1-year Professional Field Guide Course

This extensive and distinctive one-year course has been created to provide the safari industry with FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified professional field guides of the highest calibre.


Unparalleled immersion

Students are exposed to a variety of ecological and geographical terrains, wildlife species, climates, and unforgettable experiences while living and learning at up to four different wilderness camps.

There is no other course that offers this breadth of wildlife immersion and knowledge.

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What to expect from the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course

Expert instruction across multiple certificates

You’ll have the opportunity to work with highly qualified instructors and complete a series of separate certificate courses in wilderness medicine, animal tracking, advanced rifle handling, FGASA Nature Site Guide NQF2 training, FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide training and advanced birding.

Hands-on placement programme

The course also includes a 5 to 6-month placement programme where you’ll get to work with professional staff and management at a property in order to develop your newly acquired skills. This hands-on experience will be invaluable as you put your skills to the test and gain real-world experience in the field.

Stand out in the field

By the end of this course, you’ll not only have potentially gained multiple qualifications and certificates, but you’ll also have gained substantial practical working experience that will help you stand out in the competitive field of wildlife and wilderness management.

Where the course takes place

The 1-year Professional Field Guide Course is held at up to four  of our EcoTraining Camps in Southern Africa.

The benefits of taking the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course

We’ll register you with both FGASA and CATHSSETA, ensuring that you have all the necessary qualifications and certifications to succeed in the industry. You’ll live and learn at up to four different wilderness camps, immersing yourself in diverse ecological and geographical terrains, encountering a wide range of wildlife species and experiencing different climates.

Not only will you learn from the best in the industry and gain practical experience in the field, but you’ll also emerge from this course with a range of invaluable skills and knowledge that will set you apart from the competition. With a career in eco-tourism and field guiding, you’ll have the opportunity to inspire others and protect the natural world for generations to come.

Certification & accreditation

FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) – EcoTraining is an FGASA-endorsed training provider accredited by CATHSSETA. We will assist you by registering you with FGASA. FGASA will automatically register you with CATHSSETA.

PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) – Firearm proficiency training during the Rifle Handling section.

What you can expect to graduate with

Entry level requirements

What to pack

We’ve put together a useful packing list for you so you know what you need to bring with you on this course.

What kind of clothing, gear, bedding, toiletries and shoes you’ll need to be comfortable and make the most of your time in the African bush.

No need to guess or overpack.

We’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Course dates

02 August 2024 – 06 July 2025
02 September 2024 – 07 August 2025
01 October 2024 – 07 September 2025

Our Placement Partners

FAQ about the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course

With our highly successful one-year Professional Field Guide course, ‌graduates can walk away with practical experience in the safari industry, a variety of certifications and invaluable knowledge.

The fee for the Professional Field Guide Course will include accommodation, meals, transfers at the beginning and end of the course (as well as inter-camp transfers), instructors and training, a wilderness medicine course, activities, laundry, a select uniform, FGASA registration, exams, moderation, and PFTC certification (rifle proficiency).

This placement aims to provide you with practical experience to make you more employable and to bridge the gap between a newly trained guide and a competent, confident guide. This part of the course is vital in guiding development, and it should be considered a mentorship.

During the placement period, you can expect to receive meals, accommodations, and mentorship from the property staff and management. The lodges will appreciate an extra set of hands in exchange for this.

If you have successfully obtained your Nature Site Guide NQF2 qualification, you may have a chance to start logging your hours towards the next level.

There is no cut-off age for our courses’, provided participants are of a reasonable fitness level. Regarding age restriction, we will accept participants from 12 years of age (accompanied by an adult) and 16 years of age unaccompanied. Please understand that our unfenced bush camps are all in dangerous game areas, and it is with the participant’s safety in mind that this restriction is in place.

  • Must be 18 years or older (applicable to FGASA courses)
  • Must have a valid driver’s license (applicable to FGASA courses)
  • Must enjoy a reasonable level of fitness (All courses)

To be considered employable, the industry requires guides have at least FGASA Field Guide (NQF2), FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide qualifications and some practical experience. With this in mind, we created our highly successful one-year Professional Field Guide course. Graduates can walk away with FGASA Nature Site Guide (NQF2) Guide, FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide qualifications, several short, specialised qualifications (Tracking, Birding/ Advanced Birding, Wilderness Medicine, Advanced Rifle Handling etc.) as well as practical experience from the Placement Programme. This combination effectively produces a sought-after and employable entry-level Field Guide. As a foreigner, I suggest you start with no less, should you hope to secure suitable employment here in South Africa.

Have more questions? Check out our general FAQ page or get in touch for more information.


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From the field on the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course