Guide Course Southern Africa: Field Guide Level 1
If you are an adventurer looking for time-out which will benefit you in the long-term, then this Natucate course with training as Apprentice Field Guide (former Field Guide Level 1) is the right choice for you. In 55 days you will learn the essentials about the interplay of the reserves' flora and fauna from experienced and highly qualified instructors. The programme focuses on delivering training and further education directly in the wild. With steadily increasing knowledge, on your way to becoming a Field Guide, you will discover what it means to conserve the beauty of the African wilderness.
Your EcoTraining Adventure – Why book with Natucate
As long-term partners of EcoTraining, we have a trusting relationship with the team on site and visit the camps ourselves each year. When booking your EcoTraining adventure with Natucate, you will benefit from expert advice, comprehensive travel preparation, 24/7 support and German travel law advantages. When booking with Natucate, you won’t have any extra costs.
On our EcoTraining info page you can learn more about why to book your game ranger course with Natucate.
- Live and learn in the midst of Southern Africa’s wilderness for 55 days
- Be part of an international student team
- Acquire valuable field guide knowledge, instructed by experienced course leaders
- Discover the untouched flora and fauna on daily game walks and drives
- Receive an official FGASA certificate at the end of the course
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Risk coverage certificate
Terry, your travel agent for Southern 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.
Note: The price stated above is an approximate value. Due to sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate of the South African Rand, the final price for this trip will be calculated at the time of enquiry based on the latest exchange rate.
Apprentice Field Guide in Southern Africa
As a student in the 55-day Apprentice Field Guide course (former Field Guide Level 1), you get to know Southern Africa’s flora and fauna, acquire deeper knowledge about the local animal and plant life and receive an official FGASA certificate after successful course completion.
Arrival and orientation in Africa
Botswana/South Africa – You will arrive and depart via Johannesburg. You will arrive one day before the course begins and spend the first night in a hostel, where you will be picked up and brought to the course on the following day.
Zimbabwe – You will fly in to Victoria Falls International Airport. You will arrive one day before the course begins and spend the first night in the camp. You will leave one day after the course comes to an end.
Activities during the Apprentice Field Guide course
During these fascinating 55 days you will learn all about plants and animals such as amphibians, reptiles and mammals and their relationship with each other within the South African ecosystem.
You will learn various methods for orientation and navigation in open country, including insights into astronomy, so that you can determine your geographical position using the constellations. During the daily outings you will learn how to handle an open cross-country vehicle and how to reach your destination safely even in rough terrain. Your training as a field guide also includes basic instruction on the geological and climatological conditions in South Africa, tracking, animal behaviour analysis and how to identify native animal, plant and tree species.
You will spend nights in the bush beneath the breathtaking starry sky, gathering in the evenings around the campfire with the other adventure seekers and experiencing never-to-be-forgotten moments. Night drives are offered on a regular basis. This way you get the chance to spot animals like hyenas, civet cats and other wildlife which is predominantly active at night and therefore difficult to observe.
You will also gain insights into the tourism industry and the history of Africa, which will give you a better understanding of their significance with respect to the continent’s problems and options.
The major challenges for nature conservation today include conserving species and preserving the natural dynamics of their habitats while at the same time keeping global environmental change at bay. During your time in Southern Africa, you will discover how nature conservation really works, what measures are used and what factors can have a positive or negative influence on the development of an ecosystem.
There will be a theory test and a practical test at the end of the course. You will be given an official Apprentice Field Guide / FGASA NQF2 certificate if you pass them.
Accommodation as a field guide student
During your time in the course, you will get to know one to three out of six course locations in Botswana and South Africa. In South African Makuleke you will be staying in stilt houses with access to your own bathroom. Your accommodation in the other camps will be in two-man tents with access to shared bathrooms. Each day you receive breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
The camp is not connected to the electricity grid but gets the power that it needs from generators. This means that you will have some ability to charge electronic devices when the generators are up and running. A laundry service is also available in return for a small fee. The camps use solar lamps and satellite telephones for emergencies, as mobile reception is generally quite limited.
Leisure time during your nature training in Africa
During the course, you will have some free time which you can spend as you wish. However, because the course only lasts 55 days, these periods will be limited to individual days or afternoons which you can use to relax or revise. Most of your free days will come when changing camp or finishing off a course module with a test.
Depending on the camp, you will be able to play volleyball or table tennis, take a look at the library or play cards with your friends. Please feel free to contact us if you require any additional information about the current course and how to plan your free time.
Arrival in Johannesburg
Start of course: Transfer to camp
Typical daily routine during the Apprentice Field Guide course
Tests and final exams
End of course and departure from Africa
Additional notes for your Apprentice Field Guide course
FAQ – Learn more about this trip
“Learning is not limited to one area and goes beyond theory lessons and animal observations. You get to meet new people, different cultures and life experiences.”
“Out there is much more to discover than Facebook. I say: Do it! and we might meet because I´ll definitely go back!”
“Living in and with nature 24/7– it’s an experience which I will never forget and thinking back to it always lets me pause for a moment in the daily hustle and bustle.”
Wilderness student Matthias completed the 55-day Field Guide Level 1 course in South Africa where he took some amazing wildlife pictures – and of course we'd like to share them with you:
As part of his sabbatical Alain joined our Field Guide course in Southern Africa. Within 55 days he was able to capture some stunning pictures of Africa's wild nature. We are happy to share some of them with you.
“The experiences that you make in the course in combination with what you already learned are very interesting.”
“I really liked the daily bush walks! You always had the chance to explore and learn something new.”
Fabian used his sabbatical to complete our 55-days FGASA Field Guide Course in South Africa. Untouched nature, wild animals and an endless vastness – find some of his impressions here:
“When the elephant herd had passed, Alan, our last instructor, said “you cannot describe that experience in words, so let’s not””
“I really loved the game walks, especially in Mashatu – beautiful landscapes with open savanna and a fascinating plant and animal life.”
1. Camp Selati
Camp Selati is located west of the world-famous Kruger National Park. Situated directly on the banks of the Selati River, it is a wonderful observation point for numerous wild animals that cool off from the South African heat in the water of the river.
By participating in an advanced training course in the wilderness of the Selati Game Reserve, you are choosing one of the most interesting regions on the African continent. 33,000 hectares offer plenty of space for a species-rich fauna and flora which you can immerse yourself into during daily game drives and bush walks.
2. Camp Karongwe
The South African camp Karongwe is situated at the mostly dried out riverbed of the Karongwe River, in the middle of an area of about 9000 hectares, which will impress you by its biodiversity as well as by its picturesque landscapes.
Nearby you can find the breathtaking Kruger National Park, well-known as one of the largest protected areas in South Africa. Immerse yourself into the spectacular natural landscapes during daily game drives and bush walks, experience the biodiversity of the Karongwe Game Reserve up close and expand your knowledge of the region’s unique flora and fauna under the guidance of experienced field guides.
3. Camp Makuleke
Camp Makuleke is located in the Pafuri region in the northern part of South Africa's Kruger National Park. A multitude of fascinating wild animals can be observed in this area and impressive areas can be admired.
If you opt for nature-oriented further education with a stay in Makuleke, you will gain insights into the breathtaking nature of Kruger National Park including its "Big Five": African elephant, black rhino, African buffalo, lion and leopard. Hikes and game drives in open off-road vehicles enable you to experience a superb diversity of flora and fauna – a true enrichment.
4. Camp Pridelands
Camp Pridelands is located in South Africa's Limpopo province and has been part of the world-famous Kruger National Park since September 2017. In Pridelands a wealth of fascinating wildlife observations can be made – from representatives of the Big Five to hyenas to the rare African wild dog.
As part of your educational nature adventure, you and your team will set off into the wilderness every day under the guidance of an experienced guide to acquire valuable knowledge about the flora and fauna of the region and to learn more about nature and species conservation as well as current measures and initiatives to preserve biodiversity.
5. Camp Pongola
Camp Pongola is nestled into the wilderness of Pongola Game Reserve in the north-east of South Africa, near the Swaziland border. Endless green expanses and a diverse animal world are characteristic of the region. Four of the Big Five are at home at Pongola – elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – as well as hippos, crocodiles, hyaenas, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, twelve antelope species and more than 350 bird species.
Every day, you and your team will set out into the beautiful Pongola wilderness to learn more about the unique flora and fauna and to acquire more in-depth knowledge about guiding as well as nature and species conservation.
Background of the Apprentice Field Guide course
Discover the stunning natural environment of Africa, characterised by a vast variety of species in the animal kingdom and an imposing range of vegetation and landscape formations. Our programme provides you with actual nature training, combined with real environmental protection.
The Apprentice Field Guide course (former Field Guide Level 1) will equip you with lasting knowledge! An important aspect of successful training lies in observing the environment. You will gain your first impressions on long walks and expeditions – whilst acquiring in-depth knowledge from your professionally qualified instructor.
Regardless of whether you are looking for a sabbatical, some personal eco training, or taking the first steps towards working as a ranger, you will have an unforgettable time in the African bush. You may even come across lions, leopards, and elephants roaming freely as you walk through the wilderness.
Spend an unparalleled year amidst Africa's wild nature and get trained as a Professional Field Guide