Programs
“On the Spirit of the Wild progamme I felt as if my journey to live a better life is starting. I learnt about respect, value, life and its obstacles and how to move forward.”
Melisizwe Ntombana
Walking on Bergplaas Nature Reserve

Our Programmes

Our Programmes

Bergplaas’ two wildlife and environment programmes include:

  1. Spirit of the Wild
  2. Nature Conservation Student Experiential Training

Spirit of the Wild

The Spirit of the Wild

The Spirit of the Wild

The Spirit of the Wild Programme or Spirit of the Wild offers a one-to-three-week wildlife, guiding and leadership experience that awakens each participant’s pathways of knowledge, belonging and purpose. It is a profound personal and leadership skills development journey that reconnects people from all backgrounds with the natural environment. In the 21st century, many of us have lost this connection, which is the lifeline to our shared humanity, our collective well-being and the achievement of our full potential.

In 2012 the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) endorsed Spirit of the Wild as a Specialist Training Provider and Certificate Programme. The range of graduates is remarkable: from young people who grew up in squatter camps with no previous experience of the natural environment to the Chief Executive Officer of the FGASA. Participants from financially disadvantaged programmes can apply to attend at no cost. Bergplaas’ international partners are highly supportive of this.

10 Years of Graduate Success

In 2016, Spirit of the Wild celebrates its 10th anniversary. The programme accommodates groups of up to 18 participants at a time, either for the one-week programme or for the three-week certificate programme, completed in three one-week sessions over the course of a year.

The diverse range of participants includes:

  • Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa’s urban and rural areas;
  • Young people from the South African government’s job creation initiatives in the conservation sector;
  • University and College Students;
  • MBA students from Europe;
  • Citizens and Eco-Tourists from all walks of life; and
  • Global Business Leaders.

Participants – the experience and gains

The wildlife and personal development skills that participants gain through the Programme and the inner and outer journey they experience on Bergplaas Nature Reserve, include:

  • A deepening of your understanding of wildlife and wilderness;
  • Growth in your awareness of being part of the natural environment;
  • Advancement of your communication and guiding skills; and
  • An awakening of your vital force and life purpose.

This triggers a growing connection with self, a trust in self, a confidence in and acceptance of self, which, in turn, nurtures the ability to lead and share the knowledge, relationship- and communication skills they have gained.

All participants on the Spirit of the Wild Certificate Certificate Programme experience these gains, irrespective of whether they are pursuing a career in the conservation sector or are part of the global corporate world.

2017 Spirit of the Wild Course Dates

  • 23 – 29 January 2017
  • 20 – 26 March 2017
  • 2 - 8 April 2017
  • 22 – 28 May 2017
  • 22 – 28 October 2017
  • 10 – 16 September 2017
Spirit of the Wild in action

Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld

“The Spirit of the Wild Programme leads to a revaluation of our personal relationship with the natural environment and our place as humans in this unique ecosystem we call Earth.”

Nature Conservation Student

Nature Conservation

Nature Conservation Student Experiential Training

Short courses and one-year internships for Nature Conservation students from Nelson Mandela University, the Tracker Academy, the SA College for Tourism and other partner institutions. The Tracker Academy trains disadvantaged, unemployed young men in the traditional skills of tracking. The SA College for Tourism offers a one-year tourism and hospitality certificate course to disadvantaged, unemployed young women.

» Contact us about this course.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is the largest University in the Eastern Cape, the province in which Bergplaas is situated. Many of the students at NMMU are from financially impoverished households and the only way that they are able to achieve a university education is by securing loans, scholarships and bursaries.

Bergplaas and the School of Natural Resource Management, NMMU George Campus, have developed a strong partnership since 2011 that was formalised into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2016.

As part of this MOU Bergplaas offers:

  • One-year internship/experiential training for one third-year Nature Conservation student;
  • One to two-week programme for First and Second Year Nature Conservation Students;
  • A one-to-two-week stay at Bergplaas for 12 first year and 12 second year NMU Nature Conservation students during their vacation, which would include a one-week  Spirit of the Wild Programme, and a second week of practical reserve management;

Bergplaas annually selects the third year practical year intern from the second year group.

» More information

Tracker Academy & SA College for Tourism

The Spirit of the Wild Programme annually hosts two groups of eight students from the Tracker Academy for a one-week Spirit of the Wild training programme on Bergplaas. In addition, Bergplaas annually hosts two hospitality graduates from the SA College for Tourism, and one tracker graduate from the Tracker Academy respectively, for a one-year internship.

» More information

Tel: 049 841 1367
Email: info@bergplaas.com
Facebook: Bergplaas Nature Reserve
© Bergplaas Nature Reserve
Share to: