Professional African Field Guide Course
if you intend to become a Field Guide or pursue any other career in this field, as a FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) certificate is essential, then this is the course for you. The 55 day course covers a broad spectrum of subjects both out in the field and in the through daily lectures. You will be continually on a learning experience exposed to the African bush and being submerged in nature.
Within the wildlife industry, if you intend to become a Field Guide or pursue any other career in this field, as a FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) certificate is essential, then this is the course for you. The 55 day course covers a broad spectrum of subjects both out in the field and in the through daily lectures. You will be continually on a learning experience exposed to the African bush and being submerged in nature. We split the training between two of our wilderness camps; this maximizes exposure to different wildlife, biomes, areas and biodiversity.
Some subjects covered on course are : The Introduction to Guiding in the Natural Environment, Basic Bush and Survival Skills, Geology, Basic Ecology, Basic Taxonomy, Mammals, Reptiles, Fish, Birds, Animal Behavior, Tracks and Tracking, Approaching Dangerous Game Animals, Off-Road and 4×4 Driving and Night Drives.
Participants older than eighteen years, who hold a valid driver’s license (manual gearbox experience is preferable) are invited to attend … from all walks of life. Many participants enroll onto this course for a gap year experience or extended bush holiday although this course does form the foundation for a career in field guiding or other wildlife orientated careers
Both morning and afternoon sessions will alternative between game drives and walks, whilst midday lectures involve topical discussion and instruction on the subject or game encounter of that particular day. Following all of this is personal study time and relaxation.
NB – VERY IMPORTANT!! FGASA will only issue your FGASA Field Guide certificate if you have a valid first aid qualification! … our suggestion would be that preferably this qualification should be obtained before joining the course. First Aid is generic worldwide, so this can be done at any accredited institution in any country.
When you are either serious about pursuing a career in field guiding or looking for a gap year learning experience, we offer a course just short of a year for participants. During that period you will be exposed to landscapes, wildlife species, diverse ecological and geological terrains, and so much more at our wilderness camps in remote places such as the Makuleke Concession (Kruger), Karongwe Reserve, Selati Reserve and Mashatu Reserve (Botswana).
Supported by our highly qualified and experienced instructors, each with their own unique way of training and guiding, in our unfenced bush camps you will be provided with a consistently stimulating environment in which to learn, that will enhance your overall training experience.
Every morning and afternoon will alternate between game walks and game drives whilst the lectures at mid-day will involve discussion and topical instruction on the game encounters of the day – or other subjects. Students will also be given their own personal study and relaxation time.
Some subjects covered on the course :
- Planning of Game Drives and Walks
- Navigation and Orientation
- Radio Procedures
- Geology and Soil
- Amphibians, Fish, Mammals
- Weather and Climate
- Animal Behaviour
- Plant Communities
- Career Opportunities
- Plant Identification and Uses
- Identification and Ecology of Invertebrates
You could graduate with:
FGASA Field Guide Level 1 (NQF2) (theory and practical)
FGASA Trails Guide Back Up (theory and practical)
Firearm Proficiency Certificate (with a PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) accredited provider)
Advanced Rifle Handling (FGASA accreditation)
Animal Tracks and Tracking (FGASA accreditation)
Wilderness Medicine: Level 1 & 2
Navigation and Orientation
Lodge Placement Programme
The sleeping arrangements at all of our camps consist of two people sharing per tent. Single requests are required to pay double-rates. Women and men do not share tents unless booked as a couple.
Early morning wake-up` (tea, coffee, biscuits, fresh fruit and cereal)
Brunch after activity (cooked breakfast and fruit salad)
Afternoon tea (light lunch/ sandwiches)
Dinner (balanced, warm plated meal with meat, vegetables and salad)
Age: 18+, driver’s licence, able-bodied, able to walk at least 2 km
The Makuleke Conservancy is a 24000 ha private concession in the north of the Kruger National Park. Located between the Limpopo River in the north and the Luvuvhu River in the south, it has large alluvial flood plains and central African vegetation, but also sandveld and a huge amount of plant and animal species. It is a gathering space for elephants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as those that reside in Kruger. There are many hippos and crocs in the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers and as there is thick bush around, leopards happily hunt the nyala and impala near the rivers. Makuleke also hosts eland and grysbok whilst the birdlife is prolific.
Karongwe Private Game Reserve lies east of the Drakensberg Mountains in the Province of Limpopo and is an 8 500 ha area of South African bushveld; an untamed garden of eden – pure wilderness. The ‘Big Five’ flourish here, but there are also many other species such as elephant, rhino, buffalo, wild dog, cheetah, two hyena species, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, and many, many antelope along with monkeys and baboons. Birdlife is proficient and the waters contain otters along with the normal hippo and crocodile. Rocky outcrops stand out within the reserve’s undulating terrain.
The Selati Reserve hosts over 50 species of mammals and is known for it’s large numbers of sable antelope. Species biodiversity is enhanced by elephant, black rhino and lion but it also hosts leopard, cheetah and the odd wild dog, amongst many others. Selati has a vibrant bird population due to the varied habitat; there are mopane woodlands and rare cycads in this undulating area. As with most other reserves in the general area there are many species of reptiles from monitor lizards to crocodile and snakes.
Mashutu shares borders with Zimbabwean and South African national parks; there are no fences between the reserves. Mashutu is between the Tuli Safari Area in Botswana and the South African Mapungubwe National Park. It is a rugged savannah landscape, wild and with open plains and riverine forests where large herds of elephant abound. There are also many predators – leopard, cheetah and lion – in this Land of Giants located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers.
2018 rate per person
ZAR 275 000 (no VAT payable)
2019 rate per person
To be confirmed.
Rates include :
- Drop off at Emerald Backpackers on the last day
- Pick up at Emerald Backpackers on the first day
- NDT (formerly known as DEAT) registration
- Entry to Kruger Park (for Makuleke Courses);
- Instructors and Training
- Wilderness Medicine Course
- Game drive
- 3 x sets of uniforms (shirts and shorts)
- Golf shirt, cap and beanie
- Tea, Coffee & cordials
- Other activities (sleep out, etc)
- All FGASA registration, examination and
- Moderation fees and books
- PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council)
- Proficiency Certification
The course starts in Nelspruit.
Rates exclude :
- Transfers/transport to and from the camp, before and after off times.
- Any accommodation before and after the course and during off times.
- Beverages (beers, ciders, bottled water).
- NDT (formerly known as DEAT) registration.
- Entry to Kruger Park (for Makuleke Courses); Botswana border crossing.
In unforeseen circumstances, rates (for unpaid bookings) and venues are subject to change without notice.
Arrival for any of the below courses is 14h00 on the first day, with departure at 9h00 on the last day.
4 January – 16 December
To be confirmed
31 January – 23 December
2 August – 14 July
3 September – 18 August
1 October – 15 September
Certification & Accreditation
We are a FGASA registered training provider. We are also accredited by CATHSSETA (Tourism and Hospitality and Sport Education Training Authority) for the FGASA Field Guide qualification, thereby meeting the required standard.
FGASA and CATHSSETA are the two bodies primarily responsible for regulating standards within the guide training industry in South Africa.
For the One Year Professional Field Guide course, we will register students with FGASA and CATHSSETA.
Students need not arrange this themselves before coming on the course.
PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) – Firearm proficiency training will take place on the first two days of course during orientation. This training is facilitated by a PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) accredited training provider and upon successful completion, participants will be awarded with a firearm proficiency certificate.
·PDP (Public Drivers Permit) most lodges require that students have a PDP as this allows them to transport groups of people in a company vehicle. Please understand that participants under the age of 21 years and foreigners without a study visa are not eligible to apply for a South African PDP. In this case, please enrol using your conventional license.
Course information will be sent to you from our enquiries department. Please request a booking and should availability allow, a registration/ booking email will be sent to you from our enquiries department. These forms need to be completed, signed and returned to us (by email) within 7 days.
A 40% deposit payment is immediately due to confirm your booking, with the balance payable 4 weeks prior to the start of your course. Proof of payment must be emailed to us. Our admin department will confirm your booking by email.
Quoted rates are valid for 30 days from date of enquiry. Subject to change after 30 days
Invoices will be issued on request only.
The responsibility remains with the traveller to ensure they are fully aware of the most current immigration laws and visa requirements of the country/ countries they intend visiting. We cannot assist in this regard. Please will you contact your preferred travel professional for further advice.
Further information will follow from our admin and support departments.
Professional African Field Guide Course
Linking People & Conservation
The African Conservation Foundation is an award-winning charity focused on protecting Africa's endangered wildlife and their habitats. We build local capacity for long term sustainability of projects.