Careers in the wildlife industry

Wildlife careers in Southern Africa, such as game ranger jobs, field guiding and nature conservation are in high demand. If you have a passion for nature and you want to help conserve it, then you’re well-suited for a career in the lodge industry.

Bushwise Field Guides professional courses prepare participants for careers in the lodge industry. We’re the top-rated FGASA field guide training provider in the safari industry and have the highest graduate success rates. We also guarantee a job for South African students within six months of graduating from our Bushwise Professional Field Guide course.

When you graduate from a Bushwise course, you’ll have access to the following entry-level fieldwork opportunities:

  • game ranger/wildlife manager
  • field guide/safari guide
  • trails guide /walking safari guide
  • park ranger/reserve manager.

These roles commonly overlap, but there are still some distinct differences between them.

Game ranger/wildlife manager

Game rangers do hands-on work with nature. They are responsible for wildlife management, field management and the general upkeep of the nature reserve.

Game ranger and park ranger jobs regularly overlap on reserves, but a game ranger’s main role is to maintain the health of the natural environment, which includes all fauna and flora. As a game ranger, you’ll work with the park ranger to monitor animal habitats and ensure optimal conditions as far as possible for the health and reproduction of the animals.

You’ll also find field guides working on reserves with game rangers. Both play key roles in the maintenance and success of any nature reserve.

Read about the experience of a game ranger who turned his focus to field guiding in this article.

Field guide/safari guide

As a field guide, you need a well-rounded background with nature, an ability to work with wildlife and a willingness to assist park rangers when they need extra hands.

Your main responsibility is to interact with the guests of the reserve. You’ll meet new people, take them out on game drives or bush walks, and share your knowledge about the natural environment. You’ll focus on explaining the types of fauna and flora found in the reserve and educate guests on how to look after them. Your role as a field guide is vital to enhancing the experience of your guests.

Read more about five of the biggest differences between field guides and game rangers in this article.

Trails guide/walking safari guide

As a trails guide, you’re qualified to take guests on walking safaris in the reserve.

Your key responsibilities include knowing the movements of the animals on the reserve, understanding their behaviour and being able to share this knowledge with the guests on the safari walk.

Park ranger/reserve manager

Your main responsibilities as a park ranger are to conserve nature and manage the infrastructure and resources of the game reserve. This includes managing the animal population, alien plant control, fencing, roads, water resources, and clearing bush.