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    FGASA Field Guiding Online Course

    An extensive FGASA accredited field guiding online course to give you the best foundations to start your field guiding career.

    Bushwise Field Guides students are educated and trained to become field guides of the highest standard in the safari industry. Our top-rated courses pair the practical skills you require with a comprehensive foundation of theoretical knowledge. With this system, our graduates are able to create the best guided experiences. 

    We have developed an all-encompassing online field guiding course to accelerate your knowledge beyond the minimum requirements of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), and to give you a well-rounded foundation. 

    Bushwise’s FGASA Field Guiding online course is aligned with the official FGASA syllabus and offers an additional 20 hours of learning for further qualifications. The FGASA Field Guiding online course combines the Nature Enthusiast and Introduction to Field Guiding course. 

    Professional field guides are required to have a FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2) qualification with a total of 400 hours – 60% practical work, 20% theoretical work and 20% self-study. Our online course covers 100 of these hours.  With this head start, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional in the field guiding industry. 

    Then, step into the heart of the African bushveld and take your field guiding career even further by completing the rest of your hours with Bushwise’s FGASA Professional Field Guide Course that’s offered at our campus on the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve. 

    To give you the most out of your online learning experience, the Bushwise online course includes guided learning, self-assessments, video lectures, live webinars and formal assignments. 

    Your course will include 24 live sessions in 10 weeks. These sessions include lectures from industry leaders in conservation and field guiding, who will give you expert insight into real-life situations you might encounter. You’ll also learn about the types of challenges that exist in the industry and get insider knowledge on how these situations are addressed.

    Our online learning platform also allows you to work and interact with like-minded students from all over the world. You can create conference rooms where you can meet international participants, participate in video study groups, or create a social space outside of the curriculum and make lifelong international friendships. 

    Feeling ready to start your professional field guiding career?

    Course details

    Duration: 10 weeks (excluding orientation)
    Effort: 10 hours per week
    Learning style: Self-paced, guided learning
    Age: 18 and over
    Language: English

    What you’ll learn

    On completion of this course, you’ll be able to:

    • create a guided experience for guests on safari
    • ensure the health and safety of your guests when on a guided experience
    • identify, understand and explain animal behaviour
    • identify different African species and ecosystems 
    • identify and interpret African animal tracks
    • identify African bird species by song and appearance
    • lead and engage large groups of diverse people from around the world
    • understand the recommended ethical guiding practices and carry out an ethical guided experience in the natural environment
    • understand the role and responsibilities of a professional field guide.


    Course details

    This FGASA Field Guiding online course is a combination of both our online courses. Download the full course syllabus for Nature Enthusiast and Introduction to Field Guiding. 

    You’ll cover the following modules in this course:

    • Amphibians
    • Arthropods
    • Astronomy
    • Biomes
    • Birds
    • Conducting a guided experience
    • Conservation management
    • Ecology
    • Ethology
    • Fish
    • Geology
    • Historial human habitation
    • Introduction to the skills of guiding
    • Mammals
    • Plants – trees and grasses
    • Radio procedures
    • Reptiles
    • Rifles and advanced rifle handling
    • Taxonomy
    • Viewing potentially dangerous animals
    • Weather and climate

    Course structure

    To be the best in the industry, a field guide should have well-rounded knowledge of every aspect involved in creating a guided experience. That’s why Bushwise’s online course goes beyond FGASA theoretical requirements. 

    We’ve added extra modules to our syllabus to lay solid theoretical foundations for you to obtain further qualifications, and our added expert-led masterclasses that are based on real-life scenarios will boost your practical foundations too. 

    Our online course runs for 10 weeks and students will usually spend 10 hours a week completing the required learning material. Each week is made up of the following elements to give you the ultimate online learning experience: 

    • Readings: Recommended readings are provided so you can delve deeper into each topic. 
    • Video lectures: Our trainers have compiled in-depth lecture presentations to help you work through each module. 
    • Self-assessment: Each module begins with a short quiz to test your knowledge.
    • Assignments: Each module has an assignment based on the FGASA workbook manual. The assignments will also be discussed in the weekly webinars. 
    • Discussions: Bushwise encourages discussions on the student forums. Share your thoughts, receive answers to your questions and get to know your classmates.
    • Live webinars: Live webinars are held weekly to discuss the module and assignment covered in the week. 
    • Optional resources: Your official FGASA workbook, to be completed if you are doing the practical add-on.
    • Student support: A dedicated student support manager will be on hand to answer any technical or administrative support questions within 48 hours.

    What’s included


    • The Bushwise Nature Enthusiast FGASA certification
    • The Bushwise FGASA Trails Guide theory online course certification
    • The Bushwise Extensive Field Guiding online course certification
    • FGASA Apprentice Field Guide NQF2 theoretical knowledge
    • Field Guide NQF4 theoretical knowledge
    • Apprentice Trails Guide theoretical knowledge
    • The Nature Guide Learner Manual – Grant & Gillie Hine
    • The Guiding Skills Manual – Grant Hine
    • The FGASA Field Guide (NQF2) Study Guide & Learner Workbook
    • Advanced Rifle Handling Protocols and Learner Manual
    • FGASA Trails Guide Learner Manual
    • FGASA Trails Guide Learner Workbook
    • FGASA Dangerous Game Site Guide.


    • To participate in online courses, participants are required to have access to the internet, and a laptop and a headset.
    • Students may decide to purchase supplementary reading material to enhance their learning experience at their own discretion.

    Practical training


    If you’d like to continue your journey and become a professional field guide,  join us on campus to complete the practical portion required to earn your FGASA NQF2, formerly known as FGASA Level 1. Over 90% of those who complete their FGASA NQF2 with us get a job upon graduation.

    Our flagship course is a 23-, or 50-week Professional Field Guide course, the latter includes a 6-month work placement after you graduate. 95% of our graduates receive a job offer within 30 days of completing this placement. 

    Read our alumni success stories

    If you are unable to join us for the full 23-week practical course, we do have a short 15-week alternative. This short course contains the minimum requirements necessary to qualify as an Apprentice FGASA Field Guide NQF2, but you won’t benefit from the extra and unique Bushwise training which sets you apart from the rest in this industry. As a result of this, you will also not be able to do a 6-month work placement as a Bushwise student. 

    This 15-week alternative program includes everything listed on the comprehensive, 23-week course, excluding the following items: 

    • 4×4 Professional Driving, NQF3, unit standard: 254135, certificate
    • Wilderness First Aid Levels 1 and 2, unit standard: 254135, certificates
    • Cybertracker Track and Sign qualification, recognised by SASSETA
    • Wildlife photography workshop
    • Social media in the field guiding and luxury safari lodge industry module
    • Reptile orientation course
    • Child and vulnerable adult protection policy training
    • Bushwise employment guarantee
    • Bushwise recruitment service

    These items are in addition to the exclusions also indicated on the comprehensive, 23-week course. A full list can be found on the what’s included tab, here.

    Pricing can be found below. To find out more about this 15-week option, please get in touch.

    202112 weeks R124,950.00 (incl VAT)
    202112 weeksGBP £8,995.00 / USD $13,145.00 / EUR €11,045.00 / 17,295 AUD

    Dates and costs

    South African Citizens
    2021Online R16,500 (incl VAT)
    2021Start dates 11 Jan, 22 Feb, 22 Mar, 3 May, 31 May, 12 July, 9 Aug, 20 Sep, 18 Oct
    2022Online TBC
    2022Start datesTBC


    International Citizens
    2021OnlineGBP £1,200.00 / USD $1,700.00 / EUR €1500.00 / AUD $2,300.00
    2021Start dates 11 Jan, 22 Feb, 22 Mar, 3 May, 31 May, 12 July, 9 Aug, 20 Sep, 18 Oct
    2022Start datesTBC

    Payment Plan

    A payment plan may be arranged. Terms & Conditions apply. Please email [email protected] for more information. Bushwise is recognised by most major South African banks including FNB and Standard Bank. South African citizens can apply for student loans to assist with the payment of course fees.


    Our expert instructors have backgrounds in both conservation and the tourism industry. They will teach you solid fundamentals and how to apply your knowledge practically in the industry.


    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.

    Highest quality field guide trainer in South Africa

    Bushwise is well known in the industry as a provider of the highest quality field guide trainer in South Africa. This online course aims to provide a level of quality and support which is no different. 

    Responsive and efficient support that goes above and beyond

    The Bushwise team are extremely passionate about nature and the field guiding industry, and focus on providing support above and beyond other providers. Whether it’s assisting students to reach specific learning-based milestones, or providing support towards a new career path in the safari industry. 

    Expert-lead personal learning experiences

    Bushwise’s online courses are unique due to the amount of personal and guided learning time the student gets. There are weekly live webinars hosted by the instructors, allowing you to engage with students in discussions and Q&As. There are also student forums available to interact with fellow students, discuss topics of interests, ask questions and learn new things.

    Our passion for nature, conservation thereof, and the education of prospective field guides are evident in all our on-campus programs. Our professional trainers and team behind the curtains managed to deliver the same dedication with outstanding results through our online courses. Let’s hear what the online alumni have to say. 


    Gregory Jooste, South Africa, 2020

    The online course was an incredible experience! I went in having a fair understanding of nature, however, I have expanded my knowledge in nature more than I ever expected. The online course was extremely easy to follow and the Bushwise team made it an incredible experience all-round. Thank you so much to Trevor for being so patient and informative with every module and thank you to Henk and the rest of the team for all your support from day 1. I can highly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in nature, you will not be disappointed!


    Gareth Jones, United Kingdom, 2020

    Very in depth course providing lots of knowlege on a wide variety of different subjects which are sure to come in useful when I attend the 50 week training course in January 2021!


    Daniel Greyvenstein, South Africa, 2020

    Highly recommended! The course was very interesting, and I will definitely be able to use the knowledge that I have learned in the bush.


    Daniel Sacker, South Africa, 2020

    The course was really insightful and interesting! There is plenty of information, not just from the manual but also from your trainer. It was really cool being able to interact with people from all over the world and hear everyone’s viewpoint on different topics. The course most certainly gives you enough information about the wide variety of topics covered. I would highly recommend Bushwise to anyone who is eager to enter into the world of guiding!


    Camille Larose, Canada, 2020

    I have followed this amazing online course. It’s definitely a good way to dive into South Africa ecology and biodiversity. I learned tremendous things and expanded my knowledge. I highly recommend this course – the team is incredible. Every expert is supportive and passionate. 


    Claire West, South Africa, 2020

    I loved this course – was very informative and helpful. Before the course I found it all to be very overwhelming, but as we say you eat an elephant one bite at a time and this was the perfect way to eat my elephant. The topics were so helpful, broke things down simply which helped me and now at the end of it I am not worried about continuing my studies as I have such a better understanding over it all.


    Kevin Lefevre, Belgium, 2020

    Big shout out to all the people at Bushwise for setting up the online course. Despite corona, this course made my summer pleasant and interesting . The instructors are knowledgeable and the learning material is very educational and into detail. This course is made for everyone who wants to learn more about the bush and be able to connect the dots between nature, animals and people.


    Ian du Toit, South Africa, 2020

    Great course, very informative, amazing course material. I was surprised that we were able to cover so many topics in such a short time-frame. Loved it.


    Jason Kleyweg, South Africa, 2020

    Bushwise provided an efficient platform that made the learning process an enjoyable one. A highly knowledgeable and professional team kept the environment friendly and light-hearted and created a family atmosphere that was a pleasure to be a part of. The industry-leading masterclass guests allowed us to gain valuable insights into the great work taking place behind the scenes and diversified the experience as a whole. I enjoyed the course from start to finish and look forward to working with the Bushwise team in the future.


    Ludivine Lenoir, France, 2020

    The online course was a fantastic experience. It allows you to study in from the comfort of your home and gives you a taste of what life will be like in the practical course. Plus, you get to meet the other students and work together. Even if you do not plan on doing the practical course, you will gain valuable knowledge of SA wildlife and ecosystems.


    Jorina van Rooyen, South Africa, 2020

    I thought I had average knowledge about nature but very soon realised this was not the case and that I have lots to learn. The course is very insightful and I learned so much. I loved meeting students from all over the world. The student discussions were so interesting and taught me to look a little deeper into nature. I will recommend this course to anybody curious about nature and wants to learn more. It changed my whole perspective on nature and I can’t wait to delve deeper into mother nature.


    Sajid Darr, Kenya, 2020

    This is hands down the best online nature-related course I have taken. In the past, I have studied Wildlife management and Game ranch management online with South African institutions but this one has been the most interesting and engaging course not just in terms of content but engagement. I would highly recommend it to those with an interest in Nature.


    Daniella Richardson, South Africa, 2020

    A wonderful course filled with loads of information, all set out in an easy to follow sequence. It built on my already existing knowledge and taught me many new things. The discussion topics were interesting and insightful and left one feeling as if we understood the world at a greater level.


    Anja Ellis, Germany, 2020

    It’s been an absolutely great time and a super introduction to all the different aspects of becoming a field guide. Although it was “only” an online course it’s been fun to interact with the trainers and students via Zoom and the discussions in Canvas.


    Christine Gerke, South Africa, 2020

    For anyone (and everyone) wanting to learn a little bit about the essence of Africa and all the beauty that it possesses, whether for interest, intrigue or a career – I cannot recommend a better course than the Bushwise Nature Enthusiast Course. Run by a team of experts (I mean EXPERTS) passionate about African nature and wildlife and giving people the opportunity to delve deep into the heart of the African bush. It is hard not to leave this course feeling a little homesick, wanting more, as it gives you an irresistible glimpse into the question, ‘What is it about the African bush?’


    Matthew Franklin, United Kingdom, 2020

    Overall this course was amazing I have learned so much and gained so much knowledge, the only thing I would like is one lesson on each subject per week so people can fully understand the subject matter. It would also be amazing if a live game drive or walk would be possible so we can start putting what we have learned through the weeks into practice, especially with animal and plant identification.


    Andrea Sabatta, South Africa, 2020

    I really enjoyed the course. It was interesting and nice to interact with others who have a similar interest.


    Grace Nabacwa, South Africa, 2020

    I enjoyed every week while on the course. The course content is exactly what I was looking for and even more. Time went very fast and I am glad to be part of the Bush wise community.


    Kate Nelson

    General manager Camp Jabulani, Relais & Châteaux

    “Bushwise is a professional organisation, committed to the welfare of its students and to ensuring that they enter the safari industry with the correct qualifications, a high level of knowledge and strong guiding ethics.”

    Ben Tupper 

    former Bushwise student, now GVI SANParks Internship Coordinator

    “Signing up and completing Bushwise has changed the course of not only my career but my entire life. I now get to wake up every morning to the sounds of baboons and hyenas and end each day with the setting African sun; none of this would have been possible without undergoing the Bushwise course”

    Bushwise is accredited by Field Guides Association of Southern Africa