The Purpose of a Safari Field Guide in Conservation

When I think about Africa, I think of a safari. I see people travelling worldwide to view the magnificent wildlife and scenic game reserves only Africa can offer. Some prefer to jump in their vehicles and explore the wilderness independently, while others feel more comfortable with a specialist guide. The upside of taking a guided safari is that you will be entertained and educated for the entire duration of your safari. An interpretive safari creates meaningful and unexpected encounters when you least expect them.


Being a safari guide is a privilege and a big responsibility. To qualify as a Safari Field Guide, one must gain expansive knowledge about the environment and living organisms. They must learn about animal behaviour to ensure a safe environment for their guests, specifically when encountering wildlife while on safari. Not only do they have to keep their guests safe, but they also must consider the impact of their activities on the environment. 

For someone to choose a career as a guide, you need a passion for nature and wildlife. Once the desire is there, there is no stopping anyone. With the proper education, a qualified Safari Field Guide can significantly impact the natural world. Every person who trains has experienced the natural world in its rawest form and will have changed because of this. Such a transformation encourages each prospective guide to prioritise nature and become a passionate conservationist. The more people we have who think like that, the better the world will be.

EcoTraining guides & students on Safari – Photograph © Cameron Clements


To become a Field Guide, you must obtain a valid qualification from an accredited training provider in your country. FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) sets the Industry standard in South Africa. There are many training providers who FGASA endorses to provide the necessary training to prospective guides at the best possible means. EcoTraining offers such a qualification, and as the longest-standing Field Guide training provider in Africa, they have trained many incredible guides from all over the world who are currently working in the industry.

Baby elephant, Kenya – Photograph © Kim Paffen

Hands-on, practical training forms the heart of EcoTraining’s courses. EcoTraining focuses on reconnecting people to the bush by understanding the interrelatedness of ecology. With this formula, students walk away with extensive knowledge and experience to take guests on an interpretive safari. While your education will focus on the African bushveld, the perspective on life and nature you will gain is missing from many modern societies. Simply put, it reminds us of the importance of natural spaces, how intricately linked they are with everything around us and that no matter where we live in the world, these spaces are fundamental to the progression of life on this planet.

Appreciating the beautiful landscape of Kenya – Photograph © Kim Paffen

EcoTraining; as a field guide and nature course training provider, we get asked about conservation constantly. Environmental conservation is our core focus. It forms the foundation of all our courses and is the golden string that holds our company together. An interpretive safari is more than just a guided experience. It is about environmental education. As guides, we must teach our guests the importance of protecting our environment and wildlife to ensure a sustainable future for generations. We must teach our guests to appreciate nature and learn from it. It will make them aware of and sensitive towards how human interference has and can negatively impact ecosystems. A guest has to walk away from her safari experience with a new outlook and appreciation for nature. 

EcoTraining guide observing giraffes – Photograph © Kim Paffen


Mission accomplished! Your guest returns home, whether back to their place in Africa or somewhere very far away, but their newfound passion for wildlife is here to stay! Why? Because the Safari Field Guide cared enough about the environment to teach others about protecting it. This deep connection with nature cannot be learnt from a textbook or led by word-of-mouth. It requires physical and mental presence and openness to the whole experience. You may understand this in the African bushveld, but it will be with you wherever you go. The guest returns home and shares his knowledge with his family and friends, creating a community of guardians worldwide. Another Guardian of Nature! The circle of life continues!

It all starts with one safari and one person. Let the guiding begin!

How to become a Field Guide | EcoTraining Professional Field Guide

The African bush is calling you! Will you answer the call?

Would you like to know more about the EcoTraining Professional Field Guide Course?

This comprehensive and unique one-year course has been designed to supply the safari industry with high-calibre FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified professional field guides. Students live and learn at four different wilderness camps, exposing them to diverse ecological and geographical terrains, wildlife species, climates, and more.

Here is your chance to learn more and get an in-depth idea of your year with EcoTraining.

About the Author:
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EcoTraining Connect

EcoTraining, which has been in operation since 1993, is the innovator and top provider of training for safari guides and wildlife experts in Africa.

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