Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to questions you may be asking yourself.
What Careers will a FGASA Field Guide qualification help me with?
Obtaining your FGASA Field Guide 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.
How long is the FGASA Field Guide course?
The course takes place over a period of 60 days.
What expenses are covered in the course fee?
Your course fees cover the costs of:
- All meals
- Training costs
- FGASA registration fees
- FGASA Text Books
- Transport between course locations
- Park fees
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
What expenses are not covered in the course fee?
Your course fees do not cover the costs of:
- Additional reference books and other extra reading material
- Personal travel & excursions
- Purchase of curios and any items of a personal nature
- Additional food and drinks (snacks, soft drinks, alcohol etc)
Where will I do my training on a Pathfinders Field Guides course?
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
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 Premier Private Game Reserve,
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest National Park, renowned for its vast elephant populations, large lion prides, and 1000-strong herds of Buffalo. This is where Africa’s greatest guides have plied their trade.
Matopos National Park and the Bubiana Conservancy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the Matopos hills region, famed for its fascinating geological features and spectacularly preserved rock art. Matopos National Park also hosts the world’s highest density of leopard, Africa’s most elusive big cat.
Victoria Falls, situated in the North-west corner of Zimbabwe, at the Zambian border. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders) 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.
What requirements do I need to meet in order to apply to Pathfinders?
In order to be eligible to join the FGASA Professional Field Guide 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 60 days before your course begins
- Enjoy a reasonably high level of personal fitness
- Be fluent in written and spoken English
What does the Professional Field Guide course syllabus cover?
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
- Weather & Climate
- Biomes of Southern Africa
- Plants (Trees & Grasses)
- Animal behaviour
- Conservation Management
- Historical Human Habitation
Pathfinders Custom Modules:
- Wilderness First Aid
- 4×4 Driving Skills
- Wildlife Photography Skills
- Survival in the Bush
- Understanding Tourism
For a detailed description of each module, please download the course syllabus on the FGASA website: Click here
What should I bring with me?
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
- Sewing Kit
- Money Belt
- External Hard drive to store photos
- Any 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)
Is it safe to travel to Zimbabwe?
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 somewhat 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.