Join us at Imire for a multi-week wildlife conservation course covering a huge variety of subjects and skills, delivered in a mixture of lecture-style lessons and exciting outdoor practical activities. Our FGASA-endorsed Nature Enthusiast Course is the perfect way to increase your wildlife knowledge and appreciation of the natural world while enjoying the very best of what Imire has to offer.
The 6-week wildlife course is perfect for school leavers, gap year travel and graduates looking to take their next career steps. It has also been designed to suit those looking for career guidance, or nature-lovers of all ages and backgrounds who are looking for a longer and more in-depth bush experience. If you’ve already been on safari or volunteered in Africa (or at Imire!) before, this wildlife course is the natural next step.
Nature Enthusiast students live in the heart of Zimbabwe surrounded by wildlife, including black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and zebra. You will become an integral part of the Imire family, learning our history, immersing yourself in our beloved wildlife, understanding amazing animal relationships and increasing your appreciation and knowledge of our all our creatures, great and small.
WHAT MAKES OUR COURSE UNIQUE?
Course length: our six-week course enables us to go into much more detail than other courses. Without strict time constraints, we are able to delve much deeper into each subject, revealing the many wonders of the natural world.
Course numbers: we have limited our courses to a maximum of 10 students, which allows for plenty of one-to-one training and guidance.
FGASA accreditation: the course is fully endorsed by FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa).
Scientific research: all participants contribute to Imire’s ongoing research, something which other courses do not provide, giving a practical application to the skills and techniques you will learn.
All of our subjects are designed to achieve the highest level of learning possible. We combine classroom learning with practical, in the field studies to ensure you reach your full potential.
Our Nature Enthusiast course is a unique opportunity for wildlife lovers of all ages and backgrounds to gain an in-depth knowledge of African flora and fauna and understand the intricate and wonderful relationships between each element in an ecosystem.
The course is perfect for people considering, or already in, careers in environmental science, conservation, animal behaviour or zoology, but is also designed to suit those who just want to experience a longer and more focused stay in Africa. It is a structured and education-centric programme, where students will gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills, transferable across many natural science careers and within different physical environments.
You will gain an in-depth understanding of the fascinating worlds of amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals (of course focusing on our ten black and white rhino and three elephants). Students will learn about our different environments and habitats, learn to identify large and small animals, track wildlife and interpret signs, and understand animal and bird behaviours. Learn advanced bush survival, tracking and navigation skills, and cover topics in botany, geology, ecology, weather and climate.
The course will also draw in local conservation experts, giving students an insight into Zimbabwe’s conservation and cultural history, the current challenges facing Imire, and an outline of the work that is currently being done to secure the future of our wildlife and wilderness areas.
During 6 week Nature Enthusiast course you will cover the following modules:
There is no other Nature Enthusiast course which facilitates meaningful research quite like ours, where participants actively contribute to Imire’s scientific research projects.
Each topic of study includes a research project. For example – if you’re studying mammals you will go out into the reserve and track our rhinos using telemetry. Over time, the data will be mapped, revealing our ‘rhino hot spots’. This will allow us to better deploy our anti-poaching resources and manage the vegetation on which the rhinos and other animals rely.
Another example – if you’re studying birds you will be involved in our bird ringing scheme. This involves catching birds using a mist net and applying a specially designed ring. Each ring is unique to that particular bird so if it’s caught or photographed again we can ID individuals. This allows us to better understand movements and migrations, monitor particular species, measure breeding success, understand population declines and ultimately conserve our bird species.
Whether you’re thinking about a career in conservation or simply want to learn more, being involved in research projects will be an invaluable experience.
The broad range of wildlife topics covered, our talented course leaders, and the research techniques you will learn, are what set the Imire Nature Enthusiast Course apart from the rest. You will learn to apply your skills in a range of environments and will have learnt the theoretical skills that ensure you can apply what you have learnt across a variety of wildlife and conservation industries, anywhere in the world.
Who should join?
Passionate conservationists and wildlife-lovers of all ages, who want to learn more about Imire and Africa’s varied flora and fauna.
How long is the course?
Number of people:
Maximum 10 students per course
The wildlife course is open to anyone aged 17 years and over. There is no upper age limit!
Course dates 2020:
12th January - 23rd February
1st March - 12th April
Please enquire if you would like to participate outside of these dates as we will be opening new courses through the year.
What’s not included:
For pricing information, or if you have any questions, please drop us an email.
Nature Enthusiast students are accommodated in our brand new, purpose-built Wilderness Camp, situated in the wild side of Imire near Chiwawe Dam, which allows for quiet, intensive learning within a diverse ecosystem.
Wilderness Camp is in an idyllic spot with bar and braai area surrounded by pristine African bush - watch rhinos and giraffe graze from your verandah as you study. Participants share a twin safari-tent, each with en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, flush toilet and shower. The main lodge has a small reference library, dining area, study area and lounge.
You will receive three home-cooked meals a day during your stay, made by our expert cooks, Tarisai and Oscar, served buffet style. Dietary requirements can be catered for, please let us know before you arrive! Clean, safe drinking water is provided.
You will be guided every step of the way by our very own FGASA-trained guides. In addition to holding a Level 1 FGASA Field Guide Accreditation, Sam has extensive experience of 5-star guiding in South Africa, and also holds a BSc in Zoology. He is also an experienced wildlife photographer, covering the Basics in Wildlife Photography module.
Throughout the course you will also learn from talks by specialist guest speakers and guides, all experts in their field, to give you the ultimate learning experience.
Vera has also guided in 5-star South African lodges, on completion of her Level 1 FGASA Field Guide Course. She holds a BSc in Biology and runs Imire's scientific research programme. Her and Sam's academic backgrounds ensure that they are able to facilitate meaningful and long term research projects, which all students form a key part of.
Imire Conservancy Manager
In addition to running the Imire conservancy and managing the Anti-Poaching Unit, Reilly is himself a qualified and highly experienced FGASA-certified guide. He completed his FGASA certification in South Africa and went on to guide at 5-star lodges in Kenya and South Africa, before returning to Zimbabwe. Reilly oversees the Nature Enthusiast Course schedule and advises when required.
Dolf has decades of experience running anti-poaching training and specialist wildlife courses for conservation professionals across Zimbabwe. He has also worked across Zimbabwe's National Parks for more than 35 years. He is a highly regarded wildlife expert, passionate about sharing his knowledge of Zimbabwe's flora and fauna, and dedicated to conservation and wildlife protection. Dolf will present selected modules of the Nature Enthusiast Course, subject to his availability.
We will also host various guest speakers - conservation professionals and visiting professors, depending on their availability. These speakers will give you a wider context to your studies, and also go more in-depth into certain areas. We will update you on any guest speakers that may attend your course.