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Field Guiding

Field Guiding

The basics of field guiding. Learn how to track and monitor the wildlife, how to identify plants, host your own game drives and even learn the art of stargazing. These courses are ideal preparation for completing the FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Certificate on our South African projects, as well as adding an extra level to your African wildlife experience.

All prices are shown in South African Rand (ZAR)

Game Ranging (Field Guiding)

prices start from ZAR 4,210

This course covers the basics of game ranging – from animal and plant identification, to the basics of bush craft – and includes the essentials on tracking and first aid. Learn about the main families of animal and their traits, and gain the basics to become an excellent game ranger.

Module 1: Classification

This module forms the basis onto which all other courses are built. It introduces readers to the language of science and gives a detailed look at how animals are divided up into their different groups; this allows the student to subsequently deduce the relatedness of different animals, just on the basis of their names. The second course outlines the origin of Life, evolution and natural selection.

Module 2: Invertebrates

This module introduces the student to spiders, scorpions, insects, ticks, mites, molluscs, millipedes and many other of the smaller creatures present in African ecosystems.

Module 3: Amphibians

There is only one component in this module. It provides an introduction to the Vertebrate Class of Amphibia, and focuses on the only order endemic to South Africa - the frogs.

Module 4: Reptiles

Turtles, terrapins, tortoises, lizards, snakes and crocodiles are examined in four concise components, beginning with an overall introduction to the whole group. South Africa is home to over 150 reptile species.

Module 5: Fish

This concise module simply provides an introduction to the enormous subject of Ichthyology. It is included here for the sake of completeness, since fish are a very important vertebrate class of animals. A basic look at their general structure, senses, physiology and types found in South Africa makes up the one component in this module.

Module 6: Birds

This module covers all aspects of birds including their origins, flight, biology and ecology. It also contains several courses focusing on birds of prey.

Module 7: Mammals

This module contains 20 individual components and covers: an introduction to mammals, small mammals, bats, carnivores, primates, unusual mammals, antelope and aquatic mammals. However, the main focus of this module is on individual species. We take in an in-depth look at Lion, Leopard, lephant, rhino, buffalo, zebra, Suricates, Hippo, Cheetah, hyena, Giraffe and wild dog.

Module 8: Ethology - Animal behaviour

This module offers 7 courses that provide a substantial grounding to the fascinating subject of animal behaviour. The components detail: social organisation, foraging, predatory behaviour, communication, grooming, play, sleeping, territoriality, fighting, submission, dominance, anti-predator behaviour, sexual behaviour and parental care.

Module 9: Botany

The study of plants is offered in 5 components. An introduction and general overview of plants broadens out into separate components dealing with lower plants, grasses and trees.

Module 10: Ecology

Eight concise modules provide a detailed introduction to the very diverse field of ecology. The structural and functional aspects of ecosystems are examined as are the topics of climate, weather, geomorphology, geology and soil. A look at savannah ecology and ecosystem dynamics rounds off a comprehensive module.

Module 11: Game ranging skills, part 1

This module comprises 11 non-career courses. It includes the exciting topics of anticipating animal behaviour, approaching dangerous game and bush navigation. First aid for snake bite, astronomy and habitat management each get an in-depth look. The module concludes with an enquiry into environmental sensitivity, ecotourism, impact tourism and sustainable tourism.

Module 12: Game ranging skills, part 2

The seven courses that conclude the qualification are specifically aimed at the potential game ranger, but are equally applicable for the potential tourist. You never know when you might need to lend a hand. These components examine dangerous game rifles, game vehicles and other equipment, game walks and drives, dealing with guests, communication and working in the industry.

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FGASA Exam Preparation Course

prices start from ZAR 935

This Module consists of 12 Components covering the FGASA Examination curriculum on levels 1-3. This Course only contains a wide variety of practice questions. We do not provide the answers for these questions; the answers are derived from the Game Ranging Course.

Question subjects

  • Classification & Taxonomy Questions
  • Invertebrate Questions
  • mphibian Questions
  • Reptile Questions
  • Fish Questions
  • Bird Questions
  • Mammal Questions
  • Animal Behaviour Questions
  • Botany Questions
  • Ecology Questions
  • Game Ranging Practical Skills Questions
  • Game Ranging Soft Skills Questions

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Trail Guide

prices start from ZAR 1,110

Learning how to deal with "high profile" (potentially dangerous) wildlife and how to identify animal behaviour, as well as basic trail etiquette. Learn how to handle weapons, how to use them and when to use them, as well as being able to identify high risk situations and how to get out of them safely.

Module 1: High profile animal species

All animals should be considered potentially dangerous, the most commonly accepted concept of a dangerous animal is one that commonly injures or kills human beings. Due to the possibility of giving these animals "bad press" the politically correct term is now "high profile game species" .There are ten such animals that are said to fit this description and these ten are all studied here in detail.

Module 2: Animal behaviour – a trails guide perspective

Although Animal Behaviour is the topic of this module, it must be clarified that specific behaviourisms highlighted are specific to the High Profile Game Species. We look into the 7 key patterns of behaviour, 3 main organs of expression as indicators of intent and the Comfort Zone Concept.

Module 3: Weapons & weapon handling

For many a guide, their rifle is their ubiquitous companion and the importance of its role in a successful guiding career cannot be over emphasized. To this end, we cover the following topics: A short History of Firearms, The Rifle, Ammunition and Ballistics, Weapon Handling (Safety, Sighting, Practice and Cleaning), Kill Zones and Shooting an Animal.

Module 4: Trail procedures & etiquette

It is the guide's responsibility to check the following before departing on a trail: weather, camp security, guests and route selection, all of these factors are highlighted, as is the pre–trail briefing and the potentially fatal phenomenon known as the Dickybird Syndrome. This component will prepare you.

Module 5: Case studies/Situations/Encounters.

There is only one way to gain bush experience, spend time in the bush. This module does not attempt to replace bush experience, but rather to prepare guides for a wide variety of encounters, scenarios and situations. These are roughly divided into animal, area, kill site and deadly force scenarios. However no mater how prepared you might be, every situation will be different.

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Snakes & Reptiles of the Lowveld

prices start from ZAR 1,160

Learn to identify the snakes and reptiles of the area, as well as how to spot and treat snake bites. Look specifically at certain species, as well as learning traits and signs of these animals.

Module 1: Reptilia (the reptiles)

This module provides an introduction to reptiles in general and Southern African reptiles in particular.

Module 2: Chelonia (shield reptiles)

Three components comprise our examination of the shield reptiles, commonly known as the tortoises and terrapins. We begin with an introduction to the group and follow with two components inspecting these animals at the species level. Since we restrict this course to those endemic to the Lowveld region, we discuss six tortoise species and four terrapin species.

Module 3: Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards & chameleons

This component takes a 17 page look at the larger reptiles. We explore an introduction to crocodiles, the Nile Crocodile, Monitor Lizards, the Nile Monitor, the Rock Monitor, chameleons in general, the Flap-neck Chameleon and the Transvaal Dwarf Chameleon.

Module 4: Serpentes (the snakes)

This is the main module of the course. 10 components that closely explore all the snake families before delving into 68 species accounts representing the snake biodiversity of the Highveld and Lowveld regions of South Africa.

Module 5: The e-Book snake identification software

This course was derived from an e-book created by Dewsbury Crafts. The e-book is basically a reptile, and specifically snake, identification software package. This section provides a demo of what can be expected from this software available directly from Dewsbury Crafts.

Module 6: First aid for snake bites

Borrowed from the Game Ranging Course, this component provides a concise and rational approach to the diagnosis, treatment and patient management of a snake-bite victim. It deals with assessing if a person has been bitten, assessing if envenomation has occurred, basic life support, general support and evacuation. The different venom types, their symptoms, effects and snake species responsible.

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Animal Tracks & Signs of Africa

prices start from ZAR 1,935

An introduction into the basics of tracking wildlife – from tracks and droppings to bones, feeding sites and nests. Learn to identify animals just from their tracks, discover where to look, what to look for and understand what you're looking at.

Module 1: Introduction

The informative introductory module with a single introductory component. It never ceases to amaze us how little many farmers, hunters, professional conservationists and others who spend considerable time in a rural environment know about the activities of the creatures around them. This tells us where to look, how to look, what to look for and how to understand what we're looking at.

Module 2: Paw tracks

Six components are required to fully cover this topic. First separated by the presence or absence of claw marks in the tracks, paws with claws are thus divided up into five distinct class sizes.

Module 3: Hands, feet, three-toed & big game tracks

This module contains a mixed variety of species and track types. We examine the hands and feet or primates, three toed species and big game such as the elephant, rhinoceros and Hippopotamus.

Module 4: Hoof tracks

The vast majority of mammalian terrestrial species fall into this category. We differentiate species by cloven and non-cloven species; and further divide the cloven hoofed animals into a large, medium and small; each group merits its own component.

Module 5: Bird tracks

This module examined bird tracks divisible by webbed and non-webbed feet.

Module 6: Tramline trails & undulating tracks

A tramline indicates that the tracks of the right and left sides of the animal are clearly separated, but form a unit of a double line. This track may or may not have a central dragline caused by the animal tail. Undulating tracks are single seemingly random tracks.

Module 7: Droppings

There are a remarkable array and variety and they are divided here into four components based specifically upon their differing shapes which may be: cylindrical, lozenge, grooved, pancake and large barrel –shaped; spherical or larger cylindrical; sausage-shaped, pointed, tapered and segmented; mixed shape, kidney-shaped, bird pellets and liquid.

Module 8: Feeding signs

Some feeding signs may remain visible for long periods, for example a tree pushed over by an elephant to gain access to pods, but a lion kill may be reduced to a few large bones in a matter of hours by Spotted Hyenas, Black-backed Jackals and vultures. Feeding signs may include claw and tooth marks, holes in trees or in the ground, remains of prey, damaged fruit and other plant parts.

Module 9: Other tracks & signs

Indicators of "Passing Wildlife" range from the overt to the covert, but all can be discovered when you know what to look for and where.

Module 10: Nests, shelters & holes

Many species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and invertebrate construct or make use of some form of shelter. These shelters may be permanent, such as those made by termites, or temporary, as is the case with nearly all bird nests. The location of the shelter, materials used if any, size and structure can all give clues to the identity of the builder or occupier.

Module 11: Skulls

This module takes an in depth look at skulls, as they might be found in the field. Nine separate components cover 110 specific species accounts. Each account includes an annotated photograph.

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Marine Biology for Guides, Divers & Enthusiasts

prices start from ZAR 2,085

Learn all you need to know to start to become a marine biologist. Learn about habitats and ecology, where you can find certain species, what to look for, and the effect of humans on marine life.

Module 1: The Blue Planet

This module containing a single introductory component briefly describes the fundamental forces of nature. It provides a basic grasp of taxonomy and a brief description of evolution. Examine the ocean environment on earth, the forces at work on our coastline, describe the properties of seawater and its impact on humans, and illustrate the different habitats associated with the sea and coast.

Module 2: The habitats

6 Individual components cover 6 specific zones and 9 defined habitats. These include: coral reef, rocky shores, sandy beaches, open sea, lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, dunes and dune forests.

Module 3: Marine wildlife part 1

This is the first of 4 modules that covers marine animal life. In this section we look at Porifera (sea sponges), Cnidaria (jellyfish, blue bottles), unsegmented worms, Polychaeta, Arthropoda, Crustacea, Mollusca and Brachiapoda (Lamp shells).

Module 4: Marine wildlife part 2

This module explores some very diverse groups of marine invertebrates, some well known like the starfish, others so abundant they are seen on beaches and rocky shores daily, but never recognised like the Bryozoa. In all more than 100 species across several classes are examined.

Module 5: Marine wildlife part 3

This module covers the sharks and rays as well as the fish of the rocky shore, coral reefs and pelagic zones.

Module 6: Marine wildlife part 4

This component will familiarise the marine guide (and enthusiast) with the most common marine reptiles, birds and mammals in Southern African waters. We examine their basic structure, explain their feeding mechanisms, recount their reproductive processes and discuss their economical and ecological aspects.

Module 7: Marine plants

This module contains a single concise component and examines the oceans most prolific plants - the seaweeds.

Module 8: Marine survival

This module takes the Field Guide into the sea and coastal regions. It looks at the natural forces and environments that shape this coastline and how it influences our survival in it. Reflect on the marine wildlife, their threats and dangers and how we can make use of them. The focus is always on safety and the last component looks at sea and coastal afflictions like motion sickness and drowning.

Module 9: Marine ecology

This module examines marine food chains and food webs, biodiversity in the marine environment in addition to community ecology in the marine perspective.

Module 10: Humankind & the oceans

This module looks principally at coastal management and the sustainability of the South African coasts given the current demands imposed upon them commercially and recreationally.

Module 11: Marine guiding skills

This module advises and teaches how to plan, construct, and execute a professional marine outing in the following components: The marine guiding plan; dive and snorkel guiding; boat-based marine guiding; land-based marine guiding. On conclusion of the module, the prospective guide should be well equipped to offer professional service.

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The Guide's Guide to Guiding

prices start from ZAR 1,410

The basics of becoming an amazing game guide – including learning how to host game drives, bush walks, and photogenic safaris. Discover how to be the perfect game drive host, as well as learn basic skills in first aid and camp etiquette.

Module 1: What is guiding all about?

This module functions as a comprehensive introduction to the broad and diverse field of field guiding.

Module 2: The guiding industry

A close look at the tourism industry, where to begin, what you need to know and how to prepare are the subjects that make up this module.

Module 3: The game drive

The field guide has numerous responsibilities and a long list of job descriptions. However the principle task of the majority of guide is the game drive. This crucial topic is examined in parts within this module.

Module 4: The bush walk

When guides are not conducting game drives, their second most common responsibility is the bush walk. This entails taking a small group of clients walking through what is frequently dangerous game territory. The important topic is covered in a series of three components detailing: walking safaris, walking equipment and "The Walk".

Module 5: Principles, etiquette & medical matters

As mentioned above, guiding is a multi-faceted activity. This module examines three aspects of the profession that are frequently ignored, but in reality are as important as the game drive or bush walk. These are the subjects of guiding principles, camp etiquette and a sound knowledge of advanced first aid.

Module 6: Photography, odds & ends

It is almost guaranteed that your clients will come with the intention of taking that unforgettable safari photograph. It is your job (among many others) to be able to facilitate this. Therefore you are required to have a sound working knowledge of the basics of photography as well as its application to the safari situation. Female and freelance guides are also examined in this module.

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prices start from ZAR 1,285

Learn all about the sun and the night sky, including its history and how it has affected human life for millennia. Explore the theories and reasons behind Earth's habitation and gain a greater knowledge of the planets and solar system, as well as a brief insight into the galaxy as a whole.

Module 1: Earth & moon

Get to know some of the exotic myths and legends associated with early astronomy, the moon and Earth. Understand how many of these beliefs have been changed into the realities of modern science.

Module 2: Sun & planets (solar system)

Planets and the solar system are fascinating to live in, but Earth appears to be the only one with any form of life. Explore the mystery of the sun, planets and "other" worlds and discover the possibilities of extraterrestrial life in the galaxy and beyond.

Module 3: Stars & galaxies

In a seemingly infinite universe, twinkling, fuzzy balls of light with unimaginable power at vast distances tempt the fantasy of the intrepid space-farer. Join the astronomers and scientists as they explore this breathtaking panorama with an up to date knowledge.

Module 4: Measurement & equipment

With instruments of wonder, view the universe from platforms in the sky through different eyes. As astronomy has evolved, both the measurement of distant objects and spacecraft have become more extraordinary than science fiction.

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