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 equips you with the essential skills needed for a future career as a professional field guide. The curriculum covers survival strategies in the wilderness, firearm proficiency, and medical care. Emphasis is placed on exploring the diverse and endlessly captivating 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 guiding 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 four-month 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
Upon your arrival in Johannesburg, you will have a day to settle before the commencement of the course. Our designated transportation will pick you up and transfer you to the initial camp. Post-course completion, you will return to Johannesburg, at which point you have the flexibility to extend your travels or head back home.
The course structure unfolds in two distinct units. The initial phase spans four to five months, dedicated to theoretical and practical training in becoming a ranger. Subsequently, the following four months involve the application of your acquired skills during an internship.
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 guiding 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 Field Guide requires a good sense of direction and a solid understanding of the various animal and plant species that 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 continues.
The schedule for each day is set by the rhythms of nature. You will also learn how to understand their behaviour so that you can accurately assess more complex situations. You will find it easier to orientate yourself in your environment every day as you sharpen your senses.
You will set off on two daily activities – one as the sun goes up and the other before sunset. You will have lectures according to the course manual during the hot midday hours.
Once you have learned everything that a field guide needs to know over the first four months, you will have an organize yourself the opportunity to put your knowledge to the test. That means, for example, shadowing experienced field guides in a lodge, or supporting a research centre with your newfound knowledge.
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 dorm 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, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks during the activities 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 Field Guide will include time to relax and explore own your own. After the first two months, you have one to two weeks off. Even halfway through your fourth month of training as a field guide, you still have some free time before you start your internship. You could use these free days to take a break, see the surrounding area with friends, or visit the city nearby. If you change camps it can occur that your free week will be quite short due to travel reasons.
The course is made up of several modules, each of which finishes with theory tests and practical tests. You will have a certain number of free days after each module. Please feel free to ask what kind of free time you will have on the next course.
Arrival in Southern Africa
Typical day during the Professional Field Guide course
Days at the shooting range
Audits 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 and if you are lucky you can maybe spot the "Big Five": African elephant, 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 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 animals like elephants and lions to hyenas and if you are lucky even the 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 perfect for anyone who has a passion for observing animals and gaining insights into their habitats. Whether you're seeking a break from the routine 9-to-5 grind, aspiring to become a safari guide, or simply pursuing personal development, the Professional Field Guide Course in South Africa offers a fulfilling learning journey set against the backdrop of Africa's untouched natural landscapes. Immerse yourself in nature's rhythm, relish the peace and tranquility of the African wilderness, and rejuvenate from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life.
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