Park Ranger Jobs
Careers in the lodge industry such as park ranger jobs, field guiding and nature conservationist in Southern Africa are in high demand. If you have a liking to nature, the conservation thereof, and the excitement of learning something new every day, you are well-suited for a park ranger career in the lodge industry.
Bushwise Field Guides professional courses prepare participants for careers in the lodge industry. We are recognised in the safari industry as a field guide training provider with the highest quality graduates. This is one of the reasons that students who graduate from our FGASA Professional Field Guide course qualify for the Bushwise Employment Guarantee.
Before we get to possible careers in the lodge industry, let’s first explain what a park ranger does, and how it is different from a field guide. It is a common mistake to think that field guide and a park ranger is the same thing. Although the roles overlap in some instances, they have some distinct differences. If you have a park ranger qualification, your main responsibilities are conserving nature and the management of the infrastructure and resources of the game reserve. This includes managing the animal population, alien plant control, fencing, roads, water resources, and bush clearing.
Park ranger job descriptions typically involve a focus on reserve management, with an involvement in the administration and the logistics of the reserve. You’ll be leading the guiding department, managing the stock and equipment control, training new guides, and serving as a liaison between different departments of the reserve. Park rangers are also responsible for educating the guests about how to behave in-line with the standards of ethical conservation and guiding.
Field guiding, however, is more varied and engaging. You still learn about the ins-and-outs of nature, work with wildlife, and help the park rangers when they are in need of some extra hands. But, you will also interact with the guests of the reserve. You’ll meet new people, take them out on game drives or bush walks, and pass on all your knowledge to those keen to learn about the bush. Think of yourself as the translator between nature and the guests, where you focus on explaining the many uses of fauna and flora and how to look after it in an ethical manner.
Your typical field guide position gives you full responsibility of conducting guided safaris. Safaris should be professional, unique, and enjoyable. Your personality plays a vital role in your success as a field guide, and your attention to detail, sense of humour, story-telling ability, and obsession with the bush is what creates an unforgettable experience for the guests. It is also vital that the field guide keeps a healthy relationship and transparency with the lodge regarding his/her guests’ requirements and or special needs. You will also be required to help the head ranger when he is in need of extra hands for reserve management.
You will spend the better half of the day with your guests, getting to know their every need. Each guest comes with unique requests and sometimes challenges, and you will be responsible to convey these requirements and needs to the lodge staff. It is vital to add to their safari experience, and make their stay enjoyable and comfortable. In some cases you will also be called upon to help the head ranger with reserve management, typically involving; animal population management, alien plant control, fencing, road maintenance, water resource management, and bush clearing.
Your field guiding career can range from working at smaller, private big five reserves to national parks, where you can work alongside fellow guides. Professional growth as a field guide is endless, as you gain knowledge in a wide array of subjects, which opens endless opportunities for you in the wildlife sector.
As a trails guide, you are qualified to take guests on walking safaris in the reserve.
Your key responsibilities include knowing the movements of the animals on the reserve, understanding their behaviour and being able to share this knowledge with the guests you have on your walk.
Game ranger and park ranger jobs regularly overlap on reserves, but your main focus will be the wellbeing of the animals on the reserve. You will monitor their habitat with the park ranger and ensure optimal conditions as far as possible for the health and reproduction of the animals.
Bushwise’s professional field guide course, which is accredited by FGASA, will teach you all the skills you need to be a successful field guide, and will additional enhance your skills as a park ranger. Your knowledge on geology, weather and climate, animal behaviour, tracking, and your practical experience throughout the course will make you stand out from the rest.
Greg Moran from South Africa
“I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned a great deal. I thought being in the bush my whole life, I would have known a lot, but what I have learned here, I could never have anywhere else. Excellent trainers and great friendly staff – always ready to help and make this probably the best experience I have ever had. For that, I am so grateful to Bushwise!”
Lukas Pfaudler from Germany
“I was dreaming of Africa since I was a little boy. My biggest wish was to experience the amazing wildlife of Africa, not just out of a vehicle or a movie. Bushwise made this dream come true and offered so much more.”