Trails Guide Course

Lion Eyes

 Next Trails Guide Course: 14th June - 13th July 2018

This is one of the most exciting environmental training courses anyone could ever wish to attend! A trainee Trails Guide conducts safaris on foot with the intention of approaching Africa's dangerous game species (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino). The skills gained on this course equip you to encounter dangerous game whilst walking, including how to handle a bolt-action rifle in the (hopefully) unlikely event that your group gets charged by one. Students will spend almost seven hours a day on foot under the supervision of our highly qualified and experienced instructors.

Our Trails Guide course is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and is qualified as a FGASA Field Guide (nature). We take just 8 students per course to ensure the best possible learning experience.

The aim is to develop and practice the skills needed for conducting walks safely in dangerous game areas, initially as a 'back-up trails guide'. The syllabus is aligned with the FGASA syllabus for Trails Guides – part of the View Potentially Dangerous Animals (VPDA) Unit Standard 8459. The qualification awarded at the end of the course (if all the assessments are passed) is that of a Back-up Trails Guide. See our Frequently Asked Questions page for the difference between a Back-up and a Lead Trails Guide.

The course is run in two consecutive parts both of which are conducted at Intibane camp, Thanda Safari in northern KwaZulu Natal (close to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park - Africa's oldest proclaimed nature reserve).

The first part of the course involves students obtaining a:

PFTC Rifle Competency (Unit Standards: 117705 [Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act], 119651 [Handle and use a manually operated rifle], 123519 [Handle and use a manually operated rifle for business purposes]) and FGASA Advanced Rifle Handling Certificate.

The second part of the course focuses on the skills required to view potentially dangerous animals (VPDA). This includes Trails Guide etiquette and theoretical and practical field skills as listed below.

Trails Guide etiquette:

o   The responsibilities of being a Trails Guide and back-up Trails Guide

o   What makes a successful Trails Guide

o   Communication strategies of Trails Guide and back-up Trails Guide

o   Rifle, ammunition inspections and state of readiness

o   What should be carried into the bush by a Trails Guide whilst on trail

 Theoretical and Practical field skills:

o   Spoor and sign interpretation

o   Comfort and approach zones of big game

o   How to successfully approach big game

o   How to successfully extract from a big game sighting

o   How to handle emergency situations

o   Mammal species and associated habitat types, specific dietary requirements, etc.

o   Animal behaviour (ethology) of the Big Five

o   Situational awareness (wind direction, terrain, position of the sun, interpretation of presence calls, etc)

o   Empathy towards the environment (including littering, respect of wild animals, etc).

 Intibane Rooms

 Intibane Camp! Thanda Safari (pictured left). Nestled between bush and beach our camp is located on a 14,000ha Big Five Reserve in the heart of Zululand. 

Lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant are all free roaming in the reserve, affording our students amazing opportunities to track, approach and photograph them, making this course extra special. 

Accommodation in thatched chalets with fan, air conditioner and en suite bathroom.

The ultimate training facility!



Africa Nature Training is a Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) accredited training provider

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