South Africa Professional Field Guide – 1 year

If you love the idea of taking safari lodge guests from all over the world out on walking and game drive safaris and teaching them fascinating facts about the abundant wildlife and diverse environment surrounding them, then our one-year Professional Field Guide course is for you.

What Next?

If you have made up your mind your application starts here

Interested in volunteering, but have a question then please contact us

For the first half of the course you will become familiar with diverse ecosystems, landscapes and wildlife at four wilderness camps in big game areas: Makuleke (northern Kruger National Park), Karongwe Game Reserve, Selati Game Reserve, Pridelands and Mashatu Game Reserve (Botswana).


  • Gain in-depth knowledge about nature, ecology and wildlife
  • Experience not one but four big game wilderness camps
  • Graduate with the qualifications you need for an inspirational career in the field
  • Thrilling elements of the course includes fly camping under the stars, shooting skills, wildlife tracking, bush survival skills, night drives and evening camp fires
  • This unique course is provided by a UK registered and bonded company, providing financial protection and giving you total peace of mind

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.

Endorsed by FGASA and accredited by CATHSSETA, there is no other course that offers this breadth of wildlife immersion and knowledge.


Our Director at Naturally Africa Volunteers has considerable experience as a Field Guide, starting with the Apprentice Field Guide training and qualification and continuing on to complete advanced trails guide training and qualifications. It is this passion that has enabled us to partner with one of Africa’s best guide and wildlife training providers to offer some of the best field guide courses and wildlife experiences available.

Project Details

Subjects include:

  • Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
  • Basic bush skills and survival skills
  • Geology
  • Basic ecology
  • Basic taxonomy
  • Mammals, reptiles, fish and birds
  • Animal behaviour
  • Tracks and tracking
  • Approaching dangerous game animals
  • Night drives


A real advantage of this exciting course is the diversity of the locations in which you will learn. The course is held in four different locations across South Africa and Botswana giving you experience of a real range of environments, terrains and wildlife. The four camps in which you will learn and be accommodated are all based in big game areas.

Makuleke – Northern Kruger National Park, South Africa
Home of the Makuleke people, this area is certainly the most diverse and remote area of Kruger National Park and offers fantastic wildlife viewing and the best birding in all of the park.

Pridelands Conservancy, South Africa
Situated in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, Pridelands Conservancy, a former hunting farm, presents a magnificent example of intact vegetation of Combretum woodland. A variety of wildlife from members of the big five to wild dogs and hyenas have been seen here.

Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Karongwe Camp, on the banks of the Karongwe River, is located to the south-west of the Kruger National Park. Bushveld along with grass savannah, riverine vegetation and rocky outcrops give the area a diverse terrain.

Selati Game Reserve, South Africa
Situated on the banks of the Selati River, the large Selati Game Reserve lies to the west of the Kruger National Park. The diverse habitat is well-suited to the large elephant and giraffe population found there. There is a lot of space to conduct walks and get a true sense of the vast wilderness.

Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
In the easternmost corner of Botswana, the Mashatu Game Reserve is part of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Located where the Limpopo and the Shashe Rivers meet, Mashatu is an area of outstanding natural beauty, diverse vegetation and abundant wildlife.

A real advantage of this exciting course is the diversity of the locations in which you will learn. The course is held in four different locations across South Africa and Botswana giving you experience of a real range of environments, terrains and wildlife. The four camps in which you will learn and be accommodated are all based in big game areas.

Sarah Milligan, June 2014

The instructors were excellent! Never had better teachers who are genuinely passionate about what they are teaching. We always received good feedback and suggestions and endless patience. The variety was perfect. I wish the course was longer. I never want to leave! The course was amazing and honestly changed my life (thanks to the instructors). I’ll be back.

Ryder Rollinson, Justin Tobias’s father, May 2015

Hi there. A HUGE thank you for having Justin on your FGASA 1 course, he loved every minute and has come back a different person to the child we sent you. The guides were excellent, the food fantastic etc etc………thanks, thanks, thanks…..we are so proud of him.

Dan, Feb 2015

I completed the FGASA Level 1 course at Nakavango camp last week. Had a fantastic time and learned a great deal. Mark is an absolutely fantastic teacher. Incredible knowledge and very fluent way of teaching. Couldn’t have had a better person there for us. This course has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities and knowledge to continue exploring.

Kerri du Preez, Feb 2015

FGASA was a life changing experience for me, learning about the bush in the best way possible with the best person possible, bonding with your group and by the end of the course almost being like siblings. Some of the best memories I will never forget – laughs, tears, sunsets, dung wars and many many more.

4 January – 17 December 2020
1 February – 23 December 2020
1 August 2020 – 18 July 2021
1 September 2020 – 15 August 2021
1 October 2020 – 19 September 2021

During this one year course you will study and be accommodated at four different unfenced tented bush camps. The accommodation will be simple but comfortable offering you total immersion in the wild (animals do move through from time to time!).

Makuleke Concession, Kruger National Park, South Africa
The camp consists of nine comfortable thatched, tented rooms, with two students accommodated in each. The camps are raised on wooden decks and shaded by the large nyala trees. Rooms all have an en-suite bathroom with a toilet, shower and hot running water.

Pridelands Conservancy – South Africa
The camp consists of Dome tents (students share tents). There are also shared ablution facilities with
bucket showers and a central communal area.

Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Accommodation at this camp consists of 10 walk-in Meru tents, with twin beds. There is shared bathroom facilities and a central communal area.

Selati Game Reserve, South Africa
Ten simple shared dome tents, each with mattresses and pillows. Shared bathroom facilities are available and there is a communal area overlooking the Selati River.

Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
The camp consists of 10 simple dome tents, each with two mattresses with pillows (two learners per tent). There are shared bathroom facilities, and a central communal area overlooking the river bed.

Please bring along a sleeping bag and any additional blankets and pillows should you require them as they are not always provided at the camps. There are no mosquito nets available at Selati Game Reserve, so bring one with you if you wish to use one.

To embark on the course, you need to be over 18 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license and be able-bodied (i.e. be able to walk at least 2km).

Want to join this programme, but still have some questions?