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FGASA Field Guiding & Conservation Career Internship

Spend 23 weeks training in the African bush with an optional 1 month, 3 month or 6 month non-guiding placement.

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Join us in South Africa’s Lowveld region, one of the world’s best big game territories, and train to become a qualified field guide while experiencing the African bush at its most exquisite. This course, which is available to anyone 18 years or older, provides a training platform for prospective field guides or conservation professionals who are eager to get a head start in these competitive industries.

  • Must be 18 years or older (must be aged between 21 and 39 to do full 50 week course). If older, might be possible but have to extend in the field. Under 21 not possible because of PDP Must have a valid full manual driver’s licence, held for a min period of one year.
  • Must have achieved a min schooling qualification of Grade 10/A levels or the equivalent.
  • Must be of reasonable fitness.
  • Must send Bushwise questionnaire before acceptance
  • Must complete medical form regardless

Work permits for work after can sometimes be challenging to get. It’s not impossible though and a number of our students are still in Africa following the completion of the course. On average about 25% of international students go on to stay on beyond the course.

Time Commitment

You will work 4.5 days a week

Active Periods

All year round


Work and Activities Description

All Bushwise trainers are highly experienced and Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) certified. This accredited course embodies both theoretical and practical elements, which will provide you with full FGASA accreditation.

The course is known for producing the highest calibre of graduates for an in-demand industry. Throughout our years of operation, our graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers, and are considered some of the best trained professional guides in the industry.

Students on this course have an opportunity to undertake a career exposure internship (with varying lengths) after completion of the 6 month certified course. This allows you to gain valuable hands-on experience, as well as cementing the information and skills learnt during the training period, as you ‘set foot-in-the-door’ towards the exhilarating and competitive safari tourism industry or in the direction of your intended wildlife and/or conservation career.

For this particular course, the following internships are offered:
6 months non-guiding internship
3 months non-guiding internship
1 month non-guiding internship

It is important to consider that the internship allocation is determined by the Bushwise head trainer, and is based on your performance, interest and our formal T’s & C’s. All students must pass both the FGASA exam and course requirements before starting any placement longer than 3 months.

Further skills gained:
Birding specialist course
CATHSSETA (The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector, Education and Training Authority) National Qualification (Level 2) in Nature Guiding
Cybertracker track & sign qualification
Dangerous game experience
Ethical guiding principles
FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) national certificate – Level 1 – practical and theory
FGASA Level 2 knowledge
National LEVEL 2 First Aid Certificate
National level 3, 4 x 4 driving qualification

Typical Day

Possible activities you could get involved with and exposed to on career exposure internship:

  • Wildlife research and monitoring: spend time with a dedicated team of researchers learning about what life is like as a field researcher, logistics, research techniques and data collection.
  • Anti-poaching: learn from the dedicated anti-poaching personnel about anti-poaching techniques, essentially a real’ hands on’ and ‘boots on the ground’ experience.
  • Assisting at an ecotourism lodge: assist in all departments of a luxury ecotourism lodge to see how it works behind the scenes and gain new skills and experiences.
  • Environmental education and animal rehabilitation: help a team to teach local children the importance of protecting wildlife, care for injured or abandoned wildlife.
  • Game farming and reserve management: get involved in some of the activities on game farm and intensive breeding programmes and get stuck in to some hands on reserve management tasks and activities.

The career exposure placements provide you with the opportunity to gain experience in the fields of research, anti-poaching, and more, all while getting practical insight and experience and learning about what life will be like a field guide. You are guaranteed to get a practical head start on the other guides in the industry, and to solidify yourself as a field guide to be reckoned with, as soon as you turn 21 and are able to acquire your PrDP (driver’s permit).

Free Time Activities

4 weeks on, 1 week off for 5 Semesters

During the expedition you will have 1 1/2 day off a week. At the end of each 4 week cycle interns have the opportunity to take 5 days off, during which they are free to arrange their own trips if they wish. Before and after your program you could visit Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon, go bungy jumping or canyoning at Sabi the possibilities are endless!



Accommodation Options

Mixed dorm rooms

Accommodation Description

Accommodation is in shared rooms with shared bathroom facilities at the field station 2 people per room – we try and keep these same sex but on the odd occassion you may need to share with someone from the opposite sex when there are odd numbers, this will be commuicated with you in advance. There is hot water available for showers. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share general cleaning duties around base and are responsible for their own rooms.


Facilities Description



Food & Drink

Meals are prepared for you by our catering team. Food is generally western style with some cooked in the traditional local style. Breakfast could be cereal, porridge, fresh fruit, pancakes, etc., lunch is sandwiches, pasta and sauce, etc. and a typical evening meal may include rice, mielie pap, meat, fresh veg, etc.

Internet Access

WiFi is available on base.

Phone Signal

You will have limited access to long-distance communications whilst on the program, so make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Participants typically use mobile phones to keep in touch, with limited access to internet. MTN South Africa and Vodacom are the service providers that covers both bases. Check with your home service provider that they have roaming agreements with MTN or Vodacom. SIM cards and starter packs/ airtime are easily available on the weekly town trips for less than R5.00, but will require a passport for registration purposes.

Nearest Facilities

The nearest emergency medical hospital is located in Tzaneen, about an hour’s and twenty minutes drive from base. All staff are trained in Emergency First Response. Detailed Risk assessments are part of training, as are the Emergency Action Plans, including regular drills to ensure familiarity by all.

Airport Pickup

Airport pick up provided, will be confirmed with you once confirmed


Language Requirements


Document Requirements

Nationality Requirements

Qualification Requirements

Must have achieved a min schooling qualification of Grade 10/A levels or the equivalent.

Medical Requirements

Doctors note must be signed if you have any illnesses to declare

Other Requirements

Must apply for a STUDY visa

Recommended Gear

Kit list will be provided at time of booking

Included Services

Before Journey Services / Support

Once you have confirmed your spot on this program, you will be allocated to a dedicated program expert who will assist you as you prepare for your program.

On-Site Support

Highly skilled onsite staff to facilitate program and conduct training


Pricing Breakdown

  • 23 weeks - $15,417
  • 27 weeks - $16,062
  • 35 weeks - $16,384
  • 50 weeks - $16,707

Not Included in Price

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • Food during the placement portion of your internship
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Laundry, food and transport during weeks off
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Recommended reference books
  • Transport costs to placement
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

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