The first mobile field guide training program of its kind, Pathfinders takes you on a journey, not only through education & learning in the African wilderness, but through four iconic wildlife destinations. You’ll be guided every step of the way by some of Africa’s most passionate and highly qualified field guide
Over the 60-day course you will cover a wide range of terrains and wildlife-rich habitats, learning how to identify species, track and interpret behavioral patterns, apply conservation techniques and learn the basics on how to survive, guide & protect in the African bush.
Zimbabwe remains Africa’s original great natural wilderness and through your time on the course you will visit and study in
some of Africa’s finest game reserves. Here, we combine classroom study with practical training, applying hands on techniques and gaining first-hand experience guiding with a wide range of Africa’s wildlife species, including Africa’s famous Big Five; lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
This broad range of experience is what sets Pathfinders’ guides apart from the rest. Upon graduation, our guides have already applied their skills in a range of environments with different wildlife, vegetation, terrains and challenges, making them more attractive to prospective employers.
The course itself is structured to give you a balance of theoretical and practical know-how, and while your time with us is structured, you can be assured that no two days are the same! If you are prepared to work hard – this experience will change your life forever.
You’ll be able to enjoy the variety of action-packed activities at your fingertips such as bungee jumping, micro-lighting and white water rafting or travel in your free time.
Course topics covered on your course:
FGASA Field Guide Modules:
- Guiding in the Natural Environment
- Weather and Climate
- Biomes of Southern Africa
- Plants (trees and grasses)
- Animal Behavior
- Conservation Management
Pathfinders Custom Modules:
- Wilderness First Aid
- 4×4 Driving Skills
- Wildlife Photography Skills
- Survival in the Bush
- Understanding Tourism
What could a typical day in the bush look like for a trainee?
At about 5:30 or 6:00 am, you’ll have a quick breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and head out to the bush for a morning of practical lessons or lectures focused on the week’s module, which may be anything from mammals to 4X4 driving skills. When the midday heat kicks in, you’ll have some free time to relax, study or rest before the afternoon training session. You’ll return to base from your busy day to enjoy dinner and enjoy some downtime sitting around the fire sharing the day’s experiences.
An award-winning safari lodge nestled in a 3000-acre prime piece of open savannah, Antelope Park provides the ideal beginning to your course. With no naturally-occuring dangerous game, this location offers the perfect destination for a participant’s introduction into the bush.
As an established safari lodge, participants have a great opportunity to live a safari lodge life, learning what it takes to run such an establishment and gaining an insight into the tourism industry. It’s so much more than just leading a great game drive!
Antelope Park is heavily involved in conservation and local community upliftment initiatives, providing you with a fantastic opportunity to get a better understanding of what is needed to preserve the wilderness we treasure.
Bubiana Conservancy and Matopos National Park
With its towering granite outcrops and hidden cave networks, this destination provides the ideal environment for the most secretive big cats; leopards. Matopos National Park is also a great success story for the endangered rhino, with a now thriving population calling the park home.
Participants will be based at the Bubiana Conservancy, a 50,000-hectare private reserve, where we have unrestricted access to explore the hiking trails, hidden caves and ancient cave art.
Access to both the Conservancy and National Park at night allows you to hone your night guiding skills, listening to and identifying the various night noises and studying the stars.
Hwange National Park
Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest National Park is a guiding paradise. It is home to over 400 species of bird and 100 species of animal, including a vast elephant population, large prides of lion and 1000-strong herds of buffalo. This is the guiding capital of Zimbabwe, where some of the world’s most recognized ‘bush men’ have plied their trade.
You will be based at a private concession that borders the National Park. Being unfenced, animals move freely between the National Park and the concession. The private concession gives us the freedom to conduct walks and night drives. The most important aspect of guiding is the safety of your guests, and this gives us the opportunity to track and approach dangerous game on foot, reading and learning the signs around us.
The final destination on your course is the famous town of Victoria Falls; one of Africa’s top tourism destinations. Here, you’ll get a unique opportunity to observe and learn the in’s and out’s of the tourism industry in its entirety, to appreciate where and how guiding fits into a much larger tourism product that drives a global industry.
The town of Victoria Falls in unique in that it falls within the boundaries of the National Park, and it is not uncommon to have wildlife roaming around town, which sets an incredible example of a successful cohabitation of people and wildlife.
You will be based on 2000 hectares of pristine wildlife land that forms part of an unfenced regional conservation area, stretching over five countries and 50 million hectares. Here, adventure, camping and tracking in the vast riverine ecosystem is the focus for our participants.
Included in your Course Fee:
- Comfortable shared accommodation (2 people per room)
- All meals
- FGASA Textbooks
- Park fees
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- All conservation fees
- Transport between training locations
- Training Costs
- Flights and associated taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Outdoor gear
- Additional food and drinks
- Reference books outside of those provided
- Personal travel and excursions
- Purchase of curios and items of a personal nature
In order to be able to apply, candidates must:
- Be fluent in both written and spoken English
- Hold a full valid drivers license (obtained at least one year before the start date)
- Have ample manual driving experience and be confident and competent driving manual vehicles
- Have achieved A-levels/High School Diploma/Matric or equivalent (minimum)
- For the 23-week course: applicants must be 18 years old or older
- For the 50-week course (including work placement): applicants must be between 21 and 39 years old only
Get Started Today: