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.
All of our Trainers have their required FGASA qualifications to conduct Training and they are all FGASA assessors. The Trainers have also qualified as specialists in various fields, such as Birding, Dangerous game, Trails Guiding, Marine and Tracking.
Managing Director Senior Mentor for all FGASA Courses
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) Professional Field Guide, Specialized Knowledge and Skills (SKS) in Dangerous Animals and Birds, as well as the Marine Guide and Tracker Level 3 qualifications. Schalk has been a FGASA and CATHSSETA accredited trainer, assessor and moderator since 2001. Schalk serves on the FGASA Executive committee as Chairman for the Eastern Cape region, where he plays an important role in the ongoing development and training of all guides in this province.
When in nature, Schalk is in his element and at his best, exploring and sharing his knowledge of the bush with enthusiastic learners. Most importantly his many years of experience in the industry, have made him into the mentor he is today. Schalk is an excellent motivational speaker that has coached and assisted hundreds of people over the years. He 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, you are able to go out into the guiding industry being the best of the best!
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
Candice has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1996 and has built a wide network of contacts within the lodge industry all over South Africa, as well as in other areas of Southern Africa too. Networking and organising people, places, events, and lives has always been a part of her everyday life. After school, she knew that people and nature were going to play a huge part in her future and so she set out to make it happen. After a few months of sitting in an office as a travel agent, she 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 Eastern Cape in 2005.
Thanks to her passion for people and places, coupled with her knowledge and experience of the lodge and hospitality industry, Candice heads up the marketing and recruitment side for Ulovane Environmental Training. She is your first point of contact, managing the PR, website, social media, marketing and sales and all enquiries and reservations for Ulovane. Candice is also involved with developing the student’s Hospitality and hosting skills, to ensure they are prepared for guests in a lodge environment.
All students both past and current are a part of the family; Candice ensures that we have an open communication line with all students past and present, as well as getting in touch with prospective students, parents and anyone else interested in knowing more about what we do. She is a passionate conservationist and believes that we all need to stand together and fight to keep our nature and wildlife safe – there is no planet B. Candice and Schalk are blessed with three beautiful children, who are also passionate nature and people lovers and are sure to follow in their parents’ footsteps.
Candice’s motto for life – Dream big, Work hard, Stay focused and Surround yourself with good people!
Head Trainer, Mentor and Assessor for the FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide course.
Pieter started his guiding career in 2008 when he attended Ulovane Environmental Training for his FGASA Apprentice Guide qualification. He passed the course and started guiding on Amakhala Private Game Reserve. Pieter subsequently spent 5 years as a guide on different reserves, including Pumba Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape as well as Kapama Private Game Reserve in Limpopo. During these 5 years of guiding, he was able to further both his position to head ranger and his qualifications to FGASA Level 3, Advanced Rifle Handling and Trails Guide.
He started as an instructor at Ulovane in January 2014 and has since then attained his assessors’ qualification as well as achieving all the regional birding qualifications of all biomes in order to achieve the National Birding qualification and completed the SKS birding.
Pieter has since achieved his Trailing Level 3 qualification together with the Level 4 Track & Sign, as well as his Marine Guide qualification. He is also a Range Officer compliant with all categories of firearms.
He is 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 he started to specialize in Trails Guiding (including tracking skills) and the ever-fascinating bird life out in the bush.
There are few people left who genuinely care for nature and work to preserve our wonderful diversity in South Africa; come and be part of the exceptional training in ethics and skills and be part of the change we can make to our environment.
I always like to remind myself of the sentence in the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Manual: “An ethical guide is someone who does the right thing even when there is nobody there to see you do it” – Brilliant advice for guiding and for life.
Campus Co-Ordinator, Roaming Senior Trainer and Assessor for All FGASA courses
Shani is at her happiest when she is either in the bush or on the beach, doing what she loves and that is sharing her knowledge and passion about nature.
She is a fully qualified FGASA Professional Field Guide, Lead Trails Guide, Professional Tracker and Marine Guide. She is also a Specialist Bird Guide for the Savanna biome. Tracking has always been a massive passion for Shani and last year she achieved her 100% in trailing; the first South African woman to have achieved this qualification in the country and the 3rd in Africa.
Shani has trained students all over South Africa, as well as in Botswana and Tanzania. She loves learning new things and exploring new places. She believes that this keeps one on one’s toes and you are able to see the world through different eyes and with a different perspective.
She is also very passionate about leaving a green footprint and tries to inspire everyone to think critically about their choices and actions.
“It is about seeing the bigger picture and where we all fit in. It is about working together for the benefit of all mankind, because if we don’t, then mother nature will take back what is hers’.”
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”
Marketing and Campus Assistant
Meet Melissa, our Zimbabwean fishing, camping, nature lover! Melissa spent most of her childhood in various national parks in Africa and South Africa. She is truly passionate about animals and the world in which we live with them. As humans, there is so much we can still learn from the harmony and balance in which nature exists.
Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Management, and she also is part of the Ulovane Alumni. She completed her FGASA Apprentice Field, Apprentice Trails Guide (theory) and Marine guide training, as well as Track and Sign Level 1. This was the start to her guiding career where she worked for a year on Amakhala Game Reserve as a guide for one of the lodges. She has now returned to where it all started to assist with campus operations, marketing and trainer assistance.
Before Melissa’s journey here in the Eastern Cape began, she was a preschool teacher in the North West province. She knew her place in this world was to combine educating future generations together with nature. Both teach us the purity and simplicity of how life can really be; animals teach us unconditional love and the ability to just be; children teach us humility and to keep things simple while having fun.
Melissa has an insatiable hunger for knowledge; and being out here in the bush, there is never one single day that goes by where she does not learn something new! And that is beautiful.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”
Head Trainer, Mentor and Assessor for the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide course.
Having grown up on a family game reserve, one can say it was always in Justin’s blood to be outdoors and a part of wildlife.
After matriculating at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, Justin decided to study a three year National Diploma course in Game Ranch Management via NMMU. He started his guiding career in 2011, shortly after completing the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide course via Shamwari Private Game Reserve. After this, Justin was fortunate to be given the opportunity by Amakhala Game Reserve to put his guiding skills to work. From this point, Justin then set out to achieve his FGASA Field Guide (Level 2) and Albany thicket biome specialist in 2013. A wise man once told him, “It’s not what you already know, it’s what you don’t know”, and so following some good advice, he finally achieved a Bachelor of Technology in Game Ranch Management in 2015. After hard work and dedication, Justin was given the privilege of becoming Head Ranger for Amakhala Game Reserve.
Training has always been a lifelong dream of Justin’s and after six years of guiding, his dream came true, and now Justin feels it is his time to give back to the guiding industry for all the opportunities it has previously given him.
In his time here at Ulovane, Justin has furthered his qualifications to a Professional Field Guide level, Track and Sign Level 3, Regional Birding qualification of the thicket biome, and most recently he has attained an Assessor qualification allowing him to assess the Apprentice Field Guide students on their final practical assessment game drives.
“He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail!”
Camp Manager and Maintenance
Jacques left the South African Police Services in order to start his own business in the maintenance, plumbing, and electrical construction industry, which he successfully ran for 15 years. Jacques joined the Ulovane team in 2014, he is a great asset to everyone here. Jacques stays on top of all maintenance issues, making sure that the vehicles and the lodge are kept in tip-top shape. He has done a 4×4 and advanced driver course and will assist students with their 4×4 skills when needed. He enjoys good food and works with Mamma Thabs in the kitchen to produce 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!
Chef and Housekeeper
Thabisa and Joyce
These are the ladies you should look after during your time with us! Thabisa, also called “Mamma Thabs”, assists Jacques and makes sure the kitchen is fully stocked with fresh produce and that a healthy menu is planned on a weekly basis, ensuring all the home-grown fresh produce from our veggie garden gets used. 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 most definitely Joyce’s 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 of the land by building Ulovane Camp. Ben is 100% behind green energy and sustainable lifestyle on our campus.
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 with lectures and sharing his valuable knowledge with the students.
Never stop educating yourself and question everything.