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Bushwise Professional Field Guide Course


Spend 23 or 50 weeks on the most comprehensive professional field guide training courses available.

Next start date 07 January 2023

Duration 23 or 50 weeks

Format On-campus, in-country

Accreditation FGASA & CATHSSETA

Age 18+ (We welcome individuals of all ages that can easily walk 3km)

Optional Extras FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide


Is this the Field Guide course for you?

Is your goal to become a safari guide or to work in the eco-tourism field? Do you want the most comprehensive and professional field guide course available with a 6-month work placement? Bushwise Field Guides offers all of the above and guarantees a job offer for South Africans (T & Cs apply). Earn your FGASA NQF2 qualification and become a certified Apprentice Field Guide.

Overview of the course

The course develops highly skilled professionals in the field guiding industry through the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide qualification (NQF2) and FGASA Field Guide (NQF4) curriculum. This course provides a well-rounded and specialised field guide education, backed by FGASA and CATHSSETA accreditation. It is specifically developed to provide vocational skills and qualifications required by employers in Southern Africa.

This course takes place on the Bushwise campuses, which are based on private game reserves within a 60 km radius of Kruger National Park. Learn from our award-winning trainers, including Nico Brits who was awarded Best on Camera and Best in Hospitality at the Safari Guide of the Year 2022 competition.

The South African bushveld is known for its rich biodiversity and will offer you every challenge and opportunity to excel as a safari guide.

Bushwise has built a reputation as a leading training provider in the safari industry and offers the most comprehensive courses available. We strive to not only have a 100% pass rate, but also guarantee a permanent position for our South African graduates on the Bushwise Professional Field Guide Course.

After completing and passing the 6-month course, students have the opportunity to do a 6-month work placement with a selection of lodges and game reserves in South Africa, like Thornybush, Timbavati, Makalali Private Game Reserve and Kapama to name a few. Our graduates have worked around the world, in places like Patagonia, USA, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda. By getting experience in a luxury game lodge, animal rehab centre or at a wildlife research & monitoring centre, you can secure a permanent position as a safari guide, reserve management, or conservationist around the globe.

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, qualified guides and instructors, some who even trained through Bushwise. All additional qualifications are also attained through accredited training providers.

This course is open to those 18 years and older. There are certain placement restrictions for under 21s, due to regulations in South Africa around professional driving permits (PrDp). See placements for more information.

Hear from our students and staff

Why choose us?

Because in 23 or 50 weeks, you’ll become a certified FGASA Apprentice Field Guide, ready to enter the safari guiding industry and begin your exciting new career.

Since 2012, 100% of all our South African students who graduated from the 50-week course were offered permanent positions.

We offer a 50% money-back guarantee*. If you don’t get a job offer within six months after graduating the 50-week course, 50% of your program fee will be returned to you.

Bushwise is a FGASA and CATHSSETA accredited and certified training provider. Our Professional Field Guide students achieve high marks on all their FGASA and Bushwise exams.

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 and endorsed 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. Our trainers combined have over 50 years’ experience working in the industry. Students can get up to nine certificates, and six of which are nationally recognised.

We make it easy for international students to obtain a Study Visa which allows them to get their SA driver’s license and then their PrPD. This allows you to be able to register as a guide, do a placement and maximise your chance of employment.


As featured in


Spend 23 or 50 weeks on the most comprehensive professional field guide training courses available.

Next start date 07 January 2023

Duration 23 or 50 weeks

Format On-campus, in-country

Accreditation FGASA & CATHSSETA

Age 18+ (We welcome individuals of all ages that can easily walk 3km)

Optional Extras FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide


During the 23-week course (or during the first 23 weeks of the 50-week course) you’ll learn the essentials of field guiding theory, and ground this in practical experience.

As an added benefit in your course fee and at no additional cost to you, you have the opportunity to complete the FGASA Field Guiding online course prior to arriving on campus. This online component lays solid theoretical foundations to help you maximise your time in the field.

You will be introduced to theory in the classroom on campus. This will be followed up by safari drives and bush walks in the reserve where you can put theory to practice. Typically, you will have two training sessions a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but this can vary depending on the stage of the course.

At the end of each week, you will be assessed on what you have learnt. At the end of 23 weeks, students on the 50-week course will begin their 6-month placement.

Course itinerary

The Bushwise Professional Field Guide course varies between classroom-based learning and practical sessions. The balance between these two will differ module to module. But an average day could look like this:


Meet in the Kitchen for coffee and a light breakfast, then depart for the morning activity, either a walk or a drive, or a lecture in the classroom




Free time


Afternoon activity or lecture in the classroom

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 5 animals.

Life on the course

Bushwise has a daily structure in place so that everyone gets into the routine of a working Safari Guide (waking up early is definitely part of the job!). We aim to give a balance of theory and practical training during each day, but we do allow for program requirements, seasonal changes and students’ needs.

Typically your day will start between 5:30am and 6am. Your weeks will consist of different modules, including mammals, birds, 4×4 skills and rifle handling skills, just to name a few. Bushwise follows the FGASA curriculum, and all training is conducted by professional qualified guides, registered trainers, and instructors.

In your practical sessions, which are typically bush walks or safari drives, you will concentrate on specific modules and put the theory you have learned in the classroom into practice. At the end of each week, all the students are tested on that weeks’ module before moving onto the next one.

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 & grasses
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Understanding animal behaviour
  • Conservation management & historical habitation
  • Vehicle Skills and basic mechanics
  • 4 x 4 training
  • Hospitality & hosting basics in a lodge environment
  • Principles of anti-poaching
  • Survival & navigation
  • Rifles & rifle handling
  • Bush first aid skills
  • Tracking (Cybertrack Track and Sign)
  • Wildlife photography