Limpopo Field Guiding Academy (LFGA) is based on the Mongena Concession of The Dinokeng North Game Reserve, a true birding hotspot in South Africa.
The proximity of aquatic, grassland and bushveld habitats attracts a wide variety of birds to a relatively small area. Dinokeng, an approximately 23 000 hectare Big 5 Game Reserve, is home to over 300 bird species. It truly is a birders paradise, so what better place to study birds! If birds are your passion, LFGA is without a doubt, your go to training provider.
On Day 1 of our FGASA endorsed Apprentice Field Guide programme, we were taken on an introduction drive. I was astounded by the diversity of birds we came across in just 2 hours. My fellow students could see my passion for birding from the get go and dubbed me the “bird nerd” of the group. Being November, we were especially blessed with the presence of some of the migrant species, such as the Woodlands Kingfisher, European Bee Eater and Red Chested Cuckoo, among others. Fellow “twitchers” will understand, when you hear the first “Trr, trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” of the Woodlands Kingfisher, or the “Piet my Vrou” of the Red Chested Cuckoo, and the “Europe, Europe, Europe” of the European Bee-Eater, excitement bubbles, and the challenge is on to spot them.
What I loved about LFGA was the way the course was structured. Lectures, followed by practical drives, are given by expert trainers. The focus of the drives is to put into practice in the field, what you have learnt in the lectures. Not only is the required birds theory and practical knowledge for the CATHSSETA NQF2 Nature Guiding taught; there is also a dedicated Birding Component Week at LFGA, which is included.
I really had to hold myself back a lot of the time during our training drives, and concentrate on the practical focus at hand, as there is so much other interesting content to learn. However, knowing the famous LFGA Birding Week was coming up, made it so much easier, as I knew I had a whole week up ahead to focus on birds.
What is very helpful to the learner field guide is the manner in which the LFGA trainers weave birding into the art of nature guiding, thus not only teaching students about all aspects of the ecosystem, but also improving their birding skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed my entire course and was so content learning all aspects of the bush, however, I would say the highlights for me were the Track & Sign Week, and the Birding Week. During birding week, we were taught 150 birds, some to ID via sight, some by call and some – both. Lecture time and drives this entire week focused on birds, which for me was absolute bliss.
Whether learners are beginner birders or have birding experience, the birding week caters for all, with particular focus on the requirements for the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide qualification. The component week is also open to non-FGASA students who are welcome to enjoy the amazing birding diversity of Mongena, alongside FGASA students.
On the final morning of birds week, the skills learnt are put to the test in such an exhilarating way – extreme birding! This is an adventure filled 2 hour long drive, whereby the birding group attempt to record the maximum amount of bird species by sight, sound or other signs, within the given time-frame.
Such an excellent way to end of a tremendously fun filled educational week!
For enquiries, contact Linky on:
+27(0)72 625 4709
+27(0)14 007 0621
www.limpopotraining.co.za Article by Candice Browne, LFGA student.