Guide Course Southern Africa: Professional Field Guide
The one-year Professional Field Guide training course is definitely our guiding course highlight: You will have an unforgettable experience in a unique natural environment and be given the official FGASA endorsed Professional Field Guide certificate. The majority of your trip will be spent under open skies, and every day will bring a new feeling of being close to nature. Take the time to train to be a professional field guide over 12 months.
This guide training course will provide you with everything you need to be a professional safari guide in future. This includes strategies for surviving in the wild, how to use a rifle and medical care. The course focuses on the varied and always fascinating flora and fauna of South Africa.
It is crucial to emphasize that international individuals cannot work as Field Guides or Trails guides in Southern Africa without a work permit. And unless they are registered with the National Department of Tourism. For South Africa this registration necessitates having a valid South African Professional Drivers Permit (PrDP) and a work permit. Failure to comply with this legal requirement constitutes a violation of the law. Please contact us if you need more information.
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.
- Enjoy an unforgettable one-year training as a Professional Field Guide
- Live and learn surrounded by Africa’s breathtaking wilderness
- Meet people from all over the world
- Acquire detailed ranger knowledge, instructed by experienced course leaders
- Discover the unique flora and fauna on daily excursions into the wild
- Apply your newly acquired skills in a six-month lodge internship
- Receive an official Professional Field Guide 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.
Professional Field Guide in Africa
As a student in this unique one-year course you get trained as a Professional Field Guide in South Africa’s and Botswana’s wilderness and learn everything you need to know about the African flora and fauna, living in the wild, conservation management and how to plan and conduct guest tours in a natural environment.
Arrival and orientation in Southern Africa
You will arrive in Johannesburg one day before the course begins, from where you will be picked up and taken to the first camp. You will return to Johannesburg once the course is over. After that, you are free to continue your travels or return home.
The course is divided into two units – you will spend six months on the theoretical and practical aspects of training to be a ranger, and a further six months applying your new skills on an internship in a lodge.
Activities during the Professional Field Guide course
At the beginning of the course, you will learn how to use your equipment properly, starting with off-road vehicles, radios, and rifles. You will also complete a first aid course. Then you will go through the fundamentals in each area step-by-step. Then you will go through the fundamentals in each area step-by-step: You will be taught geology, astronomy, and meteorology, and will be given an introduction to the historical development process in the region.
Being a ranger requires a good sense of direction and a solid understanding of the various animal and plant species which you will encounter. You will therefore learn different methods for navigating in the wild and will take a close look at tracking and analysing the behaviour of animals. You’ll become more and more adept at recognising animals by their tracks and calls as the course goes on.
You will also learn how to understand their behaviour so that you can accurately assess dangerous situations. You will find it easier to orientate yourself in your environment every day as you sharpen your senses. The schedule for each day is set by the rhythms of nature.
You will set off on two daily tours – one as the sun goes up and the other before sunset. You will go to lectures based on what you have seen that day during the hot midday hours.
Once you have learned everything that a field guide needs to know over the first six months, you will have an opportunity to put your knowledge to the test. You will work as a guide in a lodge alongside experienced mentors and experience your first taste of the job.
The following blog provides you with more details on the Professional Field Guide course.
Accommodation during the one-year guide training
Your accommodation for the duration of the Professional Field Guide course in Southern Africa will be, depending on the camp, in either stilt houses or two-man tents. When staying in Makuleke you will have access to your own bathroom attached to the stilt house. Shared bathrooms are available in the other camps. All camps have a large common room for training, eating together, and spending evenings with the group. The camps are not fenced in, and tourists have no access to the site.
You will be provided with breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner each day. 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. The camps use solar lamps and satellite telephones for emergencies, as mobile reception is generally limited.
Leisure time during your EcoTraining in Africa
The year spent training to be a ranger will include time to relax and spend how you please. You could use these free days to relax, see the surrounding area with friends or visit the city nearby.
The course is made up of a number of modules, each of which finishes with theory tests and practical tests. You will have a certain number of free days after each module.
You will also have some days off when you change to new accommodation. You could spend this time with friends. Please feel free to ask what kind of free time you will have on the next course. You will frequently have between one and two weeks free. Sometimes it will be a few days while you change location.
Arrival in Southern Africa
Typical day during the Professional Field Guide course
Days at the shooting range
Examinations during the Professional Field Guide Course
Changing camps during the Professional Field Guide training
Internship in the safari industry
Last day of your guide course and departure
FAQ – Learn more about this trip
“I can still hardly believe how fast this year has gone by, how much I have experienced and how much I have changed. I am so grateful for all the experiences.”
“I experienced so much and became more and more confident. Now I really enjoy talking to other people and telling them about the African bush.”
“The camp is really beautiful, situated right by a river. The smell of wild sage is constantly in the air.”
“...but with a little bit of effort you get to explore wonderful things and return back home with a handful of experiences.”
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 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.
3. 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.
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 Professional Field Guide training
Discover Southern Africa and learn everything you need to be a ranger in this outdoor adventure in South Africa and Botswana. The professional field guide course gives you an opportunity to get a close look at the African wilderness for an entire year and to view the environment surrounding the course locations as a habitat. The course takes place in different camps in South Africa and Botswana so that you are constantly exposed to new terrain and different landscapes.
This course is suitable for anyone who wants to observe animals and understand their habitat. Perhaps you're looking for some time off away from the usual 9-to-5. Maybe you want to be a safari guide one day. Or perhaps you are looking for some personal development: The professional field guide course in South Africa is an enriching learning and life experience in the untouched natural landscape of Africa. Live at nature’s pace, enjoy the peace and tranquility of the African wilderness and recover from your hectic everyday life.
Acquire the basics of Southern Africa's nature, in theory and in practice, and become a Safari Guide