There are a few different options on how to get your qualification and where to do your training, however this is a simple list of what is needed to become a Field Guide.
We prefer to use the FGASA syllabus and requirements.
You would firstly need to get your FGASA Field Guide theory exam and pass. You can do this online direct with FGASA or do though a training provider. There are various training providers offering courses from 55 days to 3 years depending on what they offer aswell as your ‘Level 1’. All exams are done in English so you would need to be able to read and write in English.
Getting the practical side done
A Field Guide is responsible for taking paying guests on Game Drives. Basically, you need to be able to drive, so having a drivers license is key. The second component of your FGASA is to then be declared competent with practical skills. You need to be assessed and moderated by a qualified assessor. In simple terms, can you drive a game viewer, with your guests while explaining and educating them on their surroundings.
Safety, safety, safety!
All Field guides need to have their First Aid certificate. This needs to be a valid (current) recognised First Aid certificate.
PrDP – Professional Driving permit
If a Field Guide is going to be transporting passengers (guests/visitors) in motor-vehicle s/he must be in possession of a valid PrDp. The PrDp is valid for two years and thus needs to be obtained. According to the law, in order to attain a PrDp a guide has to be 21 years of age. If a learner qualifies and registers with National Department of Tourism and s/he is under the age of 21, the guided experiences conducted by such a guide can only be by means of walking, bicycle, canoe, horse, and any other means other than driving a motor-vehicle of any kind with people. It is important that learners who are striving to be guides are aware that they cannot conduct guided experiences while driving a motor-vehicle until they have turned 21 years of age and then attain a PrDp licence.
Once an assessment is received and the member is declared competent, their achievements are then loaded on to the CATHSSETA database. If the member has submitted all the correct documentation (CATHSSETA/FGASA application form and certified ID) it will be sent to CATHSSETA so that they may issue a certificate. FGASA does not issue CATHSSETA certificates. Those that chose to do their training through a training provider usually assists with this. CATHSSETA only print certificates 4 times a year – If achievements are loaded after a particular quarterly cut-off date it can take another 4 months for CATHSSETA to issue a certificate number.
Registering with NDT
Provincial Registrars are appointed in each of the nine provinces to register tourist guides. In order to be registered as a tourist guide in South Africa, a person must meet the following minimum requirements:
- be a South African citizen or be in possession of a valid work permit;
- must have undergone training with a CATHSSETA-accredited training provider or any other accredited institution which offers programmes recognized by SAQA;
- be in possession of a valid first aid certificate from institution recognized by Department of Labour;
- pay a registrationn fee of R240 (Renewable every 3 years)
- submit 4 passport-size photos;
- must submit a completed and signed registration form and the code of conduct and ethics upon registration
It is important that all FGASA endorsed training providers make sure that any prospective learner (potential course attendee) is fully aware of the legal requirements pertaining to transporting people in a motor-vehicle for guiding purposes and that their age (if under 21) could prohibit them from employment if the job requirements include conducting guided experiences that involve driving a motor-vehicle.
Below are some very helpful links on the topic