If working as a tour leader in the great African wilderness sounds like a dream come true, consider signing up for safari guide training.
People interested in a career in wildlife and nature conservation can study courses either online or over in Africa with top-rated companies to get qualified to work as a tour escort. And the best part? You can complete a course in as little as four weeks!
Here’s an overview of what to expect when signing up for a safari guide training course:
Why do it
Working in the African savannah alongside lions and elephants may just be one of the most exciting careers on the planet. If you’re a people person with a love for the natural world, this might be the job for you. Keep in mind that it is hard work that involves long hours and few holidays – but if you’re okay with that, then go for it! Assuming you apply at an accredited school, you should come out of your safari guide training course with a qualification making you certified to work in the field. Of course, high rates of competition mean that you should also get some volunteer experience before applying for jobs to increase your chances of getting hired.
What it involves
You will be taken out into the field and taught by experienced rangers skills in orientation, navigation, ecology, astronomy, geology, zoology, bushcraft, conservation and more. A tour escort’s job is to be able to interpret the environment and its wildlife and communicate this information to guests in an entertaining way. You will also be taught safety and respect for the natural world, which are essential in the industry.
The first safari guide training course starts at level 1 and goes up to level 3 – you can then branch out into specialist fields if desired. Completing a level 1 qualification is the minimum requirement to work in the industry.
Getting work as an expatriate
If you’re coming into Africa for safari guide training as a tourist, you may experience some difficulties getting work in the industry – but it’s not impossible. Work and residence permits present the biggest obstacle, as the industry is quite competitive. In order to compete with the locals it’s recommended to have other skills to offer, like a second (or third language) and/or a university degree.
Safari guide training courses are held all over Africa, including Kenya and Botswana. They generally take place in bush camps which provide access to large amounts of untamed bushland and native animals – the perfect place to learn new skills! You will get plenty of first hand exposure to the life of a ranger, with escorted walks, game drives and sleep-outs that will create lifelong memories.
To be qualified you must be over the age of 18. You must be qualified with the FGASA, which requires you to complete a certified course and pass exams. You will need to be aged over 18, have an international drivers licence and register with the FGASA.
Costs depend on the specific provider and course you are undertaking, but they generally range from around $1500-6000 AUD. These costs should also cover accommodation, meals, first aid courses, registration fees, exam fees and study materials.
Safari guide training is an incredible experience that sets you up for an exciting career in the tourism and conservation industries. Ensure that you go in prepared for what to expect and bring all your skills to the table in order to maximise your chances of getting a job at the end of it.