We do not just want to train nature guides, we want to train exceptional guides, guides with unparalleled understanding of our planet and her ecosystems, guides that can interpret the magic of a butterfly opening its wings with as much enthusiasm as the magnificence of a herd of elephants crossing a river, guides who can use their time with tourists to spread the conservation message, guides who can become future conservation leaders, guides who can open people's eyes to the power of mother nature and wilderness. But this course is also so much more, it's an opportunity for personal growth, for learning new skills and and an experience of a lifetime.

Why Train With Us

Don and I are doing a nature guide course and part of the training requires us to go into the bush on wilderness trails. I feel completely honored and privileged to be doing this course and am in the process of learning so much from some truly amazing people. ~ Sharlene Versveld (April 2017 Graduate)

  • We go beyond the minimum 50 days training and minimum "core modules" 
  • Our training is designed to draw on the legacy of the great pioneering conservationists Dr Ian Player
  • Our field training and wilderness experiences are arguably some of the most exciting and authentic field training opportunities.
  • With a 60 year track record and a globally recognized organisation, you can be assured of industry recognition and safety at the highest level 
  • Residential or non-residential options / part time or full time
  • Some of the most experienced trainers in the business 
  • Our training prepares you for the industry and work in tourism / nature guiding sector with focused training around your career opportunities and setting yourself apart in the job market
  • Connections to a global network of wilderness and like-minded sister organisations 
  • Excellent value for money - comparatively speaking, our training costs are extremely competitive.
  • Our course runs over 90 days, almost a month longer than most other courses on offer at similar rates.
  • Small groups - we always have a maximum of 10 people per course. It is advised to apply early to ensure your space.

"I never thought that I'd learn as much as I have in such a short space of time! We had incredible lecturers and guides and our time in the Wilderness was soul enriching. I am so happy that I decided to do this course with The Wilderness Leadership School and I'm both excited and fully prepared to take my next step as a nature guide" ~ Demi Mitchell, April 2017 Graduate

With over sixty years experience and arguably some of the best wilderness guides in the industry, with the Wilderness Leadership School you are assured of training of the highest quality and unrivaled practical guiding experiences, we go way beyond minimum requirements.

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This course is ideally suited to anyone wishing to enter the lodge or guiding business at a professional level and can be completed part time or full time. The FGASA Level I (NQF II) Guide Training Course Includes:

  • All practical training / field sessions in a Big 5 Game Reserve environment (Tembe Elephant Park & iMfolozi)
  • "Leave No Trace" training / Wilderness Trail experience in the iMfolozi Game Reserve Wilderness Area
  • All lectures / theoretical training, transport, meals and accommodation
  • First Aid Level 1 certificate 
  • Weapons handling competency
  • Leave no trace awareness certification 
  • Tidal Tao Snorkel certification
  • All assessments and final assessment preparation 
  • All FGASA membership fees and registrations
  • Lectures, subject matter experts and ongoing access to our trainers and staff (post training) via our various alumni platforms

Upon completing this course successfully, you will be allowed to work as a registered guide in most nature reserves around Southern Africa with a recognized high standard of training and field experience. (Please note that you will need to be 21 years or older to get a public driving permit)

Modules which we cover include: (Several of these are in additional to the minimal FGASA requirements - in bold)

  • Creating a guided nature experience
  • Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Weather and Climate
  • Ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • The Biomes of Southern Africa
  • Botany and Grasses
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation Management
  • Historical Human Habitation
  • Marine Snorkel Guide Basics
  • Wilderness Ethics & Leave No Trace Certification 
  • Wilderness Facilitation, Psychology and  Soft Skills 
  • Tracking and advanced bush skills 
  • Weapons Handling 
  • Advanced Cultural Understanding 
  • Guest relations 
  • Career Guidance and Tourism Entrepreneurial Opportunities 
  • Environmental Education Facilitation

Practical Training

Our practical training includes a range of short day outings (for theoretical modules) but also includes a range compulsory longer field outings (for part time and full time students) - this is the really fun, valuable and exciting stuff. Our practical training offers experiences that few people will ever get to have. Including sleeping under the stars in the wilderness, doing night watch duty around the campfire and getting in touch with nature on trail in the same special way Dr. Ian Player designed it over 60 years ago. 

These practicals include: 

  • 5 day wilderness trail experiences in iMfolozi Game Reserve Wilderness Area, including transport and meals from Durban. Possibly one of the most special and unforgettable experiences a guide can have. Here you will learn valuable tracking skills, leave no trace principles and wilderness ethics.
  • Half the course period is dedicated to practical, in the field training in Tembe Elephant reserve in Zululand - this is where you learn valuable bush skills, tracking, how to deal with potentially dangerous wildlife, and skills for interpreting the environment around you. These practicals include transport, accommodation, and meals
  • Subject matter specialist lectures and day outings, including transport for practical outings 
  • Level 1 First Aid Certificate 
  • Snorkel (AUSI) training, marine life and ocean skills
  • Weapons handling competency - (Field and Shooting Range) 

Students must be available for the specified dates for trails and practical training (for non residential / part time students). Please read our training prospectus for more details on our training, venue and program. Click here to download PDF

Apply here

Dates and Costs

Course costs

  • 2018  (September intake) Residential students R52 000
  • 2018 (September intake) Non residential students or part time students R41 000
  • 2019 (January intake) Residential students R52 000
  • 2019 (January intake) Non residential students R41 000
  • International Students R61 000 (for 3 months, full board, airport transfers and induction / cultural immersion) 


Our next intake for full time students is the 3rd September and runs through till early December 2018. Although we do accept registrations at any time providing you are available for practical field training and wilderness trail training dates as detailed. We keep our groups small, so you are advised to apply early.

January 2019 dates: 20 January - 18 April

We can arrange customised training courses for groups of 5 or more people at any date.

Download Course Prospectus Here

Apply here

Enquire / Apply Now

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    +27 (0)31 462 8642 or +27 (0) 83 2255960

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Download this file (2018-Guide Training Prospectus .pdf)2018-Guide Training Prospectus .pdf[2018 Training Prospectus ]3047 kB

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