Ulovane Environmental Training was established in 2005 by Schalk and Candice Pretorius, both of whom had gained significant experience, working first in Game Lodges and later as lecturers, and managers of the Bush Academy. This couple has been associated with conservation in the lodge and guiding industry for almost 20 years. The students become a part of the family and this is very important to the Pretorius’s who have three children of their own.
Course Management, Training & Mentor
Schalk has a passion and dedication for training and developing guides that has grown from strength to strength over the years. He has been guiding since 1996 and has achieved his Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) Level 3, Special Knowledge and Skills (SKS) in Dangerous Animals & Birds as well as being a qualified FGASA Marine Guide and Tracker. Schalk has been a FGASA accredited trainer and assessor since 2001 and is registered as an accredited Culture Arts Tourist, Hospitality Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) assessor and has the relevant Education and Training and Quality Assessor (ETQA) assessor and moderator qualifications.
Schalk is in his element and at his best when in nature, exploring and sharing his knowledge of the bush with enthusiastic learners. Most importantly he has the experience, knowledge and passion for nature, which he enjoys sharing with others. Schalk coordinates and guides the Ulovane Team to ensure that the students are provided with the best training and personal development. He also ensures that once you have spent time at Ulovane that, you are able to go out into the guiding industry being the best of the best; Schalk is a great motivational speaker that has coached and assisted many people over the years.
Advice from Schalk:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure” – Colin Powell
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” – Robert Byrne
Marketing & Sales
I have been involved in the lodge industry since 1996 and have built a wide network of contacts within the lodge industry all over South Africa. Networking and organising people, places, events, and lives has always been a part of my everyday life. When I left school I knew that I wanted to work with people and I knew that I wanted to be close to nature. After a few months of sitting in an office as a travel agent, I was offered a front of house position at Mabula Game Lodge in Limpopo and the rest is history. Since then it has been a wonderful experience to work and live on different game reserves in South Africa. Finally settling down in the beautiful, friendly, family orientated Eastern Cape. In 2005, we thought it may be a good idea to try and start up our own training facility with our own ideas and visions. Little did we know there were so many other people who shared our crazy ideas, visions and passion for people, nature, and wildlife.
Thanks to my passion for people, places and my knowledge and experience of the lodge and hospitality industry, I was the lucky (and only) one to head up the marketing and recruitment side for Ulovane. It has been a crazy journey learning all about marketing from scratch and making it work with what little we had and what little I knew. 10 years on and I manage the PR, website, social media, marketing and sales and all enquiries and reservations for Ulovane, I am the first point of contact for every prospective student.
All students both past and current are considered to be a part of the family and because of my love for long hours of chatting via email, text, social media, and phone I ensure that we have an open communication line with all past students and get in touch with new students, parents and anyone else interested in knowing more about what we do. I am a passionate conservationist and believe that we all need to stand together and fight to keep our nature and wildlife safe. Finally, I am also blessed enough to be a Mom to 3 beautiful children, that keep me on my toes along with all my ‘bush children’.
My motto for life – Keep on Keeping On!
I started my guiding career in 2008 when I attended Ulovane Environmental Training for my FGASA Level 1 qualification. I passed the course and started guiding on Amakhala Private Game Reserve where I started to build up the necessary requirements to move on to my FGASA Level 2 qualification.
I spent 5 years as a guide on different reserves including Pumba Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape and also Kapama Private Game Reserve in Limpopo. During these 5 years of guiding, I furthered my position to head ranger and my qualifications to FGASA Level 3, Advanced Rifle Handling, Trails Guide and Track and sign Level 2.
I have always had an incredibly big respect for Ulovane and the ethics I got taught years ago when I did my Level 1 qualification with them. After a few years of guiding, I wanted to make a bigger difference in the industry through maintaining a high ethical standard with guides and decided to make my way back to the place where it all began….ULOVANE.
I started as an instructor at Ulovane in January 2014 and have since then attained my assessors’ qualification as well as the Regional Birding Specialization for the thicket biome and moved my Track and Sign Level 3 up to a Level 4. I am extremely passionate about experiencing nature on foot and being able to get a better understanding of nature by really being part of it. It is because of this that I started to specialize in Trails Guide (including tracking skills) and the always fascinating bird life out in the bush. I have achieved all the regional birding qualifications of all biomes this year in order to achieve the National Birding qualification and completed the SKS Birding.
There are few people still left who still really care for nature and preserve our wonderful diversity in South Africa, come and be part of exceptional training in ethics and skills and be part of the change we can make to our environment.
An ethical guide is someone who does the right thing when there is nobody there to see them do it…are you up for the challenge?
I started out as a guide in 2004 and moved on to training in 2006, and been training guides ever since, well most of the time… I did do lodge management for about a year and a half, but really missed the training. I just absolutely love to share whatever knowledge I have with enthusiastic students. I am also learning all the time and thus, love new challenges. I have trained all over South Africa, in Botswana and Tanzania. What I like about the industry is exactly that – you never know everything, although I would love to be able to know every single star, tree, bird, grass, fish… it is just not possible, and being a trainer keeps one on ones’ toes the whole time, you constantly need to learn and better yourself.
There is no better feeling if students come to you after a course saying that you changed their lives or outlook and they want to be better people. I am very passionate about what I do, I love people and students are always my first priority – be it their training, happiness or welfare.
I always try to make the students also see the bigger picture and that they should respect nature and all that she has to offer, because, without it, we would not be here. I believe in the smaller things and how it all fits into the ecosystem and where we fit in and how very small we are compared to this great creation.
My favourite thing out there is tracking (if I have to choose one). I also love plants, especially the medicinal uses of plants. I would also love to get the Marine guiding qualification to be able to help out with that into the future.
My favourite quote is: “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” and to me that is a big part of life – we need to respect everything out there and be more aware of what we do this earth!
Facilitator (Field Guide Courses)
Having grown up on a family game reserve, one can say it is in my blood to be outdoors and part of wildlife. One of my fondest memories is exploring all that was unknown to me as a young boy, trying to satisfy this hunger for knowledge.
After matriculating at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, I decided to study a 3yr National Diploma course in Game Ranch Management via NMMU. I started my guiding career in 2011, shortly after completing my FGASA Level 1 course via Shamwari. I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity by Amakhala Game Reserve to put my guiding skills to work. Once I discovered the beauty and diversity of this incredible reserve, it simply became a part of me. From this point, I set out to achieve my FGASA Level 2 and Albany thicket biome specialist in 2013. A wise man once told me “It’s not what you already know, it’s what you don’t know” so following some good advice I finally achieved a Bachelor of Technology in Game Ranch Management in 2015. After hard work and dedication, I was finally given the privilege of becoming Head Ranger of Amakhala Game Reserve. It just goes to show, if you out in the time and effort then hard work will always be rewarded!
Training has always been a lifelong dream of mine and after 6yrs guiding my dream has come true, it is time to give back to the guiding industry for all the opportunities it has given me.
Once again a have been absolutely blessed to become part of a family who have an enormous amount of passion for wildlife, nature and people and who always strive for the best and nothing less.
“He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail!”
Jacques left the South African Police Services in order to start his own business in building maintenance, plumbing, and electrical construction. Jacques also recently joined the Ulovane team and is a great asset. Jacques will make sure that the vehicles and the lodge is in tip-top shape. Jacques has done a 4×4 and advanced driver course and will assist students with their 4×4 skills. He enjoys good food and will be assisting Mamma Thabs with producing healthy and exciting meal plans and delicious food! Jacques really is a part of the family being Schalk’s brother….yes we really do keep it in the family!
Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living!
Thabisa and Joyce
Chef and Housekeeper
These are the ladies you should look after during your time with us! Mamma Thabs makes sure the kitchen is fully stocked with fresh produce and that a healthy menu is planned on a weekly basis. The smells that come from the kitchen are to die for and anything you want to try in the kitchen, Mamma Thabs is the lady to ask.
Joyce ensures the camp is always ready for visitors and is in tip top shape. She is there to assist us with your washing and ensures your rooms are neat and tidy. Wonder woman is definitely her middle name!
We love and appreciate these ladies very much! Without them the show can definitely not go on!
Landowner Ulovane Reserve
Ben is our longest student at Ulovane; he arrived in 2005 and has continued his studies since then. He purchased 350 hectares of land in 2007 and began development by building Ulovane Camp. Ben is 100% behind green energy and sustainable lifestyle at the camp.
He has a Degree in Economics and is a qualified concrete engineer CB1, with 25 years of managing a concrete manufacturing plant in Holland. In 2000 he retired and wanted to do something more meaningful with his life – so he came to Africa! Ben is a Level 3 Trails guide and is passionate about nature and always asks the important question – WHY… Ben enjoys helping out with lectures and sharing his valuable knowledge with the students.
Never stop educating yourself and question everything.