Blaze your own trail

Field guide training

If spending your days learning how to read the language of animal tracks and your nights listening to lions roar next to the campfire sounds like your dream job – if you’re passionate about wildlife, exploration, and adventure – then you’ve come to the right place.

Join us at Bushwise, our field guide training campus in the heart of the African bushveld. 

We are an accredited Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) training provider with the highest success rate in the FGASA exams, and with the most sought-after graduates in the industry. All Bushwise courses and internships have been set up by expert trainers and practitioners with extensive knowledge and experience in the field: in program logistics, field guiding and the ecotourism industry.

Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

What is field guide training all about?

Field guide training
Our course
Bushwise’s story

What is a field guide?

Being a field guide is largely about guiding and interacting with people from all over the world, sharing information and interpreting the wildlife conservation sector, while keeping ethical practices in mind at all times. A professional field guide also specialises in things like 4×4 driving, understanding animal behaviour and tracking, as well as studying the environment in order to grow the conservation sector. In many cases, field guides assist game rangers with their tasks – providing additional support and helping to maintain the natural environment.

Why train with GVI and Bushwise?

Between 2012 and 2018, our students’ results were the highest compared to other long-term training providers in the area. Over 90% of our students passed their FGASA level 1 exam, which is unprecedented in any industry. Our graduates are highly sought after by leading South African employers (Molo Molo, Londolozi and Senalala are but a few on the list) – especially as we recently won the “Top Rated Internship Program” at the 2017 GoAbroad Awards.

Bushwise is now providing an industry first: offering all FGASA Field Guide Course graduates who have completed their placement a complimentary job recruitment benefit to help jumpstart their careers. As soon as they have completed their training, Bushwise Recruitment provides candidates with the opportunity to be directly appointed to a permanent job at one of the many partner lodges we have built and maintained solid relationships with since 2006.

GVI offers FGASA accredited programs on the Mahlahla campus at Bushwise Field Guides in Limpopo, South Africa. The FGASA Professional Field Guide Course runs for 23 weeks, with an optional 6-month work placement, and a guaranteed job offer for South African students.

The course was created to develop students into highly skilled professionals in the areas of field guiding, conservation, research, adventure tourism or lodge management. We provide a well-rounded, specialised education which focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of wildlife conservation and guiding. The curriculum also includes practical application of subjects such as conservation, ecology, reserve management, geology and animal behaviour.

GVI’s sister company, Bushwise, is a Field Guide College in the heart of South Africa’s bushveld. Bushwise is an accredited FGASA training provider with the highest success rate in passing the FGASA exams – and securing post-internship field guiding jobs.

Co-founder Sophie Newman joined GVI in its infancy, where she set up and ran the GVI Karongwe Wildlife Expedition. Back then, GVI consisted of Sophie (in the field) and the founder of GVI, Richard Walton, who manned the office in the UK. As GVI grew Sophie went on to set up and run wildlife and community conservation programs across Africa. These included predator projects in Venetia, South Africa, community and marine conservation programs in Kenya, and SANParks internship programs, to name a few.

During her eight years as a Regional Director for GVI, Sophie struggled to find staff with the qualifications, skills, and ethical professionalism required by GVI. There was clearly a great need to assist young passionate conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts in getting these skills and qualifications to start their career. This need led to Richard and Sophie setting up Bushwise Field Guides. Their vision was to develop a high-quality, all-inclusive training course, which offered a platform for students to gain the relevant qualifications, practical experience and importantly, develop the necessary professional ethics and soft skills.

Bushwise ran its first course back in 2006 at Mahlahla campus. Looking back to the early days, while Bushwise’s ethos and vision has remained the same, the program has evolved tremendously. Over the years we have focused our attention on the long-term courses, which provide the best platform to gain the quantity and quality of knowledge and skills needed. We work closely with the lodges to develop and tweak the program as the industry changes. This ensures our students get the necessary experience – that adheres to the lodges’ standards and benefits their employment opportunities. We have added numerous qualifications, fine-tuned the training, refined our soft skills development, and built an exceptional Bushwise team.

We continue to work proactively with the lodges in this ever-changing industry, to ensure our Bushwise course is the most relevant and of the highest standard. We also guarantee that our graduates are of the highest possible distinction. Not only do we have a lasting relationship with our alumni – Bushwise plans to develop additional courses and programs to build on their skills and further their careers.

Book by 30 September 2022