If you are considering a career in the great African wilderness, there is a good chance you will need to complete your FGASA training first.
But don’t worry, this isn’t like regular school – your 30+ day course will be more than just a learning experience; it will be the holiday of a lifetime! You will be exposed to the beautiful landscapes and animals of South Africa whilst exploring the field with trained experts who will teach you fascinating topics like ecology and astronomy.
Once you finish, your eyes will be opened to a whole new realm of possibilities, and your newfound knowledge will allow you to pursue work as a tour or safari guide.
Why do it?
FGASA training is essential if you want to become a tour guide or adventure guide. The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa is an association established in 1990 with the goal of setting a standard for the nature guide industry in the country. It is important to complete a course that is accredited with this association in order to be viewed as a certified and competent guide.
However, you may choose to do the course simply for a fun gap year experience, or because you love wildlife and want to learn more about it.
What it offers
FGASA training provides participants with solid knowledge and practical skills that can be used for working in the wildlife and environmental sectors. It is also a great way to learn general outdoor skills and to become more resilient and independent. Some of the topics covered in the course include:
- Orientation and navigation skills
- First aid
- Climatology; and
Some of the careers you might want to pursue following completion of your FGASA training include:
Park rangers are responsible for taking care of forests, conservatories and other such natural areas. They are often required to work outside, patrolling trails and campgrounds, conducting tours, participating in rescue missions and answering guest’s questions.
You might want to pursue a career in wildlife research. This may involve studying things like animal behaviour, genetics and disease, or gathering and analysing data to establish environmental impacts on animals. At times you may get to work in the natural habitat of the animals, and at other times you may work on a computer, writing up data and reports.
The majority of people who undertake FGASA training do so with the intention of becoming a tour or safari guide. Tour guides are required to help show tourists and people who are unfamiliar with the area around via a trip. They show them significant areas or landmarks and provide useful, insightful information about them. They are also responsible for giving directions and for the safety of guests.
Environmental educators work to educate people about environmental issues such as climate change and plastic waste. They primarily work with primary and high school students, giving talks or running workshops in schools, however some may work with the broader public and/or with businesses. They work to help raise awareness of these issues and give people ideas for how they can live more sustainably.
It is worth noting that some of these jobs may require additional qualifications beyond FGASA training; wildlife researcher positions for instance generally want a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a related field.
Doing FGASA training can provide you with not only a memorable, enjoyable experience and new friends, but with a newfound appreciation for the complex and interconnected web of life.