3 Top Field Guide Courses in Africa

Field Guide Course in Africa
Crossing the river at Selati Camp

Do you love wildlife?

Do you have a passion for nature?

Are you thinking of a career as a Field Guide?

Do you want a more in-depth experience and understanding of nature for your personal growth?

Field Guide Courses

Are you tempted by a real bush experience in Africa, plus learning more about tracking big game on foot, identifying wildlife, flora and fauna, shooting a rifle, learning to drive a 4×4 game drive vehicle, and sleeping out under the stars in the middle of the great wilderness surrounded by wild animals – all under the guidance of industry-respected and experienced nature-guide instructors?

Then maybe a Field Guide Course in Africa is just what you need?

Field Guide Course at Karongwe Camp South Africa
Out in the bush at Karongwe Camp

In this blog, I will be concentrating on the most popular courses offered by our partners in Africa, EcoTraining:-

1 – 28 Day Safari Guide Course – all the training and adventure, but without any exams, in either South Africa, Kenya or Botswana.

2 – 55 Day FGASA  Level 1 Field Guide Course – packed full of practical experience in the field plus classroom learning, with self-study time in the evenings too, spending time in 2 different camps in South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls. The chance to get your FGASA Level 1 qualification exam at the end.

3 – One Year Kruger Field Guide Course –  For those who are looking for a career in Field Guiding, with 6 months learning in 4 different camps in South Africa and Botswana, plus a 5 months lodge placement, which may lead to job opportunities on the ground. Designed to produce high caliber professional Field Guides, gaining FGASA Level 1, FGASA Trails Guide and FGASA 2 Theory.

For any of these educational, life-changing wilderness experiences, no experience is necessary, and training is extremely hands-on.

Rifle training at Selati Camp EcoTraining
Rifle training at Selati Camp

EcoTraining

In the private safari lodges in Africa, nature-guides play a massive role in enhancing the experiences of tourists. 21 years ago, it was recognized that there was no formal training programme for aspiring nature-guides to follow, thus EcoTraining was born.

The specialist instructors for these Field Guide courses, are selected on the number of years of experience that they have had in the guiding industry, and are well-known throughout the industry.

Telemetry tracking in the bush
Telemetry tracking in the bush

The number of students are limited to a total maximum of 20 on each course, with a maximum of 10 students for each instructor. This ensures that the students get personal attention at all times.

The camps where you will be based and trained in South Africa or Botswana will give you a comfortable place to be based, with a raised bed and hot water, whilst still being a real bush experience.  The simple bush camps are unfenced, the game drive vehicles are open and a large part of the course is conducted on foot! It also provides a perfect opportunity to practice tracking skills through and around the camp each morning, as students have woken up in the morning to find the tracks of elephant, leopard or lion!

Wildlife roaming the open Camps
Wildlife roaming the open Camps

What will I be doing on the different Courses?

1 – 28 Day Safari Guide

The 28 day Safari Guide training course is aimed at those wishing to experience a bush holiday in either South Africa, Kenya or Botswana, whilst also learning about the environment they are in. It is for those that are passionate about nature, who would like a more in-depth experience and understanding of it, for their own personal growth. There are no formal exams at the end, and therefore no pressure, just learning and amazement!

28 days of living and learning in nature at our wilderness camps provides you with the practical and theoretical knowledge of the natural environment. Upon completion of the course, you will be capable of conducting game drives and interpreting the natural environment around you.

Animal behaviour and conservation education
Animal behaviour and conservation education

Students who have attended this course have returned to the “real world” with a different outlook on life.  Some have taken this new outlook into their day-to-day lives and others, inspired by their time, have completely changed their lives and careers.

2 – 55 Day FGASA Level 1 Field Guide

This fantastic 55 day FGASA Level 1 Field Guide course is very respected within the industry, and the structure of it aims to maximize the practical experience of students in the bush.  Each day there will be hours spent in the field, looking at and interpreting the ecology whilst enjoying the wildlife experience.

Activities alternate between bush walks and game drives.  Lecture time follows after brunch, which involves topical instruction (lectures) and discussions on the subject of the day.  This is followed by self-study time for the students, who will also be expected to take their part in caring for the camp, equipment and vehicles.

Classroom learning in the Camp
Classroom learning in the Camp

The course is split between 4 different bush camps in South Africa (Karongwe & Selati), Botswana (Mashatu) and Victoria Falls (Vic Falls Stanley & Livingstone Private Reserve), each of which is in some of Africa’s best game reserves, and wildlife is free to roam through the camp – which is incredible to witness. You will be based at 2 different camps during your 55 days, for a variety of environments and experiences

If you choose to take the FGASA examination at the end, there will be 3 written tests, 2 oral presentations and 2 practical evaluations.

I am eternally grateful to all the instructors for the amount and quality of knowledge they shared with me. They truly inspired me with their genuine passion and love for the environment.  Brilliant!!  I still cannot believe how much I have learnt in such a short period of time.  The interactive manner in which we were taught was incredibly beneficial” – Tamlyn, UK (FGASA Level 1 Course)

Field Guide Training Course in Africa FGASA
Stories around the campfire at the end of a busy day in the bush

3 – One Year Field Guide Course

The one year Kruger Field Guide course offers the ultimate training experience in Field Guiding available, giving you the best opportunity to find a job in this area

You will have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of South Africa’s most experienced guides across a variety of sites, that will give you experience of everything Africa has to offer. Course attendees can obtain FGASA Level 1, FGASA Trails Guide and FGASA 2 Theory.

First 6 months Training

Your training will be divided into two distinct parts. For the first half you will rotate around 4 different camps in South Africa ( Makuleke, Karongwe & Selati) and Botswana (Mashatu), offering you constant stimulation to your learning. Between the 4 camps there is a huge variety of ecology, geology, wildlife and climate giving you all the experience you need to equip you for a successful guiding career.

Next 5 months working in a Safari Lodge

The course provider will assist in placing participants in Safari Lodges in South Africa as a trainee guide, allowing you to gain all the experience necessary for your FGASA certifications. Chances of achieving a lodge placement are greatly improved be passing FGASA 1 as a minimum. By this time you will be qualified and experienced, and a prime candidate to be in a position to be taken on by a lodge for a guiding job.

This however is only a small part of what the course has to offer, it is only by becoming truly immersed in the bush that a person can develop that feeling of being at home in the wild bush that is the trademark of all great guides.

Karongwe Camp Field Guide Training Course
Beautiful setting at Karongwe Camp

Which Course for me?

So, whichever course you are tempted by, just remember – students should expect the unexpected while taking part in game drives and bush walks, where they will see Africa at its very best.

Do something amazing, and become a student in the African bush !

Gemma

Gemma

A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over eight years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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