Frequently Asked Questions 2018-01-12T13:55:59+00:00

Haven’t found the information on FGASA Level 1 courses you’re looking for? Read through our list of most commonly asked questions below.

Obtaining your FGASA Level 1 qualification opens up many doors in the worlds of conservation and tourism. Being FGASA-qualified will allow you to work as a Field Guide, and is highly recommended for anyone interested in pursuing a career in lodge or park management, practical conservation and the realm of natural sciences.

The course takes place over a period of 50 days.

Your course fees cover the costs of:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Training Costs
  • FGASA registration fees
  • Transport between course locations
  • Park fees
  • Airport pick-up on arrival
Your course fees do not cover the costs of:

  • FGASA Text books and other extra reading material
  • Visas
  • Flights
  • Personal travel & excursions
  • Purchase of curios and any items of a personal nature
The Pathfinders course takes you to four stunning wilderness destinations, exposing you to a variety of landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife. In this way, you qualify with a range of practical experience under your belt – putting you head and shoulders above the rest!

Specifically, your course takes you to:

  • Antelope Park, situated in Gweru’s Ngamo region, and the winner of the 2016 World Travel Award for Zimbabwe’s Best Private Game Reserve,
  • The Bubye Valley Conservancy, situated in Zimbabwe’s Lowveld region between the Tuli Block and the Shashe River; home to Zimbabwe’s largest populations of black and white rhino,
  • Victoria Falls National Park, situated in the North-west corner of Zimbabwe, at the Zambian border. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘The Smoke That Thunders’), it incorporates the famous Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The majority of the wildlife-rich park is made up of rainforest, and home to scores of elephant, hippo, buffalo and lion, and
  • Matopos National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the Matopos hills region, famed for its fascinating geological features and spectacularly preserved rock art
In order to be eligible to join a Pathfinders FGASA Course, you must:

  • Be at least eighteen years old
  • Be in possession of a valid manual driver’s licence
  • Be able to complete the required payments two months before your course begins
  • Enjoy a reasonable level of personal fitness
  • Be fluent in written and spoken English

The Pathfinders course is varied, and covers a host of subjects to prepare you both for your FGASA assessments, and for a successful career in guiding. Specifically, the course covers the following subjects:

  • Guiding in the natural environment
  • Geology
  • Weather & Climate
  • Astronomy, Ecology
  • Biomes of Southern Africa
  • Taxonomy
  • Plants (Trees & Grasses)
  • Arthropods
  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation Management
  • Historical Human Habitation

For a detailed description of each module, please see the course syllabus on the FGASA website

We suggest that you bring the following:

  • A large duffel bag or main rucksack (please avoid large hard, wheeled suitcases)
  • A day pack or rucksack
  • Sun Cream
  • Insect Repellent
  • Swimming Costume
  • Water bottle (1.5-2ltr Capacity)
  • Mosquito Net
  • 2-3 season sleeping bag for sleep-outs or camping
  • Malaria Tablets (please consult your doctor, pharmacy or travel clinic for recommended prophylactics)
  • Laundry marker
  • Camera (at own risk)
  • Alarm clock
  • Laundry Bag
  • Tin mug
  • Heavy duty gardening gloves
  • Passport photos (approximately 6) for registration
  • Stationary (pens, pencils, notepads)
  • Laptop (at your own risk)
  • Batteries for electrical appliances
  • Relevant adapters for wall plugs
  • Penknife
  • Sewing Kit
  • Binoculars
  • Money Belt
  • External Hard drive to store photos
  • Requisite text books and any additional reference / field guide books you may have
  • Toiletries to last 2 weeks (you will be able to visit the shops at least every 2 weeks)
  • Additional money for excursions during your free time and purchasing items of a personal nature

In order to progress to a FGASA Level 2 field guide, you must have a minimum of 1 year (260 days) practical active guiding experience.

It is not necessary to undertake an additional course in order to get your Level 2 qualification; once you have the necessary experience and feel confident in your abilities, you can apply to FGASA to write your Level 2 Field Guide examination and undertake the associated practical.

Provided you pass both assessments and possess a valid first aid certificate, you can register as a FGASA Level 2 Field Guide.

Zimbabwe is a safe country to visit, in general; all the more so if your visit is primarily an organised trip with an operator. There has been no travel advisory in effect since 2009. Zimbabwe’s political-economical situation remains strained, but it rarely affects tourists.

General Safety and Security

As with many third-world countries, theft incidents are not uncommon. Most incidents occur in cities, however, and are usually opportunistic. Walking around the cities alone and driving alone at night is not recommended. As with most destinations, being alert and observing a level of caution in the cities is advised. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organised visit to one of the attractions in or around the city should be fine.

Safety in Wildlife Areas

Safety in Zimbabwe’s game reserves and parks is generally of a high standard. Wildlife viewing can be considered very safe as long as you treat the animals with respect and use a reasonable amount of caution. It is rare for incidents to occur and your professional guides and trainers are there to ensure your safety and train you to conduct yourself safely and confidently in the bush.

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