Professional FGASA Level 1 Course 2017-05-31T14:02:03+00:00

Launch your Career as a Professional Field Guide

Travel to the heart of South Africa’s wilderness and join the ranks of the best-trained field guides in the industry 

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Launch your Career as a Professional Field Guide  

Travel to the heart of South Africa’s wilderness and join the ranks of the best-trained field guides in the industry 

Enquire Now
  • The most in-depth FGASA courses available


  • Expertly trained staff


  • 23 and 50-week options


  • Incredible free time activities available


  • Comprehensive 24/7 support


Professional FGASA Level 1

The course 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’re prepared to work hard, this experience can change your life forever.

The first three months of your program will be a fairly intense induction to the wonders of the bush through both theory and practical training, and your last two months will be more focused on polishing your practical skills, and you will be required to undertake more self-study to keep up with your theory.

After each four weeks of training you will have a full week to yourself to explore the stunning surrounds, including Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon. Enjoy the variety of action-packed activities at your fingertips such as horseback safaris, micro-lighting and white water rafting or travel a bit further for some pristine diving, whale watching and cycling.

Each week you will focus on one of the FGASA modules for an in-depth understanding of the subject. You will be tested on the material at the end of every week to ensure that you’re on track. This also helps you to identify the areas you need to focus on in your self-study.

What would 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 down time sitting around the fire sharing the day’s experiences.

Skills and training included in your 23-week training course: 

  • FGASA Level 1 qualification
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge base
  • Trails Guide Theory
  • Wilderness First Aid Level 2 Course
  • Reptile orientation course & certification
  • Cybertracker Track and Sign Qualification
  • Birding Specialist certification
  • Advanced Rifle Handling (if level acquired)
  • 4×4 driving course
  • Excursions to Kruger National Park and other game reserves
  • Wildlife photography workshop with award-winning wildlife photographer

Areas of study 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, Animal behavior, Conservation management & historical habitation, Vehicle Skills, 4 x 4 Training, Specialist Guest Speakers, Hospitality & hosting basics, Anti-poaching basics, Survival & Navigation, Guiding with Dangerous Game, Rifles & Rifle Handling, Wilderness first aid skills, Tracking and more.

Mondays through Fridays are reserved for training and lectures, and we highly recommend that weekends are utilized for self-study in preparation for your exams. After every fourth training week however, you will enjoy a full free week, during which you can explore the beautiful surroundings and interesting local sights.

Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free time (although it’s recommended that students use this time for personal study and preparation for the upcoming lectures). However after every 4th week students get a full week off and are encouraged to leave campus, travel and explore the local area. Some highlights to be enjoyed include:

  • Blyde River Canyon – boat trips, kloofing, whitewater rafting, hiking, paintball, hot air ballooning and camping are just some of the activities on offer here
  • Kruger National Park daytrips/overnight camping available
  • Moholoholo Rehab Centre – endangered species rehabilitation
  • Panorama Route – Bourke’s Luck potholes, God’s Window and myriad waterfalls are just some of what awaits you – all of which can be done in a day!
  • Giant Baobab Tree/Upside Down Restaurant
  • Debengeni Falls, Tzaneen with picnic area and hiking trails
Included in your 23-week training course: 

  • Pre-departure support and services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Experienced, long term staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary course training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support

  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate – Level 1 – practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA (The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First aid certificate and wilderness modules
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Specialist birding course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Dangerous game experience
  • Excursions such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books
  • Transfer from O.R. Tambo International Airport
  • Internet access (limited)
  • T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

*A six-month work placement is included in the 50 week course

What’s not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

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

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“Unforgettable 6 months, during which, getting FGASA Level 1, was only one of many things I loved. Being immersed 24/7 in the bush, is the best way to get to know it. I have learnt to see, hear and smell things I hadn’t noticed before, realising the Big 5 are only a tiny piece of an amazing net of beings. Nothing better than sharing this with the beautiful people I was lucky to do so!”

Angele Rouillard, Past Student