FGASA Professional Field Guide Course


If you are looking to become a proper certified Field Guide and to fast forward your conservation career then come spend 23 or 50 weeks with us in the iconic South African lowveld; one of the best wildlife locations in the country. The skills and qualification you will gain are application to many conservation careers and we will even give you an option placement to gain important experience to secure a successful start.

The Professional Field Guide Course is the ideal platform for a successful career in the challenging game lodge industry. As an attendee you will be trained by highly qualified trainers through the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA). In order to gain your FGASA you will learn both theoretical and practical guide work.

An optional six-month work experience placement program is available with the 50 week course; where you will gain invaluable experience at a variety of game lodges and large mammal research programs across South Africa. This placement can also be logged towards gaining higher FGASA qualifications. The course is taught at a FGASA level 2 knowledge base and curriculum includes an in-depth training in flora and flora identification, guiding principles and bush qualifications such as First Aid level 2, Firearm competency & tracking.



icon_type-of-project Type of project: Field Guide Association of South Africa
icon_minimum Minimum duration of the project: Option 1: 23 weeks
Option 2: 50 weeks
icon_location Location: Limpopo Province, South Africa
icon_airport Airport: Hoedspruit Airport (code: HDS)
icon_minimum_age Minimum Age: 18
icon_maximum_age Maximum Age: None, however you must be physically fit.
icon_included Included: – Meals
– Accommodation
– 2 Airport Transfers
– Laundry
– WIFI (when available)
– FGASA National Certificate – Level 1 – practical and theory
– FGASA Level 2 knowledge
– SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms & shooting)
– CATHSSETA (The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
– National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate and wilderness modules
– Additional activities including sleep outs, trips to kruger etc.
icon_excluded Excluded: – Flights
– Visa (if required)
– Travel & Medical Insurance
icon_accommodation Accommodation: Volunteers will stay in wooden cabins or tents out in the bush depending on the training being done.
icon_work_schedule Work Schedule: Monday – Saturday:
– 5:30 – 6AM: Wake Up
– 6AM – 11AM: Training Activity in the classroom or on the reserve (focus will vary each day)
– 11AM – 2PM: Break & Lunch
– 2PM – 6PM: Training Activity in the classroom or on the reserve (focus will vary each day)
– 6PM Onwards: Field guides will spend time around a campfire discussing the days events
Sunday: OFF
icon_required Required Travel Insurance and Medical Insurance
Students will have daily exposure to working and guiding through dangerous game including elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and hippo. These skills are invaluable for a future in the wildlife industry and will allow students an opportunity to have placements at ‘Big Five’ reserves.

We work closely with various reserves and lodges to ensure students are trained to meet and exceed expectations by employers in Southern Africa. The guides that come through our program develop relevent and proficient  skills in both theoretical and most importantly practical skills.

Students on the 50 week course will be given an opportunity to partake in a 6 month placement at a lodge or reserve in South Africa. This placement will allows students to gain valuable experience for their CV and will put their foot in the door!

The curriculum is designed to encompass the highest level of skills, experience and qualifications possible that you  will need to become  a high quality, professional employable guide, researcher or conservationist in the given time. Below is what will be included in your course:
– Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
– Creating a guided nature experience
– Geology
– Astronomy
– Weather & Climate
– Ecology
– Taxonomy
– Biomes of Southern Africa
– Botany – Trees & Grasses
– Arthropods
– Amphibians
– Reptiles
– Fish
– Birds
– Mammals
– Animal Behaviour
– Conservation management & historical habitation
– Vehicle skills and basic mechanics
– 2 day 4×4 training
– Specialist guest speakers
– Hospitality & hosting basics in a lodge environment
– Surival & navigation
– Rifles & Rifle Handling
– Bush first aid skills
– Introduction to Wildlife surveying techniques
– 2 day – introduction to tracks & signs
– Reptile orientation course
– Level 1 first aid certification
– Wildlife photography skills
– Animal behaviour and ethics
– Guest speakers and excursions to local wildlife operations
– Leadership skills
– Remote comp logisitcs and management training & experience
– Basic mechanics / trouble shooting
– Shooting Experience
Monday – Saturday:
– 5:30 – 6AM: Wake Up
– 6AM – 11AM: Training Activity in the classroom or on the reserve (focus will vary each day)
– 11AM – 2PM: Break & Lunch
– 2PM – 6PM: Training Activity in the classroom or on the reserve (focus will vary each day)
– 6PM Onwards: Field guides will spend time around a campfire discussing the days events
Sunday: OFF
Meals will be provided to field guides daily.
Laundry Facilities are available for guides to use
When possible, the client will be moved to another suitable date. Cancellations made 61 or more days prior to the state of the bookeing will be subjected to an administrative feed to cover the bank charges involved with refunding the client, as well as program reservation.

Cancellations made 60 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subjected to a 50% fee of the booking rate, which exception of an administrative fee, will be transferred back into the bank account it came out of. Cancellations made 30 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subjected to a 100% fee of the total booking rate (the package rate). In other words, you will not be refunded.

23 Weeks  US$12,500
50 Weeks US$18,500

*Note that the 50 week course includes a 6 month work placement

Q When does the project start?
A July 8th 2015 – 23 or 50 Weeks
January 8th 2017 – 23 or 50 Weeks
July 8th 2017 – 23 or 50 Weeks
As dates become available they website will be updated.
Q What is the age limitation?
A We have a minimum age of 18 and there is no maximum age.
Q How do the arrivals work? What airport do I arrive into?
A If arriving by air, we will be waiting for you at the Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) arrivals hall.
Q Are flights included?
A No, flights are not included.
Q Do you monitor the flights?
A Yes, we monitor flights before your arrival to get the approximate time of your landing and will be at the airport waiting for you.
Q What if there is a flight delay?

Please contact us as soon as you receive notice of a flight delay.

Q Do I need a Visa?
A Please enquire through the South African embassy in your country or go to the South African Home Affairs link for more information regarding Visa  requirements. Volunteers are able to obtain a 90 day Visa upon arrival. Please note, we are not responsible for your travelling documentation.
Q  Are airport transfers included?
A Yes, 2 airport transfers are included (to and from the airport).
Q Can anyone apply?
A Yes, anyone can apply to join our program, subject to being 18 and above.
Q Do you cater to vegetarians or other dietary requirements?
A Yes, we can accommodate most dietary requirements, please ensure you let us know of your dietary requirements prior to arrival.
Q How do I pay for the project?
A We require a $300 (USD) deposit to secure your place at the project, and ask for the remaining balance to be paid 60 days before your arrival. We have two payment options. You can either pay via international bank – transfer/wire (please note that the administration costs are at your expense) or you can pay via a safe and secure online credit card facility.
Q Do you offer payment options?.
A Yes, you are welcome to discuss other payment options with us.
Q Is there a best time of the year to go?
A Summer runs from September – May with temperatures anywhere from 18 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
Winter runs from June – August with temperatures ranging between 8 degrees Celsius and 26 degrees Celsius..
Q Which insurance company is often used for the type of trip?
A We offer our volunteers comprehensive coverage – please enquire with us. It is important to travel with insurance to ensure your security and safety.
Q Would I need to any vaccinations / anti-malaria medication?
A You would require malaria prophylactics medication.
Q Are there any medical facilities on site to deal with serious issues quickly?
A We have a hospital within 30 minutes of the project
Q Do I need bug spray?
A We highly suggest bug spray for ticks and mosquitos.
Q What do you recommend for communication between South Africa and home?
A Your package includes a SIM card to be used for your smart phone and/or computer.