Dreaming of a career as a Field Guide in Africa? And wondering where to start? Do read further! To become a Field Guide as it is known in South Africa, you need to have in depth knowledge about the bush and wildlife, especially those who may pose a danger to yourself and the guests you will lead, either in an open vehicle or on foot.
In Southern Africa there is one body which regulates and sets the standards for the training of future guides, this is FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa). The whole Field Guide Training consists of various levels, each one offers more in depth knowledge and training than the previous one. You start with Level 1, and after getting your certificate you can already start working as a guide. To work as a guide in a 'big 5 area' (an area where dangerous animals, such as lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino occur), especially when you plan to do bush walks with your guests, you need to do the Trails Guide Training as well. Here you gain practical experience in approaching dangerous game (animals).
Learning about grasses? The exciting aspect of this training is that you will learn all about the ecosystem. The type of grasses you find in a certain habitat, determines the type of antelope species you can expect there, and this in turn determines what kind of predators may be lurking around. And you may not see the herd of buffalo in that dense bush, but the call of the Oxpecker (bird) will alert you to be cautious. The Oxpecker has a symbiotic relationship with animals (mainly herbivores) they eat the ticks and other parasites off these animals. Both bird and mammal benefit of this behaviour.
Being a guide is more than just driving around in the bush, hoping to find some animals. Sure, you need a dose of luck - being at the right place at the right time. But by knowing the bush, looking for tracks, droppings - and how fresh they are, by smells and sounds and by recognizing behaviour (a herd of impala all looking in the same direction may indicate the presence of predators), you can greatly increase the chance of seeing wildlife and their interaction.
SYLLABUS FOR THE FIELD GUIDE TRAINING LEVEL 1 (NQ3):
As there are various accredited training providers offering various training durations, the contents of the training may vary slightly, or more time may be set aside by a training provider to cover a certain topic (bird calls) or skill (rifle handling, 4x4 driving course). Some training providers offer extra training such as wine tasting or a communication workshop. We gladly assist you with finding the right training for you, so do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have!
Duration: 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year (includes practical experience/ internship of 6 months).
Please contact us for available dates.
Costs: Depending on the duration of the training and the training provider, costs may vary, so please contact us for more information in this regard.