FGASA - Field Guides Association of Southern Africa

What is FGASA?

FGASA stands for the Field Guides Association of southern Africa. It is a professional association that was established in 1992 to represent the interests of tourism guides and nature enthusiasts in southern Africa. FGASA promotes high standards of knowledge, professionalism, and ethical conduct among its members, who include safari guides, tour operators, and other professionals involved in nature-based and heritage or cultural tourism industries.

In order to achieve its goals, the organisation organically evolved into the training space. FGASA is an accredited CATHSSETA Training Provider and delivers training and assessments through a stable of FGASA delivery partners and FGASA Assessors.

To join the FGASA journey, whether it be for personal knowledge gain or professional career development, one needs to become a member of FGASA.

To become a member of FGASA, individuals need to first register with the organisation and enrol for one of the courses offered by FGASA. There are no prerequisite qualifications needed only a good command of spoken English. From there potential new members need to complete and pass their chosen qualification. This process involves being found competent in both theoretical and practical applications of the learning materials provided by FGASA. Once an individual has passed both the theoretical and practical components related to their qualification, they will become a fully incorporated member of FGASA.

Overall, FGASA plays a key role in promoting the responsible and sustainable development of nature-based, heritage and cultural tourism in southern Africa, while also contributing to the conservation of the region's natural resources, cultural history, and wildlife.

FGASA has proudly carved a significant professional career path for guides, particularly within the safari sector for safari and walking guides.

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Why join FGASA?

There are several reasons why someone might want to join FGASA:

  • Brand excellence: The FGASA brand is highly regarded and provides guides with career opportunities.
  • Professional Development: FGASA provides a range of training courses, workshops, and exams that enable members to improve their knowledge and skills as guides and nature enthusiasts. This can help members to enhance their career prospects and achieve their professional goals.
  • Networking Opportunities: As a member of FGASA, individuals can connect with other professionals in tourism, including guides, tour operators, recruiters, and conservationists. This can help to build relationships and create opportunities to share skills and knowledge, as well as collaborations within the industry. 
  • Recognition and Accreditation: FGASA membership is widely recognized as a mark of quality and professionalism in tourism sectors across Africa. Members who meet the organisation's standards and are found competent in their qualifications are awarded accreditation, which can help to differentiate them from others in the industry.
  • Advocacy and Representation: The organisation advocates for responsible, ethical, and sustainable tourism practices, and works to promote the conservation of the region's natural and cultural heritage, and wildlife.
  • Access to Resources and Support: FGASA gives members access to a range of resources and support services, including a comprehensive list of Mentors, Assessors, Specialist Training Delivery Partners, job listings, and advice on best practices.Retail benefits: FGASA has negotiated a series of retail benefits with several retail partners.Overall, joining FGASA can be a valuable investment for those passionate about nature, wildlife, cultural history, and who are seeking to build a career in the tourism sector of southern Africa.

How to join FGASA?

  • Learn about FGASA: Start by visiting the FGASA website (https://www.fgasa.co.za) to explore their programs, qualifications, and membership. Learn about the different qualifications, the training and how the FGASA qualifications set out a defined career path that encourages self-development and career growth. FGASA is a CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority) accredited Training Provider.
  • Create an account: Register for an account on the FGASA website. You will need to provide some personal information, including your name, contact information, and address.
  • Complete the application: Fill out the membership application form, providing all the required information and upload a head-shot photo of yourself. This is the image that will be used on your membership card.
  • Enrol for a FGASA qualification and pay the registration fee: The FGASA registration fee includes registration, a one-year membership subscription and the required learning materials for the course you have chosen. Note that to be a fully incorporated FGASA member you must enrol for and complete one of the qualifications offered by FGASA.
  • Complete the course and assessments: Attend the training program and complete all necessary course work, practical assessments, and written exams. This will help you gain the knowledge and skills required for your chosen FGASA qualification.
  • Theory Exams: Once you have worked through the relevant FGASA learner manuals and completed the compulsory workbooks you must then register, book, and pay for the relevant FGASA theory exam. FGASA offers written exams at National Sittings for all FGASA qualifications. Online exams are only available for the Nature Site Guide NQF2, the Trails Guide VPDA (Viewing Potentially Dangerous Animals) and ARH (Advanced Rifle Handling) (NQF2), Marine Nature Site Guide NQF2, and the FGASA Nature Enthusiast Non-guiding certificate.
  • Exam marking and moderation: All FGASA exams carry a minimum pass of 75%, if you score lower than this on your exam you will fail the theoretical component and will need to write again. If you score between 69% and 74% on your theoretical exam at one of the written National Sittings your exam will be automatically moderated to see if there are any extra marks that could help you pass. If you get 73% or 74% on an online exam you will be offered a moderation exam to help boost your mark.
  • Practical assessment: Once you have been found competent on your theory exam you will then need to book for your practical assessment with a FGASA Assessor. This may only be done in person and is site specific. It is a compulsory requirement to submit your fully completed workbook to your Assessor before the practical assessment. You will then deliver a guided experience while being assessed. Once the assessment is over, the Assessor will tell you if you have passed (been found competent) or if you have failed and need to redo it.
  • Receive your FGASA qualification: Upon a successful practical assessment, you will be awarded your FGASA qualification and be recognised as a member of the association.
  • Important Note: To legally guide in South Africa there are several additional requirements that need to be met. You can learn more about these on the FGASA website.

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Find Your Perfect Journey


Apprentice Field Guide Botswana Okavango Delta

Be part of a unique wilderness experience and gain rare knowledge about nature and basic skills of a real field guide while being surrounded by the unspoiled nature of the famous Okavango Delta! Your classroom – the biggest inland delta in the world – happens to be the perfect place for your basic training to become a ranger due to its different ecosystems and impressive wildlife.


Apprentice Field Guide Kenya

This is a 55-day field guide course in Kenya's Masai Mara, offering a FGASA-recognized and CATHSSETA-accredited field guide qualification. Participants learn practical and theoretical skills such as wilderness navigation, ecology, animal behavior, 4x4 all-terrain vehicle operation, and species identification, culminating in the FGASA Apprentice Field Guide exam.


Apprentice Field Guide Southern Africa

This FGASA endorsed, CATHSSETA accredited course is the entry level qualification for field guiding which encompasses vehicle-based guiding in dangerous and non-dangerous games areas. Once qualified, the guide is able to identify and interpret biodiverse elements of the natural environment. The guide will be able to conduct game drives for guests in a limited geographical area. The syllabus covers a broad spectrum of subjects including 4×4 Game Drive vehicle skills specific for game viewing, species identification, and tracking to mention a few.


Apprentice Trails Guide Botswana Okavango Delta

Equipped with a rifle and binoculars and together with your international team and an experienced guide, you will go on long hikes each day where you will experience the African bush in a unique way. Navigation and survival training, Mokoro and motorboat rides, tracking, stargazing, and sleep-outs in the bush are part of the course as well as lectures and presentations on zoology, ecology, and meteorology. You also get trained in handling a rifle properly – because a skilled Trails Guide must be able to lead safari tourists safely through the African bush by foot. The course is modular, enabling you to join the course for two or four weeks – at a time or in parts.


Apprentice Trails Guide Southern Africa

Do you fancy taking time-out from your normal routine? Are you dreaming about a great adventure in Africa? Then the Apprentice Trails Guide course is tailor-made for you. You will spend 28 memorable days either in the biodiversity of Makuleke, South Africa or Mashatu, Botswana, learning how vital safety is in the heart of the bush. Opt for nature training in a special place which provides the best conditions for an Apprentice Trails Guide course, thanks to the virtually unspoilt environment. Experienced instructors will educate you about the wonders of the African wilderness and help you to improve your Field Guide skills day by day.


Birding in the Bush Southern Africa

The birding course in South Africa and Botswana is a unique opportunity, no matter whether you are a passionate birder, looking to further yourself professionally or personally, or simply looking for a quite unique type of holiday. Open your eyes to African birdlife and get familiar with some of the smaller residents of the African wilderness. Come and discover the unique world of birds in a fascinating landscape with Natucate.


Professional Field Guide Course

The one-year Professional Field Guide training course is definitely our guiding course highlight: You will have an unforgettable experience in a unique natural environment and be given the official FGASA endorsed Professional Field Guide certificate. The majority of your trip will be spent under open skies, and every day will bring a new feeling of being close to nature. Take the time to train to be a professional field guide over 12 months.