WPCS 2.1.3
WPCS 2.1.3

Professional Field Guide Training

"The full program for those who seriously want to pursue a career in the safari industry"

Price $20095 USD (See price tab)
Course Type
Botswana, South Africa
365 Nights
Makuleke Concession Pafuri, Timbavati & Klaserie Nature Reserves

Perfect course for pursuing a career in field guiding or looking for a gap year learning experience.

EcoTraining offers a course just short of a year for participants either serious about pursuing a career in field guiding or looking for a gap year learning experience.

general information


EcoTraining offers a course just short of a year for participants either serious about pursuing a career in field guiding or looking for a gap year learning experience. For one year you will be exposed to diverse ecological and geological terrains, landscapes, wildlife species and so much more at our wilderness camps in remote places such as the Makuleke Concession (Kruger), Karongwe Reserve, Selati Reserve and Mashatu Reserve (Botswana). Our unfenced bush camps provide a consistently stimulating environment in which to learn, supported by our highly qualified and experienced instructors, each with their own unique way of training and guiding that will enhance your overall training experience.

Why do the course?

This comprehensive and unique course has been designed to supply the safari industry with high caliber FGASA qualified field guides. This course is however not only available to people wishing to enter the industry as field guides, but for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of the African bush.

This course is comprised of approximately 4 – 5 months of theoretical and practical training with our highly qualified instructors, in which you will complete various separate certificate courses. Following this is a lodge placement period of between 5-6 months, which will make up the second half of your course. We will place you at a lodge where you will work with experienced guides and lodge managers, where they have agreed to mentor you and develop your newly acquired skills. At the end of the course you will not only be qualified but will have also gained substantial working and practical experience.

about the school

Operating for 24 years, EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in safari guide and wildlife training in Africa. EcoTraining is widely recognised by the safari industry for its credibility and standard of excellence in nature guide training. We offer accredited career courses, gap year and sabbatical programmes, nature programmes, high school and university study abroad programmes, custom courses and on-site professional guide training at safari lodges. All courses are run directly from EcoTraining’s unfenced bush camps in prime wilderness areas across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. To date EcoTraining has trained over 11 000 people from 33 different countries around the world.

course content

Some subjects covered on course

  • The Introduction to Guiding in the Natural Environment
  • Basic Bush and Survival Skills
  • Geology
  • Basic Ecology
  • Basic Taxonomy
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Animal Behavior
  • Tracks and Tracking
  • Approaching Dangerous Game Animals
  • Off-Road and 4×4 Driving
  • Night Drives

start dates

2 August 2022 - 2 July 2023
2 September 2022 - 6 August 2023
1 October 2022 - 3 September 2023


The sleeping arrangements at all our camps consist of two people sharing per tent. Single requests are required to pay double-rates. Women and men do not share tents unless booked as a couple.


  • Early morning wake-up (tea, coffee, biscuits, fresh fruit and cereal)
  • Brunch after activity (cooked breakfast and fruit salad)
  • Afternoon tea (light lunch/ sandwiches)
  • Dinner (balanced, warm plated meal with meat, vegetables and salad)

The Professional Field Guide course takes place in all Ecotraining camps in South Africa & Botswana.


Departure from Johannesburg (1st day of course)
All EcoTraining scheduled BushBus transfers will depart from the Emerald Guesthouse on the first day of a course. The departure time is strictly 7am from the Emerald Guesthouse Emerald Backpackers/ Guesthouse: (19 Halifax Rd, Kemptonpark)

Participants flying into Johannesburg (international and domestic) are advised to arrive the day before and overnight at Emerald Backpackers/Guesthouse to ensure all passengers are on time for departure and the bus leaves as scheduled.
The guesthouse is within close proximity to OR Tambo International Airport and if supplied with your flight details, will collect you at no additional charge. They offer a range of accommodation options, to suit your individual requirements and budget. As the Bush Bus departs early morning from Emerald, overnighting at the guesthouse will help simplify your departure.
Please book directly with Emerald Backpackers/Guesthouse on info@emeraldguesthouse.net.


You could graduate with:

  1. FGASA Field Guide Level 1 (NQF2)(theory and practical)
  2. FGASA Trails Guide Back Up (theory and practical)
  3. Firearm Proficiency Certificate (with a PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) accredited provider)
  4. Advanced Rifle Handling (FGASA accreditation)
  5. Animal Tracks and Tracking
  6. Basic Birding
  7. Advanced Birding
  8. Wilderness Medicine: Level 1 & 2
  9. Navigation and Orientation
  10. Lodge Placement Programme

EcoTraining is a FGASA registered training provider. We are also accredited by CATHSSETA (Tourism and Hospitality and Sport Education Training Authority) for the FGASA Field Guide qualification, thereby meeting the required standard. FGASA and CATHSSETA are the two bodies primarily responsible for regulating standards within the guide training industry in South Africa.

For the One Year Professional Field Guide course, EcoTraining will register students with FGASA and CATHSSETA. Students need not arrange this themselves before coming on the course.

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.

PDP (Public Drivers Permit) most lodges require that students have a PDP as this allows them to transport groups of people in a company vehicle. Please understand that participants under the age of 21 years and foreigners without a study visa are not eligible to apply for a South African PDP. In this case, please enroll using your conventional license.


2021 rate per person: ZAR336 900

2022 rate per person: ZAR357 100

*Please note that the official price for this course is in ZAR as above. Any other currency price for this tour is merely indicative. The ZAR price will be converted to your preferred currency using the exchange rate on the date of invoice.

Rates include:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Pick up at Emerald Backpackers on the first day the course starts to Nelspruit
  • Drop off at Emerald Backpackers on the last day the course ends
  • Select transfers
  • Instructors and Training
  • Wilderness Medicine Course
  • Game drive
  • Laundry
  • Walks
  • 3 x sets of uniforms (shirts and shorts)
  • EcoTraining golf shirt, cap and beanie
  • Tea, Coffee & cordials
  • Other activities (sleep out, etc)
  • All FGASA registration, examination and moderation fees and books
  • PFTC (Professional Firearm Trainers Council) Proficiency Certification

Rates exclude:

  • Transfers/transport to and from the camp, before and after off times.
  • Any accommodation before and after the course and during off times.
  • Beverages (beers, ciders, bottled water).
  • NDT (formerly known as DEAT) registration
  • Entry to Kruger Park (for Makuleke Courses); Botswana border crossing

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