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Program Code: ZABF0765U

Course Information

Next start date

19 September 2022

Enrollment closes

14 September 2022

Course frequency

Select Start Dates Only



Time Commitment




Optional Extra

GVI Program Abroad


£100 scholarships available. Book by 30 June*

Flexible Payment

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Join the African Nature and Wildlife online course. The course is run by Bushwise, GVI’s sister company and the top-rated training provider of Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) certifications. More than 90% of those who graduate from a Bushwise professional field guiding program, get a job.

However, unlike other FGASA courses of its kind, this course features a social, multimedia online learning experience led by experts with over 50 years of experience in the field. Each module is taught by one of our experienced professional field guides and qualified trainers. You’ll have the option to ask experts questions and discuss topics with other participants from around the world. In addition, the course includes a masterclass lecture series delivered by directors of conservation organisations, leading researchers and other experts that are designed to give you in-depth local insight into a diverse range of topics in African nature and wildlife conservation.

If you’d like to continue your journey towards becoming a field guide, join our FGASA Field Guiding online course, after successfully completing the African Nature and Wildlife course. You’ll then be able to write your Apprentice Field Guide theory exam, towards an NQF2 qualification. This will enable you to enrol for the practical element to qualify as an Apprentice NQF2 Field Guide (Level 1).

Skills you’ll acquire

After completing this course you’ll be able to:

  • identify different African species and ecosystems
  • identify, read and understand African animal tracks
  • identify different types of African animal behaviour
  • identify African bird species by song and appearance.

Is this course for you?

The African Nature and Wildlife online courses is for anyone who’s interested in Southern African nature or wildlife and would like to become an expert on the subject. Anyone ages 16 and above is welcome to join for this online course.

Course Curriculum

The course begins with an introduction to Southern African geology. You’ll learn how different types of rock and soil found in Southern Africa support specific plants and animals. Move on to learning about how the Southern Africa climate and weather patterns are shaped by a range of factors. Then, find out how to identify key features of the Southern African sky and how they change from season to season, in the astronomy module.

Move on to learning about ecology, finding out how biological and non-biological organisations interact to shape Southern African ecosystems. Then discover the definition of a biome, a community of organisms adapted to a specific environment and sharing similar characteristics. Learn how to identify the biomes that can be found in Southern Africa.

Then you’ll start learning about specific species. To get you started, you’ll first learn how species are named in the scientific community, in the taxonomy module. Afterwards, study botany basics. Learn how to identify Southern African plant species and their traditional uses. Find out how to identify arthropods next. These creatures include insects, arachnids, such as spiders, myriapods, such as millipedes and centipedes, and crustaceans, such as crabs. Finally complete modules on how to identify fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals commonly found throughout Southern Africa. Finish off your study of the Southern African animal kingdom with a module on ethology, the study of animal behaviour.

In the final two modules, you’ll learn how conservation activities in Southern Africa are managed and about the history of human habitation in the Southern African areas.

Throughout the course, you’ll have the opportunities to attend masterclasses on a range of more in-depth topics such as elephant, pangolin, snake, vulture conservation and research, anti-poaching initiatives, trailing animals on safari walks, bird photography, African folklore and relevant operational strategies used in the management of nature and wildlife reserves.
Module 1: Geology
Module 2: Weather and climate
Module 3: Astronomy
Module 4: Ecology
Module 5: Biomes
Module 6: Taxonomy
Module 7: Plants
Module 8: Arthropods
Module 9: Fish
Module 10: Amphibians
Module 11: Reptiles
Module 12: Birds
Module 13: Mammals
Module 14: Ethology
Module 15: Conservation management
Module 16: Historical human habitation

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

This course includes material related to these Goals

Earn a certificate

Once you’ve successfully completed your course, you’ll receive a digital certificate of completion from Bushwise. The certificate will state that you have passed the African Nature and Wildlife online course. This certificate will enable you to take your next step in becoming a field guide – the Bushwise FGASA Field Guiding online course.

Your course experts

Trevor Myburgh

General Manager & Trainer
Trevor is a trainer at the Mahlahla campus and has been in the lodge and guiding industry for seven years. He has held various positions including lodge management, leopard research, capture and relocation, wildlife rehabilitation, overland guiding and guiding in Big 5 reserves in various parts of South Africa.

Vaughan Jessnitz

Senior Trainer
Vaughan has been part of the tourism industry for the last 10 years, guiding and managing camps throughout South Africa, specifically in the Greater Kruger National Park. Throughout his career, he has been involved in various conservation and research projects specialising in entomology and biodiversity mapping throughout South Africa. He has been working at Bushwise for the last four years.

Edward Smith

Edward is currently the youngest trainer at Bushwise and has been part of the Conservation and Tourism industry since he left school back in 2010. At the age of 19, he qualified as both a field and marine guide but decided to kickstart his field guiding career by taking an opportunity at one of South Africa’s oldest private game reserves, Bonamanzi Private Game Reserve in Hluhluwe, KZN.

Jack Hutchinson

Jack was a Bushwise student back in 2009. He has been guiding for the last 11 years in 5-star lodges such as Imbali Safari lodge, Lion Sands and Thornybush in South Africa. He has been working at Bushwise since January 2020. He is currently training to become a FGASA assessor and mentor for trail guides.

Lindi Hutchinson

Lindi finished her apprentice trails guide training in 2011. In November 2013, she started her guiding career at Entabeni Game Reserve in the Waterberg, South Africa. She has worked in numerous different reserves and biomes and is now a professional field guide with FGASA Level 3 and Full Trails qualifications. She has been working at Bushwise since January 2020.

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