35-Day Practical FGASA Course

Info

Gain invaluable hands-on experience with our new 35-day intensive course in the South African bushveld. Enhance your existing FGASA qualifications by adding to your practical skill set in just five weeks.

Next start date 07 January 2023

Duration 5 weeks

Format On-campus, in-country

Accreditation FGASA & CATHSSETA

Age 18+ (students must be able to walk 5km with ease)

Optional Extras FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide, CyberTracker Track & Sign, Bushwise FGASA Field Guiding Online

Overview

Is this the Field Guide course for you?

You’ve passed your FGASA NQF2 theory exam and you want to gain practical experience. You’re looking to immerse yourself in the African bushveld and get a glimpse of what a career as a field guide might offer. You’re in the right place – Bushwise now offers a 35-day practical FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course.

After five weeks of hands-on practical training, you’ll be able to earn these essential guiding certificates:
1. CATHSSETA Nature Site Guide Qualification (NQF 2)
2. FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Certificate
3. Bushwise Participation Certificate

In combination with passing your FGASA NQF2 theory exam, you will become a fully qualified apprentice field guide.

Overview of the course

At Bushwise, we understand that not everyone has time for a 23- or 50-week course. That’s why we developed a condensed version of our flagship Professional Field Guide Course – offering essential practical experience to students who have already completed their FGASA NQF2 exam. 

The course is a deep-dive into the practical aspects of guiding – driven by the FGASA curriculum and enhanced by our in-house Bushwise expertise. It will greatly benefit students who are looking to gain the skills and knowledge required to pass their practical assessment with flying colours – and bolster their hireability. 

This is also an excellent in-person course for those who have taken an online theory course, such as the Bushwise FGASA Field Guide Online Course, and are looking to enhance their field experience. This course will prepare you for the job market as you gain essential skills and knowledge, making you a world-class field guide. 

The course is hosted on the Bushwise campuses, which are based on private game reserves within a 60-kilometre radius of Hoedspruit, in South Africa’s Limpopo province. 

This area is known for its close access to the Kruger National Park and Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) in the Greater Kruger complex. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many endangered and threatened species. By training in this region, you will gain first-person experience in this ecosystem and get to know its living and nonliving components very well. 

Bushwise has built a reputation as a leading training provider in the safari industry and offers one of the most comprehensive practical courses available. The aim of the course is to provide a well-rounded and specialised education, and is specifically developed to provide vocational skills and qualifications required by employers in the Southern African region.

Bushwise is accredited by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), the South Africa Qualifications Board, and the Culture Art Tourism Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA). All students are taught by professional guides and instructors, with some having trained through Bushwise. All additional qualifications are attained through accredited training providers.

If you haven’t completed your written FGASA NQF2 exam, please visit the web page for our Professional Field Guide Course, which may be a better fit for you at this time. Or consider getting started with the Bushwise FGASA Field Guide Online Course

Hear from our students and staff

Why choose us?

Because in just 35 days, you’ll become the best new field guide you can be. You’ll gain invaluable skills in a short period of time, while making incredible memories, and learning from the best.

Bushwise is a FGASA and CATHSSETA accredited training provider. The 35-day course is a fast and thorough way for you to gain the practical certifications you need to become a qualified field guide. 

At Bushwise, we prioritise the highest calibre of training, professionalism, and ethical guiding standards. We also provide a personalised, student-focused curriculum that goes above and beyond expectations – producing some of the most sought-after graduates in the industry. 

Bushwise is a highly regarded training provider, with many lodges contacting us to fill their field guiding vacancies. Students also have access to our private Bushwise Alumni Facebook page, where we regularly post job opportunities. 

Bushwise students have been employed by the finest lodges and research bases – not only in Southern Africa but all over the world, including Patagonia, the United States, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.

Students also have access to exclusive Bushwise online courses, including expert-led masterclasses. We highly recommend that participants in our 35-day course partake in an online course prior to joining us in person.

Bushwise
Bushwise

As featured in

Info

Gain invaluable hands-on experience with our new 35-day intensive course in the South African bushveld. Enhance your existing FGASA qualifications by adding to your practical skill set in just five weeks.

Next start date 07 January 2023

Duration 5 weeks

Format On-campus, in-country

Accreditation FGASA & CATHSSETA

Age 18+ (students must be able to walk 5km with ease)

Optional Extras FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide, CyberTracker Track & Sign, Bushwise FGASA Field Guiding Online

Details

During this intensive 35-day course, you’ll experience the practical side of field guiding and gain essential skills and knowledge from your trainers. This experience will help to ground the knowledge you gained from your theoretical studies.

You will spend 34 nights and 35 days in the pristine Limpopo bushveld. You’ll gain invaluable in-person experience as you walk or drive through the bush – observing animal behaviour, identifying plant, animal, and bird species, and learning from the best. 

You will have two training sessions a day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon, with downtime during the day to study, relax, or reflect on your experience. All practical training is conducted by our professional training staff, some of whom also trained through Bushwise.

If you would like to bolster your knowledge prior to the course, consider attending one of the Bushwise online courses, such as the FGASA Field Guide Online Course. This online component lays solid theoretical foundations which will help you maximise your time in the field.

Course itinerary

Because this is a condensed course, you’ll spend all 35 days doing practical exercises in the bush. This is to ensure you get the most out of your five weeks of in-person training. The course focuses on practical sessions guided by your FGASA and Bushwise workbooks, and is supplemented by classroom discussions. An average day could look like this:

05:30–07:00

Meet in the kitchen for tea/coffee rusks, cereal and fruit, before departing for the morning activity, either a walk or a drive.

11:00

Brunch

12:00

Classroom-based lectures or activities

15:00

Afternoon activity, either a walk or a drive

Bushwise Field Guides carries out its practical training and skills development in two locations. The first is the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve, a vast 25,000-hectare nature reserve in the Lowveld that’s dedicated to wildlife conservation. The second is the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) Kempiana campus in the Greater Kruger National Park, where field guide students are trained in collaboration with SAWC. Both campuses are in reserves with significant plant and animal diversity, including the Big Five animals.

Life on the course

Bushwise has a daily structure in place so everyone gets into the routine of a working field guide (waking up early is definitely part of the job!).

Typically, your day will start between 5:30am and 6:00am. The focus of the day might be a specific FGASA module (such as birds, mammals, culture or history), or other practical skills or experience. Bushwise follows the FGASA curriculum, and all training is conducted by professional guides, registered trainers, and instructors.

On bush walks and game drives, you will concentrate on specific modules and put the theory you know into practice. At midday, after a hearty brunch on campus, we’ll dive back into the in-classroom theory discussions, so you’re well-prepared during our practical exercises. 

We focus on personalised training and attention to detail for each student. This ensures that your knowledge is up to speed for your future career as a field guide.

Topics include

  • Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
  • Creating a guided nature experience
  • Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Weather & climate
  • Ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • Biomes of Southern Africa
  • Botany – trees and grasses
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Understanding animal behaviour
  • Conservation management and historical habitation
  • Vehicle skills and basic mechanics
  • 4 x 4 training

Info

Gain invaluable hands-on experience with our new 35-day intensive course in the South African bushveld. Enhance your existing FGASA qualifications by adding to your practical skill set in just five weeks.

Next start date 07 January 2023

Duration 5 weeks

Format On-campus, in-country

Accreditation FGASA & CATHSSETA

Age 18+ (students must be able to walk 5km with ease)

Optional Extras FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide, CyberTracker Track & Sign, Bushwise FGASA Field Guiding Online

Bushwise campus

Welcome to your new home for five weeks. Add value to your training experience by sleeping in a comfortable room in the bushveld, with the sounds of hyenas, owls, jackals (and even lions) in the distance

The Bushwise campuses are based about 60 kilometres from Hoedspruit, in Limpopo. Our Mahlahla campus is located opposite the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve.

Our second campus is operated in collaboration with the Southern African Wildlife College at their Kempiana campus in the Greater Kruger National Park.

The South African bushveld is known for its rich biodiversity and will offer you every challenge and opportunity to excel as an apprentice field guide. There is no better place in the world to complete your field guiding training.

Campus tour

Join us on a tour of the SAWC campus. Wouldn’t you love to call this home?

Facilities

Accommodation during your course is lodge-style housing and facilities, located in one of our safe fenced campuses.

Our campuses are safe from predators, so you are free to go for a walk or a run anywhere on campus. We have a large variety of bird species that are regular visitors to our campus water features, as well as secretive species such as bush babies, honey badgers and civets that are often seen.

In these surroundings, you can sharpen your practical skills by going on bush walks, spending time birding, and encountering the animals that roam the campus.

What an incredible way to spend your free time on campus!

Students will share a chalet or a room that accommodates two students. Bathrooms are either shared or communal. Laundry service is provided for clothes and linen (to a reasonable extent). 

It’s just a short walk along forest paths through campus to get to your classroom, so you’ll remain immersed in the bush during training. The campus dining facilities and other buildings are all close by, so you never have to drive or travel far for anything during your stay. And for the hot summer afternoons between activities, there’s even a swimming pool.

Available on campus

 

 

  • Shared room (with fan)

  • Shared bathroom

  • Wifi

  • Juice, tea and coffee (available 24/7)

  • Swimming pool

  • Basic gym area (with weights to help you keep in shape)

 

 

  • Gardening area

  • Braai and social area

  • Game vehicles

  • Library of field guiding texts

  • Classroom

  • Emergency support from staff

Live from campus

bushwise.sa