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We can all appreciate nature and the beauty and splendour it can offer. Some of us have learned to appreciate its offerings more than others. Werner Eksteen is one of those people.

Werner, an ER24 Event Coordinator based in Potchefstroom, has always been fascinated by nature. “I was born in the Lowveld, and my family and I have always spent time in the National Parks. When I take leave, I always go to the bush to recharge and to become one with nature.”

Werner became a SANParks Honorary Ranger in 2015 and recently completed his Apprentice Field Guide course at Campfire Academy, accredited with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA). This course includes seventeen modules that span over 90 days, consisting of theory, practical’s and volunteer work.

“I had to work very hard as I still had responsibilities at ER24 while studying online. Once the course’s theory section was completed, I took leave and spent several weeks in the bush to focus on the practical aspect. I have always had a passion for nature, and by doing this course, I can share my passions with others.”

Werner is not too sure of what the future may hold, but he knows what direction he would like to head. “I want to use my qualifications to assist in our National Parks. Ultimately, I would love to become a Trail Guide”.

Coming from a family that loves the bush, it is easy to see why Werner has such a strong passion. “My mother is also an Honorary Ranger, and my father spends a lot of time in the bush when he is deployed as a helicopter pilot. My family is very proud of me.”

Knowing nature and tracking, Werner has acquired a distinct advantage over others that also experience the wild. “One of the best experiences I had was being just a few metres away from a herd of elephants. Not everyone will ever come close to what is out there. It can be very dangerous, but if you respect them, they will respect you”.

No matter what the future may hold or what animals he may encounter, we know that Werner’s love for nature will only grow.