Guide Course South Africa: Apprentice Trails Guide
Jump into your next South African adventure and become an Apprentice Trails Guide in the African bush. Experience the fascinating landscape of South Africa while improving your skills as a trails guide and tracker.
On the Apprentice Trails Guide Course, candidates are personally mentored by their course instructor and gain as much first-hand experience as possible. 28 wonderful days are spent in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve in South Africa (open to Kruger National Park), a paradise on earth for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
The course is accredited by FGASA and offers extensive experience through small groups of max. 8 people. This course is aimed at anyone looking to start their career as a walking guide and nature lovers looking for an exceptional experience. Take the next step in your adventure and become an Apprentice Trails Guide in South Africa.
- Live and learn for 28 days surrounded by Southern Africa’s wild nature
- Explore the bush with track and sign experts, watch them in action, and get hands-on training
- Spend three nights out on the ‘Primitive Trail’
- Receive an official FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide certification after completing the course
- Gain a better insight through small groups of max. 8 people
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with booking flights
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Risk coverage certificate
Daniel, your travel agent for South Africa
You would like to learn more about this trip? Don't hesitate to contact me! Our service doesn't end with your departure: I answer all of your questions and support you before, during and after your stay abroad.
Apprentice Trails Guide Course in Southern Africa
As a participant, you will enjoy 28 days of training to become an Apprentice Trails Guide with a renowned training provider. This focuses on creating a unique connection between people and nature while respecting wildlife in all its glory. Embark on an (educational) journey among the breathtaking wilderness and discover the secrets of the flora and fauna of this fascinating region.
Arrival and orientation
You will either need to book a flight to Eastgate Airport (Hoedspruit) or fly to Johannesburg and take a shuttle bus to Hoedspruit. Depending on your arrival time, you will be met by a staff member and transferred to the camp in Timbavati. This transfer is included in the price and takes approximately 1 hour. All participants are welcomed with an orientation at the camp, followed by a briefing on safety in the bush and on the trail. On the first afternoon, there will be an activity such as an introductory walk. At the end of the course, you will be transferred back to Eastgate Airport before continuing your journey or returning home.
Content of the Apprentice Tails Guide Course
The course will give you a better insight into the art of navigating the bush and tracking game. In the beginning, the experienced instructors will teach you how to perceive your surroundings while walking through the African nature.
You will also learn how to use a rifle (ARH) and dive deep into the theoretical knowledge of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. You will receive general information about the different animal and plant species and the behaviour of the wild animals.
In the African bush, the senses have to be sharpened to quickly assess and evaluate situations. As your next step of the course you will embark on a 3-Nights-Primitive Trail where you will sleep under the stars and take turns on guard duty. All food and equipment are carried in backpacks and there is no vehicle to support you. There are no designated trails, which means that all wilderness paths are open to you for your walks.
Back at camp, you will focus on logging your trail activities and preparing for the theory exam.
Accommodation during your training
You will stay on the Bateleur property, where you'll find authentic tented camps that are unfenced and set under magnificent jackalberry trees. There is no electricity, no Wi-Fi and no mobile phone signal, so you can focus entirely on the surroundings and get into the rhythm of the bush.
Each dome tent can accommodate two participants. A mattress and pillow are provided, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag.
The sanitary facilities are basic – there is a long-drop toilet and canvas bush showers are under a canopy of trees overlooking the surrounding bush.
The communal area is around the campfire or in the kitchen, where our cook prepares healthy meals on a gas cooker and open fire. These are then enjoyed together in the community tent, which also offers space to relax.
Primitive Trail - Three nights becoming one with nature
A Primitive Trail is an alternative, immersive way to explore nature. There are no set routes or predefined campsites. It's just you, the group, your backpack and endless wilderness. The only limiting factors are finite access to water and the strong midday sun. You will move in the wilderness according to your interests, abilities and pace. Led by professional wilderness guides, each with countless hours of guiding experience, you will spend three nights sleeping in the wilderness under the stars (no tents).
Leisure time as an Apprentice Trails Guide student
You will quickly get to know the other camp participants with whom you will spend the next four weeks in this fascinating environment.
You can make good use of your free time together. As the course is quite intensive due to the many hours of walking, you can use your free time to rest and let the newly gained experiences sink in.
Arrival in South Africa
Typical day during your Apprentice Trails Guide adventure
Assessment during the Apprentice Trails Guide
Last day in the Timbavati Reserve
FAQ – Learn more about this trip
After taking part in the Field Guide Level 1 our wilderness student Matthias also completed the Trails Guide course in South Africa – and sent us some amazing wildlife shots we'd like to share with you of course:
“It was amazing. I have made zero, zero (and zero is little) negative experiences.”
“Walking is a lot of fun and makes you fit while you are in beautiful nature.”
“Makuleke lets you walk around like a child with wide eyes and open jaw.”
1. Timbavati Game Reserve
The Timbavati Game Reserve is a paradise on earth for nature enthusiasts and admirers of the unique diversity of African wildlife and vegetation. It covers 53,392 hectares between Hoedspruit (Limpopo) and Acornhoek (Mpumalanga). Without a fence, it borders the Kruger National Park in South Africa. White lions, as well as the other large mammals of the African Big Five, roam freely in this area.
Background to the Apprentice Trails Guide training in South Africa
Whether you are already a qualified field guide or a true nature lover who wants to acquire new knowledge and experience a real outdoor adventure: In this course you will gain sound knowledge about nature and wilderness, increase your situational awareness and learn about the importance of the environment that surrounds you.
After successfully passing the practical skills and the necessary theoretical knowledge, you will have the opportunity to obtain the official FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide certificate. But even if you don't want to participate for qualification reasons, you will benefit from taking the course for the rest of your life: Roaming through the African bush day after day, exploring the wilderness with all your senses and learning in and from nature is undoubtedly an incomparable experience that you only have once in a lifetime.
Spend an unparalleled year amidst Africa's wild nature and get trained as a Professional Field Guide