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Safari Field Guide Course in South Africa

Spend 23 weeks training in the African bush with an optional 6 months placement

Program Details

Program Type

Internship

Program Focus

Wildlife Conservation

23 weeks from

£7,950.00

Code: ZABF0039N
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Program Information

Become an accredited Field Guide and forward your conservation career when you spend 23 weeks training in the iconic South African lowveld; one of the best wildlife locations in the country. You will gain skills and qualifications applicable to many conservation careers and there’s an optional placement to give you the opportunity to gain experience and secure the best possible start to your career.
Overview
Life on the Internship
Program Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Join us in South Africa’s Lowveld region, one of the world’s best big game territories and train to become a qualified field guide, a knowledgeable conservationist and experience the African bush at its best. This course is the ideal platform for a successful career in the African safari lodge industry and many international wildlife conservation careers or for a hands-on experience in the African bush that you will never forget. So be proactive and broaden your horizons, while gaining diverse qualifications, experience and transferable skills to improve your employability. The Bushwise course can offer all this, whilst you have an adventure of a lifetime.

It is not enough to say you love wildlife and are determined to work in conservation – you need your skills and experience to support this

- Conservation Careers advice.

On the Bushwise course we offer high quality theoretical and practical training, covering a diverse range of topics while being situated in one of the wildlife hot spots in South Africa. The foundation of the course is structured around the FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa) syllabus, which will give you an in depth knowledge and understanding of Southern African Fauna and Flora. This, along with the additional activities, will show potential employers around the world that you have the ability and drive to learn, and importantly transferable skills to take into your conservation career. Bushwise has also added other relevant and exciting activities and qualifications to boost your CV and show employers that you are resourceful and determined about making it in conservation.

The curriculum includes bush skills such a wildlife tracking, shooting competency, 4×4 driving, outdoor first aid, wildlife photography, wildlife surveying techniques and in-depth knowledge and practical application of subjects such as conservation, ecology, reserve management, geology and animal behaviour. The course has been designed to develop applicants into highly skilled professionals in the exciting area of field guiding, conservation, research, adventure tourism or lodge management, by providing a well-rounded, specialised education which focuses not only on the theory but the practical aspects of wildlife conservation and guiding.

Unlike many other training providers, Bushwise focuses on practical skills and gives students a regular exposure to working and guiding around dangerous game, such as Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo and Hippo. This invaluable experience gives students excellent grounding for any of our placements and future employment in ‘Big Five’ game reserves, research and conservation jobs in Africa and beyond.

All the trainers are from The Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and the course is both theoretical and practical. Students who choose to take the 23 week course and not the work placement will still be professionally qualified if they pass their exams.

Testimonials

"I cannot begin to count the ways that completing the Bushwise course has added value to my life.  I came to South Africa with no experience or knowledge of the bush except what I had learned from David Attenborough and other documentaries and books.  Despite this I knew it was something I was passionate about was determined to make the most of my experience.  I now spend every day assisting with the conservation and management of the reserve I work on.

I am now research guiding for Limpopo Eco Operations and devote much of my time to monitoring the rhino population on the reserve which is a direct result of the qualifications I gained on the Bushwise course."

- Liz Spencer, (UK)

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Bushwise

RT @NatureSpyuk: Another great #camertrap news story from @PantheraCats you guys are fab! Lions Making a Comeback in Gabon http://t.co/AXVS…
March 30, 2015

Bushwise

"When you focus on the smaller things, you tend to see everything!" Not a bad birding week at all! http://t.co/dEI3C1Vq6F #Big5 #Birding
March 27, 2015

South Africa Video

GVI Blogs

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Course Life

The academic curriculum is accredited by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA); the ‘South Africa Qualifications Board’; and the ‘Culture Art Tourism Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority ’ and all students are taught by experienced guides and instructors. All additional qualifications are also attained through accredited training providers.

A Typical Day

Typically the day will start early at around 5.30 – 6am. You will usually grab a cup of tea before heading out into the bush for a morning of practical training laden with reference books on the African bush and a pair of good binoculars. Each week you will be focusing on a different module such as birds, mammals, 4 X 4 skills etc.

On your practical sessions in the bush, either a walk or a drive, you will concentrate on these modules and put all the theory you have learnt in the classroom into practice in the field. For example, you might have collected some specimens that morning which you will bring back to the classroom for identification before the afternoon practical or lecture.

After the morning activity you will be welcomed with a hearty brunch. By midday you will be pretty tired and the African heat will certainly make you drowsy so all the students have a break to relax, rest or study – remember you have a test at the end of the week! After a break you will be ready to get some more fresh air and head out for an afternoon practical or lecture session building on your skills and knowledge gained in the morning session. All the teams return for an evening meal sat around the camp fire discussing their experiences that day.

At the end of each week all the students are tested on that weeks module before moving onto the next one. However, learning each topic is continuous as while you are out in the bush nature is all around you so you cannot help but increase your knowledge and skills as the weeks progress.

The course runs for 4 weeks and then you will have 1 week off to relax, either at camp or you are welcome to go off exploring. This might change at certain times but will basically follow this timeline. There is plenty to do here with Kruger National Park on our doorstep, visits to the Blyde River canyon, whitewater rafting, microlighting, horse back safaris – the list is endless! Please note that during time off, students are welcome to stay at the campus but please note that food, laundry, transport etc is NOT included during this time as the Bushwise staff will also be having time off.

The course is fun but be warned this is no holiday – days are long and to reach the standard required to pass you need to be dedicated and focused.

It’s a wonderful experience that can only help you in the future. It will look great on your CV and help you find jobs in the conservation sector in your home country.

- Beth Silvester (UK)

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Course Details

The course is known for producing the highest caliber graduates for this demanding industry. Throughout the years, Bushwise graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers many times and are considered some of THE best trained guides in the industry.

Bushwise students have an opportunity to undertake a 6 month placement. This allows students to gain valuable hands on experience, as well as cementing the information and skills learnt during the training period, and gaining a valuable ‘foot-in-the-door’ to the exhilarating and competitive safari tourism industry and, wildlife and conservation careers.

A few of these placement options are listed below. Please remember, the allocation is based on performance, interest and personality as determined by the head trainer. All students MUST pass both the FGASA and Bushwise course requirements before being placed at any placement.

1. Professional Field Guiding – South Africa

Work and guide in 3* – 5* safari lodges or predator research bases whilst having regular exposure to working and guiding around dangerous game, such as Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah and Hippo.

2. Research and Camp Support Staff – Southern Africa

Become part of a dynamic team of conservationists and wildlife researchers as guide or support staff on conservation and volunteer programmes in Africa. Have an active and meaningful role in the research and long-term conservation of South Africa’s natural resources, whilst working alongside young, energetic and passionate staff and volunteers.

3. Game Reserve Assistant – South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania

A hands on placement assisting reserve wardens or managers in the day to day work of a wildlife conservation area, game reserve or game farm in game reserves in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Get involved in rhino monitoring, fence checks & repairs, reserve staff supervision, animal monitoring, darting and relocation of animals, road repairs and logistical assistance.

4. Wildlife Rehabilitation /Animal Carer – Africa

Spend time at an African wildlife rehabilitation or animal carer organisation, assisting with animal husbandry, the education of visitors and the day-to-day running of the centre.

5. Hospitality Course and Placement – South Africa

Get placed at a luxury game lodge in a prime wildlife destination after completing a two-week Bushwise orientation course, providing you with an introduction to the hospitality industry in South Africa. Get involved in front of house, hosting, food & beverage, house keeping, spa treatments, administration/reservations and day-to-day managerial support.

6. Photography/Videography Marketing Interns – 3 months, South Africa and Botswana

Get involved with filming and photographic opportunities at conservation and hospitality bush locations, supporting social media and marketing initiatives. You could travel across Southern Africa, visiting esteemed game reserves and lodges in countries such as South Africa and Botswana, supplying marketing material and updates as you go.

7. Environmental Education – Southern Africa

Assist wildlife orientated educational institutes, NGO’s or companies with their youth-focused environmental education programmes and outreach initiatives. Get involved in the planning, preparation and running of youth outreach programmes and environmental educational camps.

8. SANParks Internship – South Africa

Gain high-profile environmental education and conservation experience working in the ‘People and Conservation’ department in one of South Africa’s national parks, encouraging and educating visitors on the parks. Work directly with local communities, learn about conservation in National Parks and get involved in adventure opportunities such as game viewing, camping, hiking, bush walks, canoeing and white water rafting.

9. Bushwise Course Assistant – South Africa

Support the Bushwise staff in the day-to-day running of the Bushwise FGASA course and student activities, whilst furthering your own knowledge and experience. Get involved in:Logistics, campus and student supervision and management and game drives.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Life on the Internship

The academic curriculum is accredited by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA); the ‘South Africa Qualifications Board’; and the ‘Culture Art Tourism Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority ’ and all students are taught by experienced guides and instructors. All additional qualifications are also attained through accredited training providers.

A Typical Day

Typically the day will start early at around 5.30 – 6am. You will usually grab a cup of tea before heading out into the bush for a morning of practical training laden with reference books on the African bush and a pair of good binoculars. Each week you will be focusing on a different module such as birds, mammals, 4 X 4 skills etc.

On your practical sessions in the bush, either a walk or a drive, you will concentrate on these modules and put all the theory you have learnt in the classroom into practice in the field. For example, you might have collected some specimens that morning which you will bring back to the classroom for identification before the afternoon practical or lecture.

After the morning activity you will be welcomed with a hearty brunch. By midday you will be pretty tired and the African heat will certainly make you drowsy so all the students have a break to relax, rest or study – remember you have a test at the end of the week! After a break you will be ready to get some more fresh air and head out for an afternoon practical or lecture session building on your skills and knowledge gained in the morning session. All the teams return for an evening meal sat around the camp fire discussing their experiences that day.

At the end of each week all the students are tested on that weeks module before moving onto the next one. However, learning each topic is continuous as while you are out in the bush nature is all around you so you cannot help but increase your knowledge and skills as the weeks progress.

The course runs for 4 weeks and then you will have 1 week off to relax, either at camp or you are welcome to go off exploring. This might change at certain times but will basically follow this timeline. There is plenty to do here with Kruger National Park on our doorstep, visits to the Blyde River canyon, whitewater rafting, microlighting, horse back safaris – the list is endless! Please note that during time off, students are welcome to stay at the campus but please note that food, laundry, transport etc is NOT included during this time as the Bushwise staff will also be having time off.

The course is fun but be warned this is no holiday – days are long and to reach the standard required to pass you need to be dedicated and focused.

It’s a wonderful experience that can only help you in the future. It will look great on your CV and help you find jobs in the conservation sector in your home country.

- Beth Silvester (UK)

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Program Details

The course is known for producing the highest caliber graduates for this demanding industry. Throughout the years, Bushwise graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers many times and are considered some of THE best trained guides in the industry.

Bushwise students have an opportunity to undertake a 6 month placement. This allows students to gain valuable hands on experience, as well as cementing the information and skills learnt during the training period, and gaining a valuable ‘foot-in-the-door’ to the exhilarating and competitive safari tourism industry and, wildlife and conservation careers.

A few of these placement options are listed below. Please remember, the allocation is based on performance, interest and personality as determined by the head trainer. All students MUST pass both the FGASA and Bushwise course requirements before being placed at any placement.

1. Professional Field Guiding – South Africa

Work and guide in 3* – 5* safari lodges or predator research bases whilst having regular exposure to working and guiding around dangerous game, such as Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah and Hippo.

2. Research and Camp Support Staff – Southern Africa

Become part of a dynamic team of conservationists and wildlife researchers as guide or support staff on conservation and volunteer programmes in Africa. Have an active and meaningful role in the research and long-term conservation of South Africa’s natural resources, whilst working alongside young, energetic and passionate staff and volunteers.

3. Game Reserve Assistant – South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania

A hands on placement assisting reserve wardens or managers in the day to day work of a wildlife conservation area, game reserve or game farm in game reserves in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Get involved in rhino monitoring, fence checks & repairs, reserve staff supervision, animal monitoring, darting and relocation of animals, road repairs and logistical assistance.

4. Wildlife Rehabilitation /Animal Carer – Africa

Spend time at an African wildlife rehabilitation or animal carer organisation, assisting with animal husbandry, the education of visitors and the day-to-day running of the centre.

5. Hospitality Course and Placement – South Africa

Get placed at a luxury game lodge in a prime wildlife destination after completing a two-week Bushwise orientation course, providing you with an introduction to the hospitality industry in South Africa. Get involved in front of house, hosting, food & beverage, house keeping, spa treatments, administration/reservations and day-to-day managerial support.

6. Photography/Videography Marketing Interns – 3 months, South Africa and Botswana

Get involved with filming and photographic opportunities at conservation and hospitality bush locations, supporting social media and marketing initiatives. You could travel across Southern Africa, visiting esteemed game reserves and lodges in countries such as South Africa and Botswana, supplying marketing material and updates as you go.

7. Environmental Education – Southern Africa

Assist wildlife orientated educational institutes, NGO’s or companies with their youth-focused environmental education programmes and outreach initiatives. Get involved in the planning, preparation and running of youth outreach programmes and environmental educational camps.

8. SANParks Internship – South Africa

Gain high-profile environmental education and conservation experience working in the ‘People and Conservation’ department in one of South Africa’s national parks, encouraging and educating visitors on the parks. Work directly with local communities, learn about conservation in National Parks and get involved in adventure opportunities such as game viewing, camping, hiking, bush walks, canoeing and white water rafting.

9. Bushwise Course Assistant – South Africa

Support the Bushwise staff in the day-to-day running of the Bushwise FGASA course and student activities, whilst furthering your own knowledge and experience. Get involved in:Logistics, campus and student supervision and management and game drives.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Project Life

The academic curriculum is accredited by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA); the ‘South Africa Qualifications Board’; and the ‘Culture Art Tourism Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority ’ and all students are taught by experienced guides and instructors. All additional qualifications are also attained through accredited training providers.

A Typical Day

Typically the day will start early at around 5.30 – 6am. You will usually grab a cup of tea before heading out into the bush for a morning of practical training laden with reference books on the African bush and a pair of good binoculars. Each week you will be focusing on a different module such as birds, mammals, 4 X 4 skills etc.

On your practical sessions in the bush, either a walk or a drive, you will concentrate on these modules and put all the theory you have learnt in the classroom into practice in the field. For example, you might have collected some specimens that morning which you will bring back to the classroom for identification before the afternoon practical or lecture.

After the morning activity you will be welcomed with a hearty brunch. By midday you will be pretty tired and the African heat will certainly make you drowsy so all the students have a break to relax, rest or study – remember you have a test at the end of the week! After a break you will be ready to get some more fresh air and head out for an afternoon practical or lecture session building on your skills and knowledge gained in the morning session. All the teams return for an evening meal sat around the camp fire discussing their experiences that day.

At the end of each week all the students are tested on that weeks module before moving onto the next one. However, learning each topic is continuous as while you are out in the bush nature is all around you so you cannot help but increase your knowledge and skills as the weeks progress.

The course runs for 4 weeks and then you will have 1 week off to relax, either at camp or you are welcome to go off exploring. This might change at certain times but will basically follow this timeline. There is plenty to do here with Kruger National Park on our doorstep, visits to the Blyde River canyon, whitewater rafting, microlighting, horse back safaris – the list is endless! Please note that during time off, students are welcome to stay at the campus but please note that food, laundry, transport etc is NOT included during this time as the Bushwise staff will also be having time off.

The course is fun but be warned this is no holiday – days are long and to reach the standard required to pass you need to be dedicated and focused.

It’s a wonderful experience that can only help you in the future. It will look great on your CV and help you find jobs in the conservation sector in your home country.

- Beth Silvester (UK)

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Project Details

The course is known for producing the highest caliber graduates for this demanding industry. Throughout the years, Bushwise graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers many times and are considered some of THE best trained guides in the industry.

Bushwise students have an opportunity to undertake a 6 month placement. This allows students to gain valuable hands on experience, as well as cementing the information and skills learnt during the training period, and gaining a valuable ‘foot-in-the-door’ to the exhilarating and competitive safari tourism industry and, wildlife and conservation careers.

A few of these placement options are listed below. Please remember, the allocation is based on performance, interest and personality as determined by the head trainer. All students MUST pass both the FGASA and Bushwise course requirements before being placed at any placement.

1. Professional Field Guiding – South Africa

Work and guide in 3* – 5* safari lodges or predator research bases whilst having regular exposure to working and guiding around dangerous game, such as Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah and Hippo.

2. Research and Camp Support Staff – Southern Africa

Become part of a dynamic team of conservationists and wildlife researchers as guide or support staff on conservation and volunteer programmes in Africa. Have an active and meaningful role in the research and long-term conservation of South Africa’s natural resources, whilst working alongside young, energetic and passionate staff and volunteers.

3. Game Reserve Assistant – South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania

A hands on placement assisting reserve wardens or managers in the day to day work of a wildlife conservation area, game reserve or game farm in game reserves in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Get involved in rhino monitoring, fence checks & repairs, reserve staff supervision, animal monitoring, darting and relocation of animals, road repairs and logistical assistance.

4. Wildlife Rehabilitation /Animal Carer – Africa

Spend time at an African wildlife rehabilitation or animal carer organisation, assisting with animal husbandry, the education of visitors and the day-to-day running of the centre.

5. Hospitality Course and Placement – South Africa

Get placed at a luxury game lodge in a prime wildlife destination after completing a two-week Bushwise orientation course, providing you with an introduction to the hospitality industry in South Africa. Get involved in front of house, hosting, food & beverage, house keeping, spa treatments, administration/reservations and day-to-day managerial support.

6. Photography/Videography Marketing Interns – 3 months, South Africa and Botswana

Get involved with filming and photographic opportunities at conservation and hospitality bush locations, supporting social media and marketing initiatives. You could travel across Southern Africa, visiting esteemed game reserves and lodges in countries such as South Africa and Botswana, supplying marketing material and updates as you go.

7. Environmental Education – Southern Africa

Assist wildlife orientated educational institutes, NGO’s or companies with their youth-focused environmental education programmes and outreach initiatives. Get involved in the planning, preparation and running of youth outreach programmes and environmental educational camps.

8. SANParks Internship – South Africa

Gain high-profile environmental education and conservation experience working in the ‘People and Conservation’ department in one of South Africa’s national parks, encouraging and educating visitors on the parks. Work directly with local communities, learn about conservation in National Parks and get involved in adventure opportunities such as game viewing, camping, hiking, bush walks, canoeing and white water rafting.

9. Bushwise Course Assistant – South Africa

Support the Bushwise staff in the day-to-day running of the Bushwise FGASA course and student activities, whilst furthering your own knowledge and experience. Get involved in:Logistics, campus and student supervision and management and game drives.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Free Time

Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free time (although it’s recommended that students use this time for personal study and preparation for the upcoming lectures). However after every 4th week students get a full week off and are encouraged to leave campus, travel and explore the local area.

Some highlights to be enjoyed:

  • Blyde River Canyon – boat trips, kloofing, whitewater rafting, paintball, hot air ballooning and camping to name just but a few!
  • Kruger National Park – Orpen and Phalabourwa Gates are 1.3 hours drive from the Bushwise campus. Daytrips/overnight camping available.
  • Moholoholo Rehab Centre – endangered species rehabilitation
  • Panorama Route – Bourke’s Luck potholes, God’s Window and waterfalls are just some of what you can see, easily completed in a day
  • Giant Baobab/Upside Down Restaurant – get up close with huge baobab trees, and don’t forget to try the great pancakes!
  • Debengeni Falls, Tzaneen – stunning waterfall, picnic area and hiking trails

Car Hire:

If you plan a trip away in your weeks off you may need to hire a car as public transport is almost non-existent in this area. The estimate cost for hiring a car is R450 per day, including insurance and unlimited mileage, cost could vary according to car size and different options. The more friends you take with you the cheaper it makes it too.

Many students also travel further afield to places such as Mozambique (Tofo area), Cape town, Durban and St Lucia World Heritage Sight during their off weeks.

Bushwise definitely gave me the “edge” over other applicants for the job.

- Viv Eckersley (Australia)

The Team

Miche Knight
Country Expert

Meet Miche, our SA Wildlife Country Expert, intrepid adventureress and a Little Mermaid geek!

When asking Miche where she’s travelled to, a shorter answer would be to ask where hasn’t she been! From Singapore, Paris, Munich, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Thailand to name a few, our Miche is most certainly well travelled! She even had a brush with a horror movie franchise, when she was staying in Thailand and was awoken by a bird mimicking the sounds of The Grudge!

What’s Miche’s favourite part about working at HQ?
Definitely not having to wear the ye ol’ corporate uniform and getting to spend her lunch breaks “in the most amazing chill out zone.”

Peter Bradford
Country Director

Meet Pete, our Country Director for South Africa. He’s been with GVI since 2004, when he joined us as a Field Manager.

Pete’s highlights since working for GVI? “Witnessing birth, life, drama and death in the South African bush, and over time, really getting a sense of the inter-connectedness and cyclical nature of it all. The biggest privilege though, has been sharing it with our volunteers, guiding them in their early forays into this vibrant, exciting ecosystem and seeing their growth over time on the program is truly wonderful to witness.”

What does Pete think volunteers bring to the project? “Have you ever driven a game viewer off-road, at night, while using a telemetry receiver, spotlight and GPS, all while talking on the radio and trying to scribble down some data?! The volunteers are a great help in many different ways. Some, when they first arrive, believe they have no relevant skills to bring to the team, then later discover that seemingly obscure talents can make a difference too.”

Select a Duration

Select a Departure Date

2015
2016

Select Add-ons

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Bushwise Work Placement

Placements range from GBP 1995 to GBP 2550 and can range in duration between 3 and 6 months.
?

Charitable Trust Climate Offset Contribution

Donate money to GVI’s Chartiable Trust Carbon Offsetting initiative and help reduce the impact of climate change and help communities who are most affected.
£0.00

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
  • FGASA Level 2 knowledge
  • SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
  • CATHSSETA(The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
  • National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
  • Cybertracker track & sign qualification
  • National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification
  • Wildlife photography workshop
  • Bushwise birding specialist course
  • Reptile orientation course
  • Wildlife surveying techniques skills
  • Dangerous game experience
  • 6 months work experience from placement venue
  • Ethical guiding principles
  • Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
  • 2 x sets of uniforms
  • All compulsory books (if included)
  • Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport (if included)
  • Limited internet access at no extra cost
  • Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Professional drivers permit & licensing costs, including transportation

Our Impact

Location

Bushwise Limpopo

Bushwise operations are situated in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, approximately 500km north east of Johannesburg and just 1 hour’s drive from the western gates of Kruger National Park. With the towering Drakensburg escapment to the west, this stunning area of South Africa’s lowveld offers breathtaking views, diverse landscapes and some of the best Big 5 game-viewing opportunities in Southern Africa. Practical training takes place on the stunning Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve and our field guide and hospitality placement opportunities are located in some of the finest luxury safari lodges and game reserves of Southern Africa.

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