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Professional Safari Field Guide in South Africa

Professional Safari Field Guide in South Africa
Spend six months or a year training in the African bush with an optional six months working on a game reserve

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Operator rating 9.6/10 from 8 trip reviews
Trip ID:
GBP £8,950 per person
US Dollar USD $13,538 per person estimated
Volunteer Project
161 days
This Volunteer Project cannot be customised
South Africa
Game Drives
Game Viewing
Walking Safaris
Wildlife Viewing
Conservation Project
Volunteer Project
Professional Safari Field Guide in South Africa
Experiencing a unique African bush training experience living in a 4/5 star African lodge for 6 months in the heart of a spectacular game reserve; learning to track animals through the bush; getting acquainted with big game and all the main predators, including lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and rhino; living and working alongside FGASA qualified South African Guides getting constant learning and inspiration; having the chance to sleep out in the bush under the spectacular African stars and wake up to a beautiful sunrise.

The courses are run from two campuses in the Limpopo province, in the north-eastern region of South Africa. Both are located in areas famous for their big game and dramatic scenery of beautiful African bush, and have the mysterious Drakensberg Mountains as a stunning backdrop. Students spend 23 weeks having practical and academic training on campus, and then spend the final 23 weeks doing work experience at one of a number of lodges located in the Lowveld of South Africa.

Field Conditions
The two campuses are located in the Lowveld, approx 500km northeast of Johannesburg. The areas that the course traverses for practical training are areas of true big game territories, to show you the African bush at its best. The reserves are home to predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs, as well as beautiful elephants, rhinos and hippos.

Accommodation at either campus is comfortable, in an idyllic bush setting. The rooms are shared and students have access to all basic facilities, a social area and swimming pool and lecture facilities. All meals are provided during course times and there are laundry facilities available. Uniforms and linen are washed and ironed for you weekly. The campus also has electricity.

Project Life
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 of 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.

At the end of each week all the students are tested on that weeks module before moving onto the next one. However, learning of 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.

Bushwise follows the curriculum of FGASA and we use the manuals as a reference tool as you will be taught by experienced guides and instructors.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years to participate on six-month duration, between 21 and 39 years for 1 year course. Volunteers also must hold a manual drivers license valid for 1 year from the start of the course.

What's Included
Pre-departure support and discounted services
24-hour emergency phone
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
Arrival orientation
Long term experienced staff
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
Welcome meeting
Location orientation
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support
Transfer from Oliver Tambo International airport
Limited internet access at no extra cost
All compulsory books
2 x sets of uniforms
Other activities, such as sleep outs, Kruger trips, etc.
Bushwise T-shirt, fleece jacket, cap and beanie
FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate - Level 1 - practical and theory
FGASA Advanced Rifle Handling Certificate
SASSETA (Rifle handling, proficiency, maintaining of fire arms and shooting)
THETA (The Hospitality, Sports, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
National First Aid Certificate
Dangerous game experience
4x4 competency
Ethical guiding principles
6 months work experience and testimonial from a 4-5 star lodge or a research program if included

What's Not Included
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Personal kit
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
International and domestic airport taxes
Professional drivers permit
Transport costs to placement
Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
Recommended reference books

Operator Reviews (8) about our reviews

Alan Feigenbaum - from United States
rating 9/10
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Karangwe. The staff are great, very dedicated young people .I am beyond 80 years of age, so I may have been out of place with all those 20 somethings. There were 8 others there, 5 of whom were there for the 6 month internship, 2 were there for the 3 month internship, and 1 was there for 2 weeks. I don't think I was aware or understood what the program was all about. Nevertheless, I learned a lot and enjoyed my stay.

I was told that i may have been the first 2 week "tourist" there and that including short term tourists is an experiment. Unfortunately, i am not your typical tourist. Most of my trips are of the adventure type, such as my trip to Karangwe. I am used to and expect relatively primitive conditions, although I have experienced and enjoyed far more primitive conditions than there were at Karangwe. However, I feel most senior citizen tourists prefer much better accommodations than Karangwe has to offer.

Our first week the staff did all the domestic duties. The second week the 9 of us took turns doing the chores. One of the days is called base duty. We all had our day on base duty, which entailed total house cleaning and preparing lunch and dinner, amongst other duties. The person on base duty gives up their day in the bush chasing animals. I was thinking on my base duty day that I really did not pay to come to africa to scrub toilets and mop floors. nevertheless, that is what I did and I do not complain. h

However, in my feedback to them I pointed out that tourists do not go on vacation to do housework. I explained to him that my 14 days there were as follows: first and last day were travel days. The first full day there was orientation. One day was town day so we could all go to town to shop, do laundry, get money, etc. One day it rained so hard we could not go out into the bush, and of course there was base duty day. I wound up with only 8 days out of 14 helping chase down wildlife. I believe he understood.

If the plan is to mix tourism with internship then I think they have to go back to the drawing board. In general I would rate it 7.5 to 8 because of the lack of amenities for tourists, the requirement for tourists to do daily chores, the lack of air-conditioning, and the dormitory style living.

For myself i would rate it a 9. I can't give it a ten because i only had 8 days out of 14 in the field, and the lack of air-conditioning in the dorm made sleeping very difficult.

Would i do this kind of trip again? In all probability i would, but as i said, I am not your typical senior citizen tourist.
Liz Toscano - from Australia
currently unavailable
rating 10/10
I found this through The Africa Guide website after filtering through many options and I'm supremely glad I did.

It was an experience like no other. It gave me the opportunity to experience a wonderful little village as only a local would and take part in volunteer work with a legitimate and extremely important long term goal.

Our interactions with the locals were so educational and inspiring and getting that chance to work out in the elements spotting wildlife and completing forest surveys was challenging and completely wonderful.

If you're the kind of person that can weather trivial things like cold showers, long walks and a bit of dirt in order to have an authentic African experience then this is perfect. I'm already looking into the next trip.

10/10; Absolutely the best time!
Kaye Greenhalgh - from Australia
rating 10/10
We had a very positive experience in Africa and would love to go back at some stage.
view all (8) operator reviews
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