Professional Field Guide

If you love the idea of taking safari lodge guests from all over the world out on walking and game drive safaris into Africa’s wild places, finding wildlife for them, and teaching them fascinating facts about the animals and ecosystems, then EcoTraining’s Professional Field Guide course is for you. 

Why do the 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. This course is, however, not only available to people wishing to enter the industry for a career as field guides, but for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of the African bush.

It also offers a uniquely well-rounded gap year combining facets from accredited environmental education, to a depth and breadth of life skills, to adventure and inspiration - all rolled out in our camps in Africa's wilderness.     

Whether you imagine yourself to be a game ranger - managing a conservation and wildlife game reserve, or a forest ranger working in a protected park in your country, or a safari guide giving your guests an interpretative game drive,  a course of this depth of experience and learning will give you the footing you need for these inspirational careers. 

Learning takes place in our bush classrooms and out in nature

Learning takes place in our bush classrooms and out in nature

For half of the course you will be exposed to diverse ecological and geological terrains, landscapes, all wildlife species and so much more, at our wilderness camps in big game areas such as Makuleke (northern Kruger National Park), Karongwe Game Reserve, Selati Game Reserve and Mashatu Game Reserve (Botswana). 

For the remainder of the course, you will be placed at lodges so that you can work with experienced guides and managers, to learn with and from them. At the end of the year you will therefore not only be comprehensively qualified, but will also have gained valuable practical experience in the lodge industry.


  • Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
  • Basic bush and survival skills
  • Geology
  • Basic ecology
  • Basic taxonomy
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Animal behaviour
  • Tracks and tracking
  • Approaching dangerous game animals
  • Night drives
  • and many more subjects



2017 R182 900

2018 R196 000


2017 R255 000

2018 R275 000

EcoTraining’s local rates are positioned for local citizens to access our training, and to ensure career development and employment in the safari industry.

Our winning formula

You will be based in camps in prime wildlife areas, and partake in wilderness walks or game drives twice a day. You could be trained in two different game reserves, exposing you to a diversity of habitats and species. No other training provider can match this variety of training environments, or the frequency of practical activities we offer.

You could graduate with:

  • FGASA Field Guide Level 1
  • Rifle Proficiency – Firearm Proficiency Certificate (with a PFTC [Professional Firearm Trainers Council] accredited provider)
  • FGASA Advanced Rifle Handling
  • FGASA Trails Guide Back-up
  • Basic and Advanced Birding
  • Tracking (Level 1, 2 or 3)
  • Wilderness Medicine (Level 1 and 2)
  • Navigation and Orientation
  • Guiding experience logged towards FGASA Level 2 practical assessment

Certification and accreditation of course

FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) – EcoTraining is a FGASA-endorsed training provider that is 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 will take place on the first two days of course during orientation. This training is facilitated by a PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) accredited training provider and upon successful completion, participants will be awarded with a firearm proficiency certificate.

Course dates

2 August 2017-15 July 2018

4 September 2017-26 August 2018

2 October 2017-16 September 2018

4 January 2018-16 December 2018

31 January 2018-23 December 2018

2 August 2018-14 July 2019

3 September 2018-18 August 2019

1 October 2018-15 September 2019

Wildlife viewing whilst on course is this good

Wildlife viewing whilst on course is this good

Online study options

If you would like to prepare for your time in the bush on an EcoTraining course, Wildlife Campus is an established, reputable and accredited online and offline distance-learning provider, and has been offering wildlife-related, natural science and ecotourism courses since 1999. Visit its website for the online course as a pre-study option.