PlacementsBushwise job placements are at a selection of prestigious lodges and game reserves in South Africa. Here, you will gain first-hand experience of guiding life.
Bushwise offers an optional job placement for all our FGASA Professional Field Guide course and FGASA Field Guiding and Conservation Careers Internship graduates. Students have to pass their course, or internship to qualify for a placement option. The Bushwise head trainer will assess each and every student to see which placement suits them best, focussing on evaluating students based on performance, interest, and the students’ personality traits. That is why Bushwise has a 100% employment success rate for South African students.
Job placements are at a selection of prestigious lodges and game reserves in South Africa, like Mala Mala, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi, Thornybush, and Singita. Placements often lead to permanent positions, not only nationally but also beyond our borders. Bushwise students have worked in Patagonia, USA, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda. By getting experience in a luxury game lodge, animal rehab centre or at a wildlife research & monitoring centre, you can secure a permanent position as a field guide, reserve management, or conservationist around the globe.
Possible areas of specialisation you can get involved with on your placement:
- Wildlife research and monitoring: Spend time with a dedicated team of researchers learning about what life is like as a field researcher. You’ll learn about logistics, and practise research techniques and data collection.
- Anti-poaching: Learn from the dedicated anti-poaching personnel about anti-poaching techniques, dealing with dangerous situations, and anti-poaching ethics. This is a real hands-on and “boots on the ground” experience.
- Ecotourism lodge: Assist in all the departments of a luxury ecotourism lodge for work experience, new skills and insight into the dynamics of an ecotourism lodge.
- Environmental education and animal rehabilitation: Help a team in teaching local people about the importance of protecting wildlife, and caring for injured or abandoned wildlife.
- Game farming and reserve management: Get involved in the ins and outs of a game farm and in wildlife breeding programmes. Get stuck into some hands-on reserve management tasks and activities.
- Wildlife volunteer management: Help to guide volunteers through the experience of conducting wildlife conservation research.
Why are placements important?
It enables every you to get work experience and guidance by shadowing working field guides in the industry. You will be exposed to the behind the scenes as a working field guide, which ranges from the inner workings of the lodges such as food and wine pairings, front of house and guest entertainment. Experience in the field guide industry is vital to get a job. You gain an important head start into the working world with a 6-month work placement.
How are the placements found?
The placement selection process is vital to the success of our graduates. Our process to determine these options are through interviews, personal visits and built on professional relationships that we have formed throughout our 16-year existence. Placement lodges are not only selected by our senior staff, but we also receive a lot of enquiries from lodges that our alumni work at. Our success as a FGASA field guide training provider speaks for itself when the senior staff at FGASA direct lodges our way when they are looking for field guides.
How do I get to my placement?
Your placement is decided by the head trainer. He/She will assess each and every student to see which placement suits them best, focussing on evaluating students based on performance, interest, and the students’ personality traits. Once you have secured an interview, if it’s within 2 hours drive from Bushwise campus we will assist with transportation to your interview. If it’s in more remote locations we organise for a digital interview on various platforms available at our disposal.
Once you have secured a placement, it’s your responsibility to get to your placement after you have completed your Bushwise course.
What is it like?
Work placements are a real eye-opener. Whilst at Bushwise we do what we can to prepare you for the working world, but every situation is unique. At most of the lodges, you are responsible for your own upkeep with regards to laundry, cleaning and cooking your own food. You will be faced with long hours, difficult guests and we have also seen managers that are difficult to prepare you for every situation possible. However, you are in the process of securing your dream career, and it’s an incredible experience to work alongside qualified field guides with many years of experience.
What criteria do we use to match students to placements?
We base our selection on results, general demeanour observed throughout the course and sometimes gutfeel, not on favouritism or pressure from either the student or parent. We have a variety of methodologies in place where on a weekly basis throughout the course requires feedback from both trainers and students alike. We look at progress on campus, in the field and, the students’ general disposition, for Bushwise to come to a conclusion as to what the best fit is.
What happens after my placement?
You are more than likely to be offered a permanent position at your placement. Your stay at the lodge will be secured with a contract and you will become an ambassador for Bushwise and nature conservation alike.
Bushwise always remains present in assistance to our alumni. If you turn down an offer from a placement, you have access to the free Bushwise Recruitment Service where we will continue to assist you in securing a permanent position. We are confident that you will receive a job offer, and that is why we have the Bushwise Employment Guarantee in place.
K9 Conservation specialises in anti-poaching services with the use of working dogs to ensure the protection of threatened wildlife and the conservation of their habitats.
Bushwise students are the best suited candidates for our placements, they have to be strong minded, dedicated and have a passion for wanting to protect rhinos and other animals from poaching. Bushwise does a great job of selecting those candidates for us and they have been a great addition to our Anti poaching field ranging teams. We would not hesitate to permanently employ Bushwise graduates
GVI Karongwe is a Wildlife Research hub based in the heart of Limpopo. We host international volunteers who aid us with tracking our focus animals, data collection, reserve management and community outreach. Our participants join GVI because they are passionate about making a tangible difference towards wildlife conservation and can use the skills they learn as a tool to further their tertiary studies or improve their employability.
Our Bushwise interns are a valuable addition to the GVI house as they bring fresh knowledge and enthusiasm to the team. Those with an interest in science have assisted our science officer with various research projects on Karongwe and in some cases have been credited in scientific papers for their work. Several Bushwise students have been given a permanent position after their 6-month placement at GVI as we believe these work placements are key to understanding how an employee will fit into your organisation.
Kapama River Lodge
Nestled between the Blyde River Valley and Kruger National Park, Kapama’s four individually appointed and luxurious camps offer an escape for nature lovers from across the globe. This untouched part of Africa is home to some of our most endangered, beautiful and fascinating wild life.
Lowveld Trails Co.
Lowveld Trails Company has enjoyed a productive professional relationship with Bushwise Field Guides, facilitating the practical component of their Trails Guide Courses for the past 3 years. Bushwise produces some top quality Field Guides, evidenced by the fact that one of their alumni is now employed by Lowveld Trails Co.
Siyafunda Wildlife and Conservation
“To Learn and To Teach” (“Siyafunda” in Zulu) are the objectives on which Siyafunda Wildlife and Conservation is founded and the basic principles that drive our projects. Our aim is to obtain a greater understanding of wildlife and the environment in which it thrives and to teach our knowledge to all who assist us at our Siyafunda projects.
Garonga Safari Camp
Garonga offers a true Big Five safari experience, with expert guides and trackers who are knowledgeable about the wide variety of animals in our nature reserve. Track wildlife in the pre-dawn or enjoy traditional early morning and late afternoon game drives.
Rukiya Safari Camp
Bush breakfasts on the edge of the river, daily game drives, sundowners and expeditions into the neighbouring big five Balule reserve are just a few of things to expect while on safari with us.
LEO Africa is a wildlife monitoring, conservation and sustainable living volunteer project based on the Marataba Section of the Marakele National Park. Our work is vital for the park itself as we are the only monitoring and conservation team, so all the data that we collect each month through drives and camera traps is processed and written in the form of monthly report for the park management. Working at LEO Africa means to be part of a motivated conservation team, to learn to live sustainably, to be exposed to real wildlife monitoring in a pristine area and make a difference for the environment and its wildlife on a daily basis, with the help of dedicated volunteers who join us from all around the world.
Bushwise has been sending us placement students for the past few years. We are very impressed by the quality of the preparation of the students who start their internship with LEO Africa and some of them were also offered a job after their internship. We highly recommend Bushwise as a training facility if guiding or conservation are your passions and you would like to work in the field and have a great preparation.
Nyati Safari Lodge
NYATI Safari offers world-class safari in our own exclusive safari lodge in South Africa. Our safari lodge is located in our private 10,000 ha “Big 5” wildlife reserve, which is part of South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park. Here we can guarantee that you will get close to Africa’s wildlife – and most likely “The Big 5”; The lion, the leopard, the rhino, the buffalo and the elephant.
The Bushwise students we received from Bushwise thus far have all been very knowledgeable well trained and very eager to work with excitement in everything they do.
The Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve
Bushwise have been traversing on The Greater Makalali Nature Reserve (GMPGR) since 2006. Bushwise offers Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) field guide training courses amongst others which are run over 60 days. Over this period the guides are trained in all facets of field guiding and ultimately come through the course with skills that allow them to start a career in guiding. The GMPGR has a variation of commercial lodges, private lodges and volunteer organisations operating on the reserve. Many Bushwise students/guides have been placed within these operations over the years. Due to the high standard of training of field guides Bushwise have developed a good reputation as a professional training organisation.
They are always willing and eager to assist with training field guides within other operations on the reserve and helping wherever they can.
As the Warden of the GMPGR I have come to expect friendly and professional conduct and behaviour from the Bushwise management, trainers and guides.
Africa on Foot
Africa on Foot specialises in walking safaris in the big five Klaserie Private Nature Reserve; a wildlife rich region in the heart of the Greater Kruger. The Klaserie shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park which means predators and other wildlife roam freely throughout.
Harnas Wildlife Foundation
Harnas Wildlife Foundation is an experienced and active player in the conservation of Namibian wildlife, the protection of natural resources and is providing social, rational and physical education to those who seek the benefit thereof. But above all, Harnas Wildlife Foundation strives to give back to every living being what is relevant to its existence as far as our capabilities will allow.
Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
Situated at the base of the majestic North Eastern Lowveld Drakensberg mountain range in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, Moholoholo offers a unique experience to all nature enthusiasts. Here at Moholoholo “The Very Great One” we offer travellers a time to unwind, relax and enjoy our beautiful Lowveld region.
Bundox Safari Lodge
Bundox Safari Lodge & Retreat is an authentic safari getaway situated in a private nature reserve, located on the doorstep of South Africa’s most visited wildlife region, Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, and the Blyde River Canyon within arm’s reach.