Bushwise 60-day Safari Guide Course

Info

Welcome to your wild career. Spend two months living and training in the African bush, observing wildlife in their natural habitat, learning from experts and gaining valuable skills. This 60-day course is everything you need to enter the competitive ecotourism and conservation industries. Become an ambassador of the natural world – no experience required.

Next start date 10 April 2023

Duration 8 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, Advanced Rifle Handling, additional modules

Overview

Is this the Field Guide course for you?

You’re looking to start a career in conservation or ecotourism. You have two months to spend in the African bush, learning everything you can about nature. Whether you’re from South Africa, Australia, the UK or anywhere else in the world, this is the course for you.

Immerse yourself in the African bushveld and get a glimpse of what a career as a field guide might offer. If you only have two months to spend, you’re in the right place – Bushwise now offers a 60-day Safari Guide course. 

In 60 days of hands-on practical safari guide training and classroom-based learning, you can earn these essential guiding certificates: 

1. CATHSSETA Nature Site Guide (NQF 2)

2. FGASA Apprentice Field Guide 

3. Bushwise 60-day Safari Guide Certificate

4. Cybertracker Track and Sign qualification

5. Wilderness First Aid

6. Reptile Handling

At the end of the two months, you will become a fully qualified safari guide, ready to enter this competitive industry as a Bushwise graduate. 

For our international students, all you need to join this course is a visitor’s visa! This is usually issued for 90 days on arrival in South Africa. Chat to our enrollment team to learn more.

Overview of the safari guide training course

Awake each morning to the chorus of birds. Fall asleep each night hearing the distant roar of a lion. Welcome to the Lowveld. Welcome to your safari career.

This course is a condensed version of our flagship Professional Field Guide Course – offering essential theoretical knowledge and practical experience to students who wish to start a career as a field guide or have a life-changing safari experience.

For 60 days, you’ll live in a fenced camp in a game reserve. Daily game drives and bush walks will take place in Big Five territory, where you’ll observe animals in their natural habitat. You’ll learn to drive a 4×4 safari vehicle and conduct a guided experience.

Classroom-based learning will take place in the camp, led by our experienced trainers, including industry experts and award-winning field guides

In just two months, you can become a FGASA Apprentice Field Guide, with additional qualifications in CyberTracker Track and Sign, Wilderness First Aid and Reptile Handling. You’ll be more than equipped to enter this competitive industry.

This course is hosted on the beautiful and well-appointed Bushwise campuses, which are based on private game reserves within a 60-kilometre radius of Kruger National Park, in South Africa.

This area is known for its close access to 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 the most comprehensive courses available. The aim of the safari guide 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 endorsed by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), the South Africa Qualifications Board, and accredited by 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.

Hear from our students and staff

Why choose us?

Because in just 60 days, you’ll become the best new field guide you can be. You’ll gain invaluable skills, while making incredible memories and learning from the best.

Bushwise is a FGASA endorsed and CATHSSETA accredited training provider. Our 60-day course is an efficient and thorough way for you to gain the certifications you need to be 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.

As an added bonus, students will receive free access to our Bushwise online courses, including expert-led masterclasses. To prepare for this course, all students are given free access to our online FGASA Field Guiding course. This is not a requirement but a benefit if you would like to prepare ahead of time.

Bushwise
Bushwise

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Info

Welcome to your wild career. Spend two months living and training in the African bush, observing wildlife in their natural habitat, learning from experts and gaining valuable skills. This 60-day course is everything you need to enter the competitive ecotourism and conservation industries. Become an ambassador of the natural world – no experience required.

Next start date 10 April 2023

Duration 8 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, Advanced Rifle Handling, additional modules

Details

This course is focused on exposing you to as much real-world guiding experience and knowledge as possible in just two months. You’ll learn the essential FGASA modules and beyond through a combination of classroom-based learning, game drives and bush walks. During this course, you will also complete written and practical exams to earn qualifications.

Because this course is shorter than 90 days, our international students are able to join on just a visitor’s visa. This allows you to avoid the longer process of applying for a study visa – a definite bonus! Chat to our enrollment team to learn more.

You will spend 59 nights and 60 days in the pristine African 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. 

A typical day will start with coffee and rusks, followed by a morning game drive or walk. You’ll then have brunch in our communal dining area, followed by a lecture and then an afternoon activity. Dinner is either in the dining area again, or around an open fire (or braai). You might have a little down time, but as this is an abbreviated course we try not to slow down!

If you would like to bolster your knowledge prior to the course, take advantage of your exclusive free access to our FGASA Field Guide Online Course. This online component lays solid theoretical foundations which will help you maximise your time in the field (not required but highly recommended).

Course itinerary

Because this is a condensed course, you’ll spend all 60 days learning in the classroom and doing practical exercises in the bush. This is to ensure you get the most out of your training. The course focuses on practical sessions guided by your FGASA and Bushwise workbooks, supplemented by classroom discussions and lectures. 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 and 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

Welcome to your wild career. Spend two months living and training in the African bush, observing wildlife in their natural habitat, learning from experts and gaining valuable skills. This 60-day course is everything you need to enter the competitive ecotourism and conservation industries. Become an ambassador of the natural world – no experience required.

Next start date 10 April 2023

Duration 8 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, Advanced Rifle Handling, additional modules

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 maybe 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 our Bushwise 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

 

 

  • Gardening area

  • Braai and social area

  • Game vehicles

  • Library of field guiding texts

  • Classroom

  • Emergency support from staff