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I took a course from Colin Patrick two years ago and it changed my life. I learned to truly push my limits and I have never had so much fun doing it. I studied everything from bird songs to rhino trails and in the process of doing so I felt more alive and more grounded than ever before.

I’m naturalist educator Wes Eagle Gibbs and I want you to have the same pivotal experiences that I had, so I’ve set this program up to do just that.

Have you ever looked deep into the eyes of a giant wild animal? Have you ever known what it takes to follow an animals tracks for miles over varied terrain to find the animal peacefully resting, not knowing that you are even there? Similar to zen meditation, trailing is the very essence of being in the moment, and each decision you make is vital to you staying on that same animals trail. This is something that everyone can learn to do, and in this unique process of learning, something ancient within you begins to breath new life.

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Sometimes we have to travel thousands of miles to truly gain a new perspective. It’s only in Africa that you can have the type of unique experiences that this course facilitates, and you need to be somewhere truly wild to let your mind experience such deep immersion in nature. Conservationists, scientists, wilderness guides, environmental educators, wildlife photographers, dedicated hikers, birders, natural history buffs, wildlife or human trackers, and many other types of nature enthusiasts have learned from Colin Patrick and his staff over the years and this course has room for participants of all backgrounds.

Every single day we will focus on high level naturalist skills. The group learning will be achieved walking directly over the land and making decisions in real time on real animal trails. Three delicious home cooked meals with traditional recipes will be provided by the Moholoholo kitchen staff every day, and tea, rusks and coffees are available 24 hrs a day.

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Colin Patrick lives on the Moholoholo Game Reserve with his beloved family of dedicated trackers and naturalists. Colin and his staff regularly engage in anti-poaching work and he runs a blossoming business that teaches African field rangers how to improve their anti-poaching tactics throughout commonly poached game reserves and national parks in Africa. Colin tracks animals and poachers, like Sherlock Holmes solves mysteries, and he is always in the bush refining his craft. He is a game warden and a wildlife tracking evaluator for the international organization Cyber-tracker.

Animal species that we will be observing include various ungulates such as; Wildebeest, Giraffe, Sable, Eland, Kudu, Nyala, Waterbuck, Impala, White Rhino, Plains Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Elephant and others. Notable large to medium sized species on the Reserve include African Leopard, Caracal, Hyena, Baboons, Honey Badger, Civet, Jackal, White-tailed Mongoose, Bush Pig, Warthog and others. Smaller species include the Banded Mongoose, Marsh mongoose, Bush Baby, Genet and others. Avian raptor species include, Snake Eagle, Hawk Eagle, Fish Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Taita Falcon, African Goshawk, Rock Kestrel, Hooded Vulture and so many others. Other notable birds include, Hornbills, Hoope, Rollers, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Waxbills, Batis, Barbet, Puffback, Bee-eaters, and beyond! Monitor Lizards will be found resting in the sun and termite mounds will cover the land. Species accounts and listings for further research by participants leading up to the trip will be included by Field Guidance.

The primary content of this course involves what is called “trailing,” which is not only an ancient art but likely the oldest art known to mankind. It is comprised of following one individual animal’s footprints until that same animal is found. This is an art that is still used by select hunters and wilderness guides today and has a bright future in education and research in various scientific and educational sectors. Trailing animals employs ancient survival instincts that are often dormant in ordinary life. Tracking allows one to explore the daily routines, happenings and behaviors of that individual over the course of many hours and depending on how long the animal has been resting and how much ground you have covered, sometimes even days.

We will be taking turns within our group, helping each other to remain on a fresh trail of one individual animal until it is found. We will discuss all of the psychological and mental skills needed to improve this skill and break down what might be interpreted by the footprints on each trail. Course participants will be able to practice trailing on various African species throughout the two week course, moving over many miles through a vast array of African plant and animal communities found within this Game Reserve. We will also spend significant time learning to decipher the signs left by animals of all shapes and sizes in these African habitats, allowing us to unravel the story of what has been happening that day or week in the bush.

Birding is a big part of the program as well. A great diversity of birds will surround us at all times and photographic opportunities of all animal species during these sessions abound!

The program fee for this two week course also includes an optional but well worth it wildlife tracking test which will end with a certification through the internationally recognized organization known as Cybertracker. At the end of these innovative field exams, you will be given a score of level 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending on the number of accurate answers you have provided to questions asked in the field. Participants names will be posted on the Cyber-tracker website and the proper certificates will be handed out.

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For those that might be a little intimidated by this level of immersion in wilderness, the program allows for significant down time to rest and relax. No session is mandatory and each group member will find their own personal flow that works for them as the week progresses. This program is designed to meet the personal interests and needs of each participant, so if you want to do more mellow birding instead of go tracking, such things can easily be arranged. You are always welcome to opt out of a tracking session to do more yoga, or take pictures within the designated walking areas, read, nap, call home, etc. Massages will be offered in the evenings for tired group members and optional yoga sessions to help focus and center group members will be held in the mornings. One free massage from deep tissue expert Lindsey Miller is included in the course fee and additional massages at a reduced price will be available upon request.

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This program is mostly hosted not far from Kruger National Park on the large Moholoholo private game reserve. Within this 11,000 acre reserve, animal breeding, hunt guiding and various education programs for all ages are held year round. Moholoholo is a half hour drive from the town of Hoedspruit, which contains a hospital, pharmacies, supermarkets, banking facilities, restaurants and shopping. Comfortable and charming housing arrangements at the Reserve include traditional African round houses with grass thatched roofs that are well built and fully plumbed with showers, bathrooms, a fridge and comfortable beds. Weekly laundry and all necessary amenities will be offered by the Moholoholo staff.

2019 dates are August 5th - 19th

$2500

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The minimum age requirement is 16 years of age if you are accompanied by a parent, and 18 if you are not. The program fee does not include the price of the plane ticket from the United States or other locations. Nearby activities such as spa trips, hot air balloon rides, visits to Kruger National Park, horse back riding, river rafting and much more are also not included in the program fee but can be arranged ahead of time or even once the course is underway. If long distance walking is an issue for older participants, more jeep driving and use can be arranged. Upon arrival, Wes Eagle Gibbs will meet you at the Johannesburg Airport and accompany you on a bus shuttle to the Moholoholo Game Reserve. Other ways of transport to the Moholoholo Game Reserve can also be arranged.