FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days)


This is how we become more at one with the world that we live in. Pathfinders Africa, takes you further on this incredible journey, because when we embrace nature we start to understand it, and then we care for it, with all our might. Pathfinders Africa wants to share and celebrate this passion with every participant that joins them, whether for a professional qualification, or a leisure experience. They see the preservation of our natural resources as a collaborative approach that starts first with an igniting of wonder at our surroundings, and the more we learn, the greater our desire becomes to protect that which is so precious.

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

Zimbabwe’s only FGASA endorsed field guide training provider. Endorsed by FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa), a professional authority that sets the regulatory standards on field guiding in Southern Africa. Discover four unique locations across 2000km of iconic landscapes to learn different aspects of guiding, building a more in-depth and extensive understanding of the different types of ecosystems, fauna and flora in Africa and how to guide in them effectively and meaningfully.

The first mobile field guide training program of its kind, Pathfinders takes you on a journey, not only through education & learning in the African wilderness, but through four iconic wildlife destinations. You’ll be guided every step of the way by some of Africa’s most passionate and highly qualified field guide trainers.

Over the 60-day course, you will cover a wide range of terrains and wildlife-rich habitats, learning how to identify species, track and interpret behavioural patterns, apply conservation techniques and learn the basics on how to survive, guide & protect in the African bush.

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

Zimbabwe remains Africa’s original great natural wilderness and through your time on the course, you will visit and study in some of Africa’s finest game reserves. Here, we combine classroom study with practical training, applying hands-on techniques and gaining first-hand experience guiding with a wide range of wildlife species, including Africa’s famous Big Five; lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. This broad range of experience is what sets Pathfinders’ guides apart from the rest. Upon graduation, our guides have already applied their skills in a range of environments with different wildlife, vegetation, terrains and challenges, making them more attractive to prospective employers.

Successful graduation will earn you a FGASA NQF2 Apprentice Field Guide qualification – an essential tool for starting or furthering your exciting career in the African bush. The course itself is structured to give you a balance of theoretical and practical know-how, and while your time with us is structured, you can be assured that no two days are the same! If you are prepared to work hard – this experience will change your life forever.

You’ll be able to enjoy the variety of action-packed activities at your fingertips such as bungee jumping, micro-lighting and white water rafting or travel in your free time.

The iconic destinations that await you on a Pathfinders training course.... Each destination has been carefully selected to ensure that you get the most-diverse experience possible....

Antelope Park
Bubiana & Matopos
Hwange National Park
Victoria Falls

Bubiana Game Reserve / Matopos National Park has the world’s largest granite outcrop with the highest density of leopard and black eagle. With its numerous granite outcrops and hidden caves, it provides the ideal environment for secretive big cats. Not only known for its leopards, but Matopos National Park is also a great success story for the endangered rhino, with a healthy, growing population calling the Park home. Participants will be based at Bubiana Conservancy, a 50 000-hectare private reserve. The course has unrestricted access to the reserve, and room to explore its multitude of hiking trails, hidden caves and ancient cave art. Access to the reserve at night gives the opportunity for participants to hone their night guiding skills, listening to and identifying the various night noises, spotlighting techniques and telling stories of the night sky and the pattern it paints.

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

An award-winning safari lodge, nestled in a 3000-acre prime piece of open savannah, Antelope Park provides the ideal beginning to your course. With no naturally occurring dangerous game, this location offers the perfect destination for a participant’s introduction into the bush. As an established safari lodge, participants have a great opportunity to live a safari lodge life, learning what it takes to run such an establishment and gaining an insight into the tourism industry. It’s so much more than just leading a great game drive! Antelope Park is the site of the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild project, in partnership with the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT). A world first lion conservation initiative. Together with its community development initiatives, Antelope Park provides a fantastic opportunity to get a better understanding of what is needed to preserve this wilderness we so treasure, so that it is there for future guides and travellers.

With over 100 species of animal and 400 species of bird, Hwange offers a guiding paradise. Hwange is the oldest and largest National Park in Zimbabwe (the size of Belgium!). It is renowned for its vast elephant populations, large lion prides, and 1000- strong herds of Buffalo. It is the guiding capital of the country with some of the world’s most recognized “bushmen” having plied their trade in the area. The course takes place in a private concession that borders the National Park. With no fences in the area, animals move freely between the park and the reserves. Being in a private concession we have the freedom to conduct walks and night drives. The most important part of guiding is the safety of your guest, and this gives us the opportunity to track and approach the dangerous game on foot, reading and learning the signs around us.

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

Victoria Falls is one of the seven spectacular wonders of the world, situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The tourism hub of Zimbabwe and one of the continent’s top tourist attractions. This destination offers a unique opportunity for one to observe and learn the tourism industry in its entirety, to appreciate where and how guiding fits into a much larger tourism product that drives a global industry. The town of Victoria Falls is situated within the National Park boundaries, and it is not uncommon to have wildlife roaming around town, which sets a great example of a successful cohabitation of people and animals. The course takes place on 2000 hectares of pristine wildlife land that forms part of an unfenced regional conservation area, stretching over 5 countries and 50 million hectares. Adventure, camping and tracking in the vast riverine ecosystem is the focus for participants in this, our final destination.

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

Topics covered on your course: FGASA NQF2 Field Guide Modules:

Guiding in the Natural Environment
Weather and Climate
Biomes of Southern Africa
Plants (trees and grasses)
Animal Behavior
Conservation Management

Pathfinders Custom Modules:

Wilderness First Aid
4×4 Driving Skills
Wildlife Photography Skills
Survival in the Bush
Understanding Tourism

What could a typical day in the bush look like for a trainee?

At about 5:30 or 6:00 am, you’ll have a quick breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and head out to the bush for a morning of practical lessons or lectures focused on the week’s module, which may be anything from mammals to 4X4 driving skills. When the midday heat kicks in, you’ll have some free time to relax, study or rest before the afternoon training session. You’ll return to base from your busy day to enjoy dinner and some downtime sitting around the fire sharing the day’s experiences. 

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

* Train in four unique destinations
* Fully-immersive 60-day course
* Learn from expert guides and trainers
* Incredible free time activities available
* FGASA Endorsed Training

The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) is a professional authority, which sets the regulatory standards on safari guiding education and practice throughout the safari industry in Southern Africa. FGASA promotes an ethical, well-informed and safety-conscious approach to guiding; ensuring visitors to the wildlife destinations of Southern Africa have an enjoyable, memorable, inspirational and educational experience.

The FGASA program is aligned with, and covers all the requirements of, the CATHSSETA-registered National Qualifications Framework. The main focus of this skills program is on tourist guiding, with specific emphasis on Nature Guiding within a site or a number of sites. FGASA is a CATHSSETA accredited training provider for tourism guiding in South Africa. At present some of the national qualifications/skills programmes can be attained through FGASA. There is also a number of other FGASA Certificates that are exclusive to FGASA. via FGASA

FGASA Apprentice Field Guide Course in Zimbabwe (60 Days) - www.photo-safaris.com

The NQF2 qualification:

This is the qualification you will work towards achieving through the 60-day Pathfinders Field guide course. The FGASA NQF2 qualification is the baseline requirement to enter a career as a safari field guide working on the reserves of Southern Africa. It is also often required for work in conservation, conservation management, safari lodge hospitality and management, wildlife tourism, national parks work and park management in Southern Africa.

It is the responsibility of the student to work hard and conduct additional study during downtime in order to meet the standards required and pass the FGASA NQF2 Pathfinders course.The Pathfinders FGASA trainers are on hand to teach and guide with constructive feedback throughout the course but cannot be held responsible should a student fail to complete the work and/or meet the standards of the FGASA requirements.

Upcoming Course Dates: 2021
1 July 2021
1 October 2021
Included in your Course Fee:

Shared tented accommodation *upgrades available
All meals
FGASA Textbooks
Park fees
Airport transfers on arrival and departure
All conservation fees
Transport between training locations
Training Costs


Flights and associated taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Outdoor gear
Additional food and drinks
Reference books outside of those provided
Personal travel and excursions
Purchase of curios and items of a personal nature

Costs:- US$4,500 per participant