Shamwari Field Guide Training Program

By June 28, 2019 August 20th, 2019 Certified Guiding Courses

The Volunteer World International Ranger Field Guide Training at Shamwari Private Game Reserve offers one of the best locations available for students to train towards becoming a qualified Field Guide or Game Ranger surrounded by some of South Africa’s most stunning scenery

Program Outline         Location          Dates and Rates          Ranger Diaries          Gallery 

Program Outline         Location          Dates and Rates          Gallery

Program Outline

The VWI ‘Game Ranger’ or Field Guide Training at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, custom developed through our in-house, professional Guide Training Academy, offers students South Africas premium opportunity to gain the internationally recognised FGASA NQF2 guiding qualification and all that is required to begin their career as a Field Guide.

Our 63-day, fully comprehensive course endorsed by FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa) and set to the backdrop of stunning and world renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve, offers students the exceptional opportunity to train and become officially qualified Field Guides or Game Rangers under the expert tuition and mentorship of our highly experienced and respected training staff. Owing to the location of the course, our custom developed structure and quality of the training supplied, students, upon successful completion gain an influential qualification recognised not only in South Africa but well beyond our borders also!

Whether you are a gap year student, career break professional or someone looking to begin their career as a Field Guide, our custom designed course offers the experience of a lifetime for all and so much more beyond!

Our custom developed, FGASA endorsed (Field Guides Association South Africa) course at Shamwari Private Game Reserve offers all the necessary training and support to ensure that candidates are in a position to excel after successful completion of the 63-day program and eligible to receive the internationally recognised FGASA level 1(NQF 2) qualification. Several aspects including further accreditation to the PFTC (Professional Firearm Training Council) for firearm handling, First Aid, 4X4 driving, snake handling amongst others are included by VWI as part of the training to give participants a head start on all the incumbent qualifications that are required to start a successful career in field guiding.

The participation age limit is 18 years of age and previous experience in the field is not required but all applicants do need to have a good understanding of written and spoken English and be in possession of a valid international driver’s license (manual or ‘stick shift’) or local code 08/B driver’s license. The only other requirements are a passion for conservation, fauna and flora and an ability and willingness to interact and pass on knowledge to others!

Our program is operated over a 63-day period on scheduled start dates throughout the year with each course divided into two main components, theory and practical learning of which the below elements are covered:

Theory: Lectures are undertaken with regularity to support further practical work and may be conducted in a classroom or outdoor environment. Subjects covered in (but not limited to) the course are as follows:

  • Creating a guided nature experience
  • Geology
  • Weather and Climate
  • Astronomy
  • Ecology
  • The Biomes
  • Taxonomy
  • Plants and Grasses
  • Arthropods
  • Fish and Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation management
  • Historical human habitation

Practical: Regular game drives and programs designed to develop all the practical skills and exposure necessary for students to then be able to effectively and knowledgeably conduct a first rate guided experience and the final elements required to achieve the FGASA NQF2 Guiding Qualification.


Shamwari Private Game Reserve, nr Alicedale, South Africa

Shamwari, one of the worlds most famous private game reserves, offers its pristine scenery and abundance of natural biodiversity to form the perfect base for all of our students learning. From regular sightings of Africa’s famous ‘Big 5’ to the huge range of bird species and multiple specific floral biomes within its extensive boundaries, there really is no better location to train as a field guide within South Africa!

Malaria free and situated just a little over an hours drive from the tourist, nightlife and shopping mecca of Port Elizabeth, students choosing the VWI Field Guide Training Program at Shamwari Private Game Reserve are able to enjoy the very best South Africa has to offer for all they could ever wish for!

Rates and Dates


Course 1: May 13th to July 14th
Course 2: July 22nd to September 22nd
Course 3: October 14th to December 15th

9 Weeks


Course 1: January 6th to March 8th
Course 2: March 16th to May 17th
Course 3: May 25th to July 26th
Course 4: August 3rd to October 4th
Course 5: October 12th to December 13th

9 Weeks

Please note, under current regulations, only persons over the age of 21 years of age will be eligible to qualify for a South African PrDP (professional driving permit), as is required to legally transport passengers who are members of the public or guest for an income, as a qualified FGASA level 1 Field Guide.

What's Included:
  • A dedicated professional and highly qualified training team
  • Accommodation at our stunning ‘Red Roofs Manor House’, directly adjacent to the Shamwari Reserve
  • Full time services of a camp manager
  • All course fees and registrations
  • Food, tea, coffee and juice throughout your stay
  • WiFi access
  • Laundry service (once per week)
  • 4×4, first aid and snake handling training
  • Uniforms (2 x shirts and cap)
Not Included:
  • International Flights and Visas
  • Airport Transfers (transfers can be arranged as an optional extra if required at R800 one way)
  • Gifts, entertainment and beverages (unless otherwise detailed)
  • Travel Insurance (Required)
  • Weekend excursions (if required)
Ranger Diaries

Looking for insights into the life of our trainee field guides onsite as they live and learn at Shamwari?  Look no further, VWI are proud to bring you regular interviews, sightings news and much, much more as part of our ongoing ‘Ranger Diaries’ series.

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