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Program Code: ZABF0764U

Course Information

Next start date

22 August 2022

Enrollment closes

17 August 2022

Course frequency

Select Start Dates Only



Time Commitment




Optional Extra

GVI Program Abroad


$170 scholarships available. Book by 31 August*

Flexible Payment

Options Available


Join the African Nature and Wildlife online course. The course is run by Bushwise, GVI’s sister company and the top-rated training provider of Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) certifications. More than 90% of those who graduate from a Bushwise professional field guiding program, get a job.

The course is built around three official FGASA modules. Two of these are not available for online study anywhere else. Bushwise also added two additional modules after consulting and acting on what lodges are looking for in a field guide. Unlike other FGASA courses of its kind, this course features a social, multimedia online learning experience led by experts with over 50 years of experience in the field. Each module is taught by one of our experienced professional field guides, meaning that you’ll have the option to ask experts questions and discuss topics with other participants from around the world.

In addition, the course includes a masterclass lecture series delivered by directors of conservation organisations, leading researchers and other experts that is designed to give you in-depth local insight into a diverse range of topics in African nature, wildlife conservation and field guiding. These discussions are designed to not only allow you to master the subject matter, but to create meaningful connections with leaders in the field. This allows you to kickstart your professional network in this field, an essential aspect of modern-day employment as most vacancies today are filled through referral.

Skills you’ll acquire

After completing this course you’ll be able to:

  • understand the role and responsibilities of the professional field guide
  • lead and engage large groups of diverse people from around the world
  • understand the recommended ethical guiding practices and carry out an ethical guided experience in the natural environment
  • carry out research on suitable sites in preparation for your guests
  • ensure the health and safety of your clients on a guided experience.

Is this course for you?

The FGASA Field Guiding online course is for anyone who’s ready to start their career as a professional safari guide. Anyone ages 18 and above is welcome to join. This might include everyone from recent graduates to mid-level professionals looking for a career change. Please note that to join this course you’ll first need to successfully complete the African Nature and Wildlife online course.

Course Curriculum

The course begins with an introduction to the skills required by professional field guides.

Then you’ll learn how to create a guided experience for clients. This will include learning how to cater your drive or walk to the client’s interests and manage client expectations. You’ll see how conducting research beforehand can help you make strategic decisions before the drive and take key opportunities during the drive by thinking on your feet.

You’ll also learn how to care for clients on your drive and walk. This will include learning how to make clients feel at ease, make yourself approachable and solve problems. You’ll learn several communication skills to help you accomplish this.

The next module is all about how to ensure safety throughout the safari drive and walk. You’ll learn how to prevent emergencies and to manage these incidents in case they do occur.

Then, you’ll learn how to conduct the guided experience, from the pre-briefing to the debriefing stage and all the phases in between. Learn best practices in field guiding. You’ll also find out how to integrate your extensive knowledge of the natural environment into the guiding experience you wish to create.

Then complete a module on radio procedure. This will include learning how to use a two-way radio and what the radio procedures are for a wildlife sighting. You’ll also be able to brief your guests on how to use the radio in the case of an emergency.

Then, learn how to review your walks and drives after they have been completed. Learn to reflect on what went well and how you can create more of that as well as what can be improved.

You’ll also complete a module on basic and advanced rifle handling. This will give you advanced training in how to handle a bolt action rifle. The module includes learning about how to show the utmost care for safety when working with firearms. You’ll also learn how to clean and take care of rifles.

Finally, you’ll learn how to give clients the best experience possible while keeping them safe at all times by completing the viewing potentially dangerous animals module. Learn how to interpret the behaviour of potentially dangerous animals so that you can anticipate any potential dangers.

Throughout the course, you’ll have the opportunities to attend masterclasses on a range of more in-depth topics such as in-depth discussions of Southern African insect, arachnid, birds and reptile species, elephant, pangolin, snake, vulture conservation and research, anti-poaching initiatives, trailing animals on safari walks, trailing and following animals, bird photography, African folklore and relevant operational strategies used in the management of nature and wildlife reserves such as contraception as a management tool.
Module 1: Introduction to Field Guiding
Module 2: Radio Procedures
Module 3: Rifles and advanced rifle handling
Module 4: Viewing potential dangerous animals

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

This course includes material related to these Goals

Earn a certificate

Once you’ve successfully completed your course, you’ll receive a digital certificate of completion from Bushwise. The certificate will state that you have passed the FGASA Field Guide online course. This certificate will enable you to take your next step in becoming a field guide, joining us for practical work in South Africa. You’ll then be able to write your Apprentice Field Guide exam, an NQF2 qualification, formerly FGASA Level 1. This will enable you to start working as a certified FGASA field guide.

Your course experts

Trevor Myburgh

General Manager & Trainer
Trevor is a trainer at the Mahlahla campus and has been in the lodge and guiding industry for seven years. He has held various positions including lodge management, leopard research, capture and relocation, wildlife rehabilitation, overland guiding and guiding in Big 5 reserves in various parts of South Africa.

Vaughan Jessnitz

Senior Trainer
Vaughan has been part of the tourism industry for the last 10 years, guiding and managing camps throughout South Africa, specifically in the Greater Kruger National Park. Throughout his career, he has been involved in various conservation and research projects specialising in entomology and biodiversity mapping throughout South Africa. He has been working at Bushwise for the last four years.

Edward Smith

Edward is currently the youngest trainer at Bushwise and has been part of the Conservation and Tourism industry since he left school back in 2010. At the age of 19, he qualified as both a field and marine guide but decided to kickstart his field guiding career by taking an opportunity at one of South Africa’s oldest private game reserves, Bonamanzi Private Game Reserve in Hluhluwe, KZN.

Jack Hutchinson

Jack was a Bushwise student back in 2009. He has been guiding for the last 11 years in 5-star lodges such as Imbali Safari lodge, Lion Sands and Thornybush in South Africa. He has been working at Bushwise since January 2020. He is currently training to become a FGASA assessor and mentor for trail guides.

Lindi Hutchinson

Lindi finished her apprentice trails guide training in 2011. In November 2013, she started her guiding career at Entabeni Game Reserve in the Waterberg, South Africa. She has worked in numerous different reserves and biomes and is now a professional field guide with FGASA Level 3 and Full Trails qualifications. She has been working at Bushwise since January 2020.

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