This 28-day course is a stepping stone in the process of attaining your FGASA Trails Guide status, but it also comes highly recommended if you are looking to upskill and self-improve. It has been carefully designed for those who want to specialise in leading walking trails, as opposed to vehicle-bound safari activities.
It will require you to clock 80 hours on foot and walking activities with at least ten encounters with dangerous game which includes; a buffalo or elephant bull, an elephant or buffalo herd, lion, leopard, hippopotamus and black or white rhino.
This Trails Guide Course is considered an apprenticeship, this experience will fine-tune your environmental knowledge and situational awareness but to enrol, you will need to have your FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF 2) certificate before enrolment.
If you do not yet have this, see 55 Day Field Guide Course
This experience will also open the door to acquiring your FGASA Lead Trails Guide qualification, should that be where you want to achieve in your career in guiding. FGASA is the only way to go, being an accredited provider with CATHSSETA, continuing to maintain the highest standards within the guiding industry.
Upon your successful completion of the course, you could graduate with an FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide Status and an EcoTraining Apprentice Trails Guide Certificate. Ready to get started?
Time on this course is split between at least two remote wilderness camps, maximizing exposure to different areas, wildlife, biomes and biodiversity. The designated camps will depend on the time of year:
The sleeping arrangements at all the 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.
When registering for this course, you will automatically be registered students with FGASA and CATHSSETA. In order to gain your Field Guide Certificate and FGASA Field Guide / NQF 2 qualification, you will need to successfully complete a theoretical and practical assessment during the course. These will be conducted by accredited instructors at the camps.
A typical daily programme at the camp follows a routine of rising early, usually before sunrise, enjoying hot coffee and biscuits while you listen to the bush waking up and then leaving the camp for an outing into the wilderness.
The outings are extremely flexible and determined by the unpredictability of what is found during the outing in combination with the subjects that have to be covered. The outing could be a game drive following up on the roar of a Lion heard during the night or a walk learning about the plant species occurring in the area. It could be a walk following fresh elephant tracks, learning how to track the animal and finding it or it could be a game drive to a waterhole where animals come to drink.
Students return to camp in the late morning for a hearty brunch which is followed by a lecture on the subject of the day. Study and rest time is then followed by afternoon tea and another outing into the wilderness until sunset, if walking, or until well after dark if doing a game drive.
Afternoon outings could include night drives looking for nocturnal animals such as owls, bushbabies and leopards or it could be a walk looking for and learning how to identify interesting birds. It could be time spent studying the night skies or it could be a time for students to test their 4x4 driving skills.
It is then back to the camp for dinner, stories around the campfire, discussing the day's experiences and wondering about tomorrow's adventures. The emphasis is on practical day-to-day experiences in the bush. The daily outings are flexible and may focus on specific subjects such as animal tracks and tracking, birds, plant identification or animal behavior, or may involve game viewing and learning about the ecosystem in general.