Letter from Tinus de Vries of VIA AFRICA TOURS AND SAFARIS (established 1988) – translated from the scanned Afrikaans letter placed under testimonials, addressed to Kjeld Kruger of EcoVarsity


Dear Kjeld,

I would once again like to cordially thank you for the nature guiding course which I did with you.

I cannot refrain from confirming that it was one of the best, if not the best course of its kind that I have attended up to date.

All documentation, lectures and practical references were of an outstanding quality of which the content is assembled in such a way that  it is easily understandable to the lay person, but also that the more advanced student  can get good value,  and there wasn’t a moment of boredom.

Any student who would finish this course, will have a foundation as a guide in tourism on which he/she can diversify into various divisions/branches , whilst he/she is already well-equipped as a nature guide.

Through the fact that role-plays and team-spirit were encouraged amongst the students, nobody felt   excluded.

The standard that was set, demanded that everybody had to work hard, and  this is not just another course  for a quick and easy qualification. It ensures a quality qualification that would in due course  be highly recommended by employers in this field of tourism.

The atmosphere you created, ensured that every student wanted to be a member of the team. The competition between  students, as well as the challenges created during the course, has build a team spirit amongst us as students, to such an effect, that we still keep contact, even if we are spread out all over South Africa.

I would like to thank you personally for the way in which you offered the course, and the way in which you related practical experiences on a continuous basis to the theory, which confirms your knowledge and experience in this field.

The star gazing, the conversations during and after dinner, were delightful and in a relaxed atmosphere. I was happy with the accommodation and meals, and the friendliness of the host and lady ensure that I will return if the opportunity presents itself again.

This course has convinced me, to scale down on some of my other business activities and to concentrate more on tourism. I would gladly attend any other courses in order to become more proficient in this field.

Good luck and success!


Tinus de Vries        

In 2003, Jéhan Krüger, Kjeld Krüger and two other partners, started EcoVarsity, with the purpose to distinguish themselves from any other training bodies when they would train guides in government funded projects.  They therefore registered EcoVarsity, whilst they were already associates of Drumbeat Academy, at the onset of the INTAC 1-project, which was funded by THETA. They were very much involved in assisting Drumbeat Academy in the training and assessing of nature guides, culture guides and adventure guides.

Amongst others, they were assisting in the training and assessing of the all the 1st and 2nd rifles of the trails guides of the Kruger National Park.

After the INTAC 1 project, SANParks Head-Office in Pretoria convened a meeting between themselves, THETA (the then Tourism Seta), a senior member of Drumbeat Academy, and Jéhan Krüger, on behalf of EcoVarsity.  SANParks asked THETA if it would be possible if EcoVarsity, as associates of Drumbeat Academy,  could do the follow-up assessments and training of their guides in Kruger National Park during the INTAC 2 project, even if SANParks has to fund it from their own pockets! Unfortunately THETA couldn’t allow that, as there had to be a tendering process. The tender for INTAC 2, unfortunately for them, went to another training provider.

 As a combined package of nature in all its components, together with culture, very few people in South Africa has your (Kjeld Krüger)  knowledge and experience base in the tourism and training industries!”  Dr. Johann Kotze, formerly the advisor to Ministers of Tourism, Dawie de Villiers, Jordan, Vali Moosa and Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

In July 2014, Kjeld Krüger helped Johan Fourie of The Nature College, to present the Nature Guiding (NQF2) course to a group of students, together with one of their own facilitators (trainers). Johan has told Kjeld that in all the years of The Nature College, he has never received such a positive feedback from the students on their trainers.

 What I have learnt from you, is actually what I went to university for ..... and more!”  - Herman van der Merwe & Theresa Vermaak

The course was very stimulating, informative, interesting, and I will definitely recommend it, in order that better quality tour guides can be sent into the industry, who will also be better ambassadors for our country and its people”  - Wilma Calitz

It was really something and more than what I expected”  - Freddie Potgieter 

I learnt a lot of new things that will definitely be beneficial to my career. I had a great time”  - Terence Taylor

During the INTAC 1 training of both nature and culture guides,  Kjeld Krüger had various inspections from Quality Assurers and other officials of THETHA. They were all impressed and happy with the way he presented his courses. Jéhan Krüger also distinguished himself as trainer and assessor during the INTAC 1 project.