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Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days

Eastern Cape, South Africa
£2,355 (60 days)

Ref: AC007

Make the most of this fantastic opportunity to be part of something amazing and lasting. Shamwari is a well-established and mature reserve. It is one of the largest Game Reserves in the Eastern Cape at approximately 25,000 hectares and one of the largest Private Conservation Initiatives in Southern Africa. It is home to the famous Big 5 and a host of other species, the goal of the reserve is to conserve these species and their environment with the ambition of establishing long-term sustainable solutions to the conflict between the modern world and the natural environment of the region. The reserve itself represents five out of seven of South Africa's biomes, an amazing concentration and reflective of the wonderful diversity that the reserve enjoys. This course offers the best in Ranger Field Guide Training for entry-level candidates wanting to enter the industry as a professional field guide or for the enthusiastic amateur looking to build on the interest and passion in the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful guide.

Who can join: 18 years and over
Accommodation: Shared Safari Bedded Tents
Transfer time: approx. 45 minutes
Pick up Point: Port Elizabeth Airport
Meals: Meals included
Volunteer numbers:

Duration & Fees

Price on Application

Prices valid from the 01 Jan 2015 until the 30 Jun 2015

60 days£2,355

Start Dates

2014 Dates: 28 Jul - 25 Sep | 29 Sep - 27 Nov

2015 Dates: 19 Jan – 19 Mar | 23 Mar – 21 May | 25 May – 23 Jul | 27 Jul – 24 Sep | 28 Sep – 26 Nov


30% of course fee is required as a deposit at time of booking – the balance is due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • laundry service once a week
  • 3 meals daily
  • Access to tea, coffee and juice
  • Wine tasting and hospitality element
  • Study manual
  • FGASA practical assessment and exam fees
  • Training, Theoretical lectures and Practical training
  • Snake handling training
  • First Aid Level 1
  • 4x4 Driving Course
  • FGASA Weapon Handling Assessments (BRH)
  • SASSETA Rifle Certificate
  • FGASA membership and 1 year subscription
  • Limited internet access for research on presentation topic only
  • Return transfers to and from Port Elizabeth Airport

What's not included

  • Snacks
  • Beverages other than those listed above
  • Internet access other than that described above
  • All items of a personal nature, travel goods, clothes
  • Any visas required

The course is an intense experience and offers the best in theoretical teaching and practical outcomes based experience for participants who are keen to establish themselves as a professional within the industry or for those who would like to experience a more intense learning curve in their wildlife knowledge and appreciation. Those that go on to achieve the competencies that are taught during the course will have this achievement recognised by the award of the FGASA Level 1 qualification - an internationally recognised qualification and the first step into the Field Guiding industry. The additional skills that are taught on this unique course are invaluable extras when it comes to achieving entry into a competitive job market, these include - weapons handling, first aid, 4x4 driving, snake handling and wine tasting.

Course Content

The course is divided into two main components:

Practical Element:
The content of the course is guided by the FGASA syllabus to ensure that participants achieve the necessary competencies during their time on the course. You will take part in and conduct practical excursions into the reserve itself and surrounding areas on nearly every day you are on the course. Depending upon the operational requirements of that element of the course and the prevailing conditions on the day, these elements are either conducted from homologated game-viewing vehicles or on foot.

Theoretical Element:
Lectures may be conducted either in the classroom or outside in the biggest classroom of all - the wonderful African environment. This element of the course does require work and the pass rate for the theoretical element of the FGASA Level 1 is approximately 75%, a successful outcome in this element is required to permit the participant to progress on to the practical assessment.

Subjects Covered:

  • Field guiding as a profession
  • Creating a guided nature experience
  • Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Weather and Climate
  • Ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • Biomes of South Africa
  • Botany and Grasses
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Introduction to Conservation Management and Historical Human Habitation
  • Hospitality - includes Wine Tasting
  • Weapon Handling

A few student comments on what they enjoyed most on the course: 

Finding the leopard and the rhino darting; the night drives;  learning all about different cultures and the local community; I loved finding out about the animals from the rangers who were brilliant; working with the vets and game drives on the reserve; learning so much about the different capture techniques and how much organisation is involved with the capture of animals; seeing the warthogs and darting the rhino and lion and walking up to the cheetah site was an amazing experience and we got hands-on experience that I would not get at another place; being on the reserve and gaining knowledge from the rangers; the whole course was amazing - once in a lifetime, I hope to come back!

Extra Information

Participants are not required to have previous field experience, just a willingness to apply themselves and learn in the natural environment. Participants do need to be in possession of a valid driver's license (manual or stick-shift vehicles) to permit them to take part in the 4x4 element of the course. A passion for wildlife and the environment and an aptitude for disseminating information to people reflective of the participant's passion for the subject will stand candidates in good stead.

Participants FGASA registration will be done on arrival at the course.

NB - under current regulations in South Africa, only persons over the age of 21 years of age will be eligible to qualify for a Professional Driving Permit, which is required to legally transport members of the public or guests as a qualified FGASA Level 1 Field Guide.

During the 60 day course, there are two breaks scheduled over weekends which participants can use to explore the Eastern Cape and surrounding areas. The course is intensive and does require participants to study in their free time in order to achieve a successful outcome.

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into Port Elizabeth Airport, where they will be met on arrival and transferred to the project. The project is approximately 45 minutes drive from Port Elizabeth airport.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can arrange any flight requirements that you have upon request.

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Eastern Cape, South Africa, Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 DaysEastern Cape, South Africa, Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 DaysAccommodation is provided in 7 spacious en suite tent units, which sleep 3 people per tent, the en suite facilities are shared with the other occupants of your tent. Individual study desks and cupboard space are provided for each participant. During their stay, participants may get the opportunity to experience sleep outs in the bush, which are an amazing experience.

There is a communal tent with kitchen area, dining area, a work station and an outdoor boma area.

Participants are provided with three meals a day. These are either served at the facility or taken as pre-packed meals depending upon the scheduled activities for the day. Some specific dietary requirements can be catered for with advanced notice - please contact us with any specific requests. A cooked breakfast is served once a week, generally on a Friday.

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.


For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest

South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

Shamwari course

This course was truly amazing and I loved every minute of it. The instructors were very friendly, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The course is well structured and I learnt and saw so much over the 60 days. Its an experience I'll never forget. 

I managed to get my FGASA level one :) I particularly enjoyed my vehicle getting chased by lions on my assessment drive.

Jennifer, aged 26, Scotland (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)

Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days

It was two fantastic months which I will never forget.  We saw something amazing every single day.

Jonas, Denmark aged 20 (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)

Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days

Aside from the academic challenge and general knowledge gained the snake handling, rifle training, 4x4 course and tracking were great!

Brett, USA (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)

Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days

Well structured course – thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it - the trainers were excellent.

Brian, UK (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)

Hot off the Facebook Press
Yvette van Kempen : Dit zou wel 'another' level zijn, mooi vervolg op mijn voorgaande game ranger cursus...
Amanzi Travel : Sounds like a perfect compliment Yvette!. If you fancy enhancing your game ranger skills further, this would be an excellent course to gain your qualification :)
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