Field Guides

Association of Southern Africa

Field Guides

Association of Southern Africa

FGASA accreditation

Bushwise Field Guides is an accredited member of The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), a prominent association that sets the standards for professional guiding in southern Africa. 

FGASA is a registered provider with South Africa’s Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA).

By aligning our curriculum and certifications with Field Guides Association of Southern Africa’s (FGASA) standards, we ensure that Bushwise students gain the most relevant and useful knowledge and skills for their careers. Complete your safari guide training with Bushwise to qualify as a FGASA-certified field guide.

In addition to being accredited by FGASA, we have an excellent reputation in South Africa and beyond. Our staff, students and alumni are respected in the safari industry due to the high standard of our training and the all-encompassing courses we offer.

Our relationship with FGASA goes beyond accreditation. FGASA frequently recommends Bushwise graduates to lodges and private nature reserves that are in search of quality field guides. Bushwise is also the host of the 2022 Safari Guide of the Year (SGOTY), FGASA’s premier guiding competition.

Field guides walking in the bush

FGASA’s function is to:

  • Ensure the quality of nature guiding qualifications.
  • Endorse and provide quality assurance of training providers and maintain the standards of nature guiding units.
  • Provide quality assurance and develop qualified nature guide assessors and moderators.
  • Enhance the credibility of field guiding and tracking in southern Africa.
  • Encourage guides to achieve higher levels of professionalism, and thereby improve the quality of service to, and safety of, both local and international visitors.
  • Keep FGASA members updated on developments in the industry.
Field guide student making notes

FGASA promotes
a standard of excellence by:

  • Promoting the development of guiding skills and progressive levels of professional qualifications.
  • Promoting the tourist guide qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • Encouraging a professional ethical code of conduct.
  • Providing a set of professional guiding principles.
  • Providing quality assurance of nature guides, trainers and assessors.
  • Endorsing tracker and nature guide training providers.
  • Maintaining a training syllabus and evaluation system that promotes the development of nature guides in the NQF.
  • Requiring a valid, recognised first aid certificate for all trainees.
Wildlife conservation students studying wildlife tracks

The FGASA promise

FGASA promotes the training of nature guides by endorsing training providers that conform to both FGASA and national training standards. FGASA supports guides and trackers on the ground through skills development, the recognition of existing skills and by creating job opportunities within the tourism industry. FGASA is committed to developing and implementing national qualifications, and promoting the professional development of all guides – including individuals without the resources to qualify as guides, trainers and assessors, as part of South Africa’s process of transformation.

FGASA student researching birds on game drive

What is a FGASA qualification?

Students who register with Bushwise are often interested in the certification and qualification process with FGASA. Bushwise courses, such as the Bushwise Professional Field Guide (PFG) course, are aligned with FGASA certifications. For example, when you graduate from the PFG course, you will have passed both your theory and practical FGASA NQF2 exams. This will earn you the appropriate FGASA qualification, which translates to the equivalent CATHSSETA qualification. 

Once you complete your FGASA qualification, FGASA assists with the process of getting your credentials uploaded to the CATHSSETA database. Additional information on this process can be found on the FGASA website here.

Field guide teaching students about our natural environment

How long is a FGASA course?

The Bushwise Professional Field Guide course, our flagship course that allows you to earn your FGASA NQF2 qualification, is offered at either 23 or 50 weeks. Our 60-day field guide course is a condensed version of our longer program, where you can also earn your FGASA NQF2 qualification.

We also offer our Nature Enthusiast online course where you can get your FGASA Nature Enthusiast certificate. The list doesn’t stop there – we have numerous FGASA courses to choose from to fit your schedule and goals.

All of our courses come with additional certifications through Bushwise Field Guides, to add extra accomplishments to your CV alongside your FGASA certifications.

Field guide showing students wildlife tracks observation

How many FGASA levels are there?

Often when people ask about FGASA levels, they are asking about CATHSSETA equivalents. With FGASA, there are many different qualifications. These start at Nature Guide and go all the way through to Professional Special Knowledge and Skills (Dangerous Game) Trails Guide, with many more in-between.

The main FGASA levels that Bushwise students are initially interested in are FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2) and Field Guide (NQF4). Trails guide certifications also carry equivalent CATHSSETA qualifications, such as Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2) and Trails Guide (NQF4).

Through the Bushwise Professional Field Guide course, you can earn your Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2) qualification.

Field guide teaching students wildlife environment

What does FGASA stand for?

FGASA is the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa. It was established in 1992 to promote standards of excellence in the guiding industry. FGASA encourages ethical conduct, promotes qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), promotes guide skills development, sets guiding principles, promotes quality assurance, requires first aid certification of all its guides, validates training providers, develops training materials and evaluation systems, and promotes the training of guides through endorsed training providers. 

Through its efforts, FGASA has also created a community of guides, trainers, leaders, and teachers, who are able to collaborate and work together on improving and enhancing the industry. FGASA guides are world-class and rigorously evaluated to ensure the best experience for guests, lodges, reserves and guides. 

Bushwise is listed on the FGASA website as an endorsed training provider.