at the basics of birding, binoculars, field guides, jargon, birding ethics, taxonomy and naming in addition to the basics of bird identification.
Module 2: Birding in aquatic habitats
A very concise yet highly detailed guide to the identification of all birds associated with water and aquatic habitats: lakes, pans and rivers, floating vegetation, reed beds and papyrus beds, wetlands including marshes, flooded sedges and grasses, riverside vegetation, inland water bodies, open rivers, sandbanks, rocks, dead trees, non-vegetated river banks, beaches, headlands and estuary mouths.
Module 3: Identifying birds of prey
A very concise yet highly detailed guide to the identification to all the birds of prey (raptors) of Africa. First divisible by habitat: lowland equatorial and gallery forest, mid- to high-altitude montane forest, woodland, savannah, grasslands, semi-desert and the aquatic habitats of rivers, dams, lakes, marshes and estuaries. From this point morphological characteristics are utilised.
Module 4: Identifying birds - woodland & forest habitats
At the conclusion of this module, learners should be able to determine which bird species are likely to be found in low equatorial forest habitats as well as in mid/high-altitude forest habitats (above 900 m). This two-component module is split between the low- and high-altitude forests.
[ back to top ]
Game Lodge Management
prices start from ZAR 1,810
This 6-module course covers the essential components of lodge management and care of the guests. Learn how to run the perfect lodge, as well as what work it involves.
Module 1: Introduction to game lodge management
This introductory module consists of a single component. It deals with the basic principles and philosophies of lodge management.
Module 2: Guests
The one component of this module, explores the single most essential aspect of lodges – their guests. Without guests there would be no lodges. The correct treatment of guests in every single facet of their stay is the focus of this component.
Module 3: Human resources
This module contains 5 components and covering all the aspects of human resource management from the specific perspective of the lodge environment. Among others, topics included are general staff issues, leadership, staff leave, staff duties and responsibilities. A section on disciplinary procedures in also examined.
Module 4: Administration
This module of 3 components covers the administrative duties and procedures required for the successful running of a lodge or bush camp. While these topics may seem mundane, they are vitally important areas in lodge management and may never be ignored or disregarded. It's often the little details that make the most difference.
Module 5: Equipment, infrastructure & maintenance
Module 5 relates to camp equipment, infrastructure and the maintenance thereof. Too often equipment and infrastructure is neglected resulting in breakdowns and shoddy appearances. These cannot be allowed in well-run lodges. Items covered include radios, vehicles and lodge equipment and maintenance and the minimum standards required.
Module 6: Safety & emergency procedures
Module 6 sets the standard for game trail and rifle safety, first aid kits and emergency procedures. The importance of these topics cannot be overstated. Often the true mettle of a lodge is tested during times of crisis. A lodge prepared for these occurrences is one that survives.
[ back to top ]
Digital Wildlife Photography
prices start from ZAR 1,610
The best way to learn how to capture and create the perfect wildlife photograph – shooting raw images from the field and transforming them to perfection. Learn the basics of photography, how to use the equipment, basic lighting techniques and how to digitally enhance raw field images to exceptional quality.
Module 1: Preparation
The components included in the preparatory module include: wildlife as a photographic specialisation; what this course will teach you; equipment considerations; preparing yourself for the field and shooting raw; essential elements of a good photograph and some important theory – dynamic range and histograms.
Module 2: Lighting for Wildlife Photography
This module examines the various lighting techniques commonly used and misused in wildlife photography. We will explore: front lighting, back lighting, side and subdued lighting concluding with artificial lighting.
Module 3: From Average to Exceptional Wildlife Photography
This module takes a look at: what the camera sees; anticipating your subject and macro photography.
Module 4: Processing your Images
The final module of the course explores what to do now that your photographs have been taken. We examine digital workflow, post-processing equipment and the actual post-processing of your imagery.
We will conclude the course with a concise component with five tips to dramatically improve your photographs.
- Point your shadow at the animal
- Watch your surroundings
- Watch your subject's eye
- Watch your angle of viewing
- Watch for a good pose
[ back to top ]
prices start from ZAR 910
An in-depth look at the perfect wildlife photograph – covering everything from lighting to knowing where to go. Photographer Daryl Balfour takes you on this step-by-step guide to wildlife photography, including great techniques and how to use equipment.
Module 1: Let's get started!
Daryl [Balfour] highlights the most important equipment needed to embark on your photography adventure. Cameras, lenses, film, tripods and camera bags are discussed from the point of view of affordability, practicality and results. He also introduces some of the more basic aspects of technique, including F-stops, shutter speed, depth of field, exposure and basic composition.
Module 2: Using your accessories & know-how
Photography is about capturing light, and this module focuses on how to capture images when the lighting situation is tricky. Daryl discusses flash photography, filters, difficult lighting conditions, twilight and even star-trails. He also compares a number of different and films while on a photographic safari in Kenya and Tanzania.
Module 3: Real wildlife photography
In this module Daryl explores advances in camera technology (such as new lenses and auto focus cameras), advanced shot composition, capturing the animal within its surroundings as opposed to a solitary subject, "seeing" your subject and motion blur. He expounds on the most important aspect in wildlife photography – patience, patience, patience!
Module 4: Understanding lighting
Photography is after all simply capturing and recording light. In this module Daryl explains all about the qualities of light, metering, side lighting, backlight and soft lighting. He explains how best to use light to get that perfect photo, and how to change the lighting conditions where you are working.
Module 5: Situations & specific techniques
In this module Daryl goes into detail on shooting in snowy landscapes such as Antarctica, photographing rain and the flowers it brings, getting in close with macro-photography, aerial photography, exposure compensation, high speed flash and ends with a discussion on digital photography. This is the module that will take you from good to great in those difficult, but exceptional, situations.
Module 6: 50 photo tips
Consisting of just one component, this module gives 50 top tips to capturing great images. It is designed to be printed out and kept in your camera bag, and covers information on equipment, film, flash, light, technique, the subject and composition, and includes a handy Exposure Compensation Guide. This is the module to take everywhere and refer to on the fly.
[ back to top ]