Hosted during the 24th to the 29th of June 2019.
Tourism is a multidisciplinary industry and therefore involves many different stakeholders for its operational activities. Among them the tourist guides play a major role since tourists need to have a clear picture of the country and its offerings, laws, rules and regulations and expected behaviours. Moreover, guides should have the ability to transform the tourist visit into an unforgettable experience.
With this workshop we aim to create a network of well-trained guides aware of the importance of responsible tourism in Namibia. Furthermore, they need to be aware that their behaviour towards the elephants can have long-term effects on their conservation.
A tailor made program
It was a workshop tailor-made for the tourism industry, especially for tour guides. The workshop had 9 participants from different backgrounds: freelance tour guides, guides from Tour Operators and guides from lodges and campsites, all ready to learn more about Loxodonta africana africana
The first two days
of the workshop took place at EHRA base camp. We were learning more about the elephants: their history, taxonomy, anatomy, social structure, reproduction and more– key information for any tour guide out there in the field wanting to transmit the right information to the clients.
The third day
day we started the practical workshop. We started around 8h tracking the elephants, checking first with the Community to see if they had seen or heard the elephants moving around. With this lead, our guides Hendrick Munembome, PEACE Project Leader, and Christin Winter, PEACE Project Manager, took the decision to start following their tracks
Every time possible we got out of the vehicle to put into practice what we had learned the first 2 days. We checked the elephants’ tracks, we learned how to recognize where they were heading and how long ago they had passed through that area. We even learned to determine how big they are! We checked theirdungto learn aboutwhat they had been eating and to see if they were far or not. It was very interesting information all along.
Even though we were tracking the elephants, we came up with some other tracks such as kudus, hyenas, jackals, rhinos and a fresh kill of a lion. Indeed we had a very exciting day.
About 4pm and around 100 km later, we found the first elephant of the day.
The herd wasn’t that far. And we were right! After 5 more minutes driving we caught the herd of 17 elephants.
After the beautiful day we had, we needed to find a place to camp. We drove for about 20 more minutes and we found a good place. The night was cool. We needed to make teams to keep the fire going all night long. It’s amazing to see how the bush starts waking up around 4am… everything starts moving again.
The second day was more about observation, how they behave and interact with each other and with their environment. Sometimes we couldn’t even see them but we could hear them.
We learned about the area where they live, the common and scientific names of the plants they eat. We learned the best way to approach an elephant; we learned how a safari car needs to be parked in order to not disturb them. We learned that our actions and the actions of our clients could resultin long-term effects on their conservation.
This field workshop would not have taken place without the support of our member Asco Car Hire. Thank you for your Support! Geoffrey, Chantal, Marco and all the team.