Trails Guide – in the Okavango Delta
"Learn how to conduct walking safaris as a guide in the Okavango Delta"
"Learn how to conduct walking safaris as a guide in the Okavango Delta"
Imagine being deep in the African Bush, the blazing sun beating down while beads of sweat trickle down your forehead. It’s just you, your fellow trainees, the magnificent African plain and your rifle.
The Trails Guide Course is held at the Kwapa Training Camp on the Kwapa River in the southern Okavango Delta. Training to become a Trails Guide is more physically demanding than other courses.
This course comprises of four components:
1. The theory component that covers weapons safety, ballistics and information on potentially dangerous animals. This is tested with a final theory exam towards the end of the course.
2. The Advanced Rifle Handling (ARH) assessment is conducted on the borders of the NG30 (Kwapa) concession. Ammunition usage is charged at the end of the course. Air rifle and muscle memory training are done daily while visits to the rifle range are done twice a week. To get a head start, watch this video clip: http://www.guidetrainingcourses.com/get-a-head-start/watch-a-video/
Students not wanting to take part in this component are welcome to relax in camp and catch up on studying.
3. The trails guide walking assessment that includes viewing potentially dangerous animals on foot (VPDA) is done throughout the course on daily walking activities.
4. Logging hours on foot; this too is done through daily walking activities.
The African Guide Academy (former Okavango Guiding school) is owned and operated by the Reed family. The well known Reed brothers, Grant and Brent who starred in “Safari Brothers” which aired internationally on National Geographic Wild.
The academy is the first private guide training school registered in Botswana to provide training for guides on both the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) platforms.
The training courses are conducted in the Okavango Delta which has been declared a World Heritage site because of it’s pristine ecosystems, it’s scenic beauty and abundance of wildlife. The Okavango is one of the most scenically spectacular wildlife areas anywhere in the world. The myriad of crystal clear channels and wildlife rich islands is a habitat unlike any other.
The learning experience is influenced by the natural beauty of the area and the habitat diversity. Kwapa has a combination of river channel’s, floodplains, lagoons as well as riparian woodland, savannah, mopane scrub, climax mopane woodland and grasslands.
Possibly the most amazing thing about the area is the fact that it is part of a wilderness that stretches unfenced for hundreds of thousands of square kilometres through Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, southern Angola and southern Zambia.
Even in a great area with wonderful biodiversity you need a great field guide trainer. The trainer not only helps you to identify the species but also to interpret the behaviour and understand the complex and fascinating interactions between the species and their environment.
AGA has a team of safari guide trainers that are unsurpassed in their qualifications and experience.
Our training camp is situated in a private concession area in the southern Okavango. Major habitat types include savannah, woodland, mopane woodland/scrub, grassland, floodplain and riverine forest. Please note that Kwapa is not in the permanent swamps which makes it a better wildlife area but when water levels are low November-June the Kwapa River may dry up all together. Water levels in the Okavango are impossible to predict from year-to-year.
The area has resident populations of most of Africa’s iconic wildlife but our focus on all our courses is learning and discovering. We do not chase Big 5 but rather delve into the ecological interactions of all our wildlife regardless of the species.
Kwapa Camp has nine 3 x 4 meru-style tents with a short passage to an enlarged en-suite bathroom with bucket shower and short drop toilet. Each tent is furnished with two camp beds, sheets, pillows, duvet and towels. A battery-operated LED light is provided in the tents. There is a wash basin relaxing chairs on the covered verandah.
Accommodation is on a shared basis with the option of a single supplement for single accommodation.
The transfer is included in the course price and takes place on the first day of the course. The African Guide Academy trainer meets all students at the PPCC Indian restaurant across the road from Maun Airport at 14h00. The transfer to camp takes approximately 2-2.5 hours.
For enrichment purposes and the BQA qualification, no prior experience is required for this course. However, for the FGASA qualification, students must have successfully completed the Field Guide NQF2 qualification. It is important to be clear when making your booking what your goal is for attending this course:
Many students attend this course for personal enrichment only. To keep with the integrity of this being a structured course, all students are obliged to write the daily revision tests and a final theory exam. All students will also receive an African Guide Academy certificate for participation on completion of the course.
There are two qualifications available which are similar to one another and students may choose to do either or both the FGASA qualification and the BQA (Botswana Qualification Authority) qualification. There are daily revision tests and a final theory exam for both.
1. FGASA Backup or Lead Trails Guide: This is the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa and is the national guiding qualification used in South Africa. Please note: that in order to qualify for FGASA Trails Guide (Backup or Lead) one must have successfully completed the Field Guide qualification and complete the FGASA Trails Guide pre-course workbooks. The onus is on the student to contact FGASA directly and arrange for registration and the postage of their books to achieve this. It is advisable to do this at your earliest convenience as postage can take a long time. To qualify for the FGASA certificate you must also do the full 28 days of training, but this does not have to be done in one session and can be done over time. You will write your theory exam at Kwapa Camp in the final days of the course. Your practical assessment will be done over the 4 weeks – as you progress, you will be marked competent in the required areas, with your final assessment being conducted in the final days of the course.
2. BQA Backup and Lead Trails Guide: This is the Botswana Training Authority qualification which is the national guiding qualification for Botswana. You will write your theory exam at Kwapa Camp in the last few days of the course. Your practical assessment will be done over 2 or 4 weeks – as you progress, you will be marked competent in the required areas, with your final assessment being conducted in the final days of your course. Please note: that, as an expatriate, in order to be issued with a guide license in Botswana, you will need a valid work and residence permit, show a minimum of 5 years guiding experience outside of Botswana and achieve a BQA Level 3 Nature Guide qualification.
(African residents may enquire for Africa rates)
A 15% single supplement applies.
There is no minimum group size. Maximum group size is 8 (exclusive of the one sponsored local student)
*Please note that the official price for this course is in USD as above. Any other currency price for this tour is merely indicative. The USD price will be converted to your preferred currency using the exchange rate on the date of invoice.
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