28 Day Safari Guide Course - Botswana


Immerse yourself in Botswana's stunning natural beauty and learn about the wildlife and landscapes which surround you. The perfect experience for nature-lovers who want to find out more about Africa's animals and birds.

More than just a wildlife course, but more hands-on than a safari, you will have a bush holiday, witness amazing animal sitings and learn all about the environment. Spend a month immersed in the natural world, living in a wilderness camp in Botswana. The course will give you practical and theoretical knowledge of animals, birds, trees and ecology, and you will have a fantastic, hands-on African experience.

The Safari Guide course was developed in 1993, and was the first of its kind in the safari industry. It is for gap year students, mature travellers and African adventurers, who are passionate about nature and would like to get more in-depth experience and understanding of the animals and birds surrounding them. Participants enrol onto this course for a gap year experience or extended safari holiday.

You will undertake daily morning and evening activities, alternating between game walks and drives. As well as learning about wildlife, trees, reptiles and birds, you will also learn about camp management and help with the maintenance of equipment and vehicles. Depending on your camp, you may also undertake basic fire arms training.


This course is presented by one of the first and best providers of nature guide training in Africa. You will be based at some of South Africa’s finest private game reserves where, in addition to having amazing game viewing experiences, you will get a deep understanding of Africa’s iconic wildlife and learn about animal behaviour and ecology.

Quick Facts

Who can join: Anyone aged 16 years and over
How long is the programme: 28 days
Accommodation: Tent shared between two people (same sex). Single supplements available.
Transfer time: 6 hours
Pick up from: Johannesburg
Meals: 3 meals a day included
Course numbers: Up to 20
Start dates: Various start dates throughout 2017 and 2018
How much: from ZAR 46,500 (approx. US $3,495)

About the Programme

Every minute of this 28-day programme will be a learning experience! You will be immersed in nature and constantly exposed to every part of the African bush. Wild animals will walk through your unfenced campsite, and you will have a real wilderness adventure not experienced by ordinary tourists.

- Undertake game walks and drives accompanied by experienced professional trainers and guides
- The course provides an introduction for a career in field guiding and many other wildlife careers
- Immerse yourself in African wildlife and learn about the plants and animals, trees and birds
- Live in unfenced wilderness campsites surrounded by the sights and sounds of the bush

You will be based in camps in prime wildlife areas and partake in wilderness walks or game drives twice a day. Depending on which course you choose, you will be trained in one or two different game reserves, exposing you to a diversity of habitats and species. No other training provider can match this variety of training environments or frequency of practical activities.

What sort of things will I be doing?

You will study 16 topics during your course and cover theoretical and practical skills in wildlife guiding and conservation management, as well as learning about the wildlife which surrounds you.

The Safari Guide course covers:

- Introduction to the natural environment
- Guiding and radio procedures
- Ecology, geology and soils
- Astronomy
- Weather and climate
- Basic taxonomy
- Plants and grasses
- Insects
- Amphibians, fish and reptiles
- Birds
- Mammals
- Animal behaviour
- Identifying tracks and signs and basic tracking skills
- Habitat management
- Historical human habitation
- Basic Fire Arm Theory and Practical Shoot/Study Day (depending on camp)

Most students enrol for a more in-depth holiday experience or as part of their gap year travels. There is a practical assessment at the end of the course, but this is not compulsory. However, most students do choose to take it as it gives a sense of purpose while doing the course. At the end of the programme you will be given a certifcate of participation which will outline what you have covered.

Participants of any age over 16 who are able to walk more than 2km, are encouraged to enrol.

Base - Tuli Game Reserve

Where will I be based?

You will be based in the Land of Giants, in the Tuli Game Reserve, located at the confluence of the Limpopo and the Shashe Rivers, in the easternmost corner of Botswana. The Northern Tuli Game Reserve is the collective name for several privately owned game reserves, including the Mashatu, Ntani and Tuli reserves, covering all the land north of the Limpopo River.


Tuli forms a key part of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with majestic rocks, diverse vegetation, abundant wildlife, a profusion of birds and a rich archaeological heritage, and spans more than 25 000 ha of pure unadulterated wilderness, the perfect place to reconnect with nature.


Besides elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena, general game such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland and a variety of antelope, and nocturnal species such as the springhare, bat-eared fox, civet cat, genet, honey badger and mongoose, are prevalent throughout the reserve. You will do night drives and, with the aid of spot lights, the bush will come to life.

The birdlife is prolific, with the game reserve recording at least 366 different species.

Temperature and weather

In this part of Botswana you'll find a subtropical climate, with hot summers (average 36˚C) and warm, dry winters (average minimum 9˚C and average maximum 22˚C). However, be sure not to be caught out by the intermittent summer rains which fall between October and March. Early mornings and late afternoon/evenings during the winter do get cold, so be sure to bring sufficient warm clothing for early morning drives such as woolly hat, scarf and long trousers - think layers!


The camp consists of 10 simple dome tents, each with two mattresses and pillows (two students per tent). Please bring along your sleeping bag and an extra blanket/pillow if required. There are shared bathroom facilities, and a central communal area overlooking the river bed.

Course dates 2017:

The 2017 dates for the Safari Guide course at this location are:

1st September - 28th September

Alternatively, there is a 55 day accredited Field Guide Course run from this location, which covers much of the same material, but in more depth, and has an official accreditation at the end.

If nothing suits your dates, please enquire and we will do our best to find you an alternative placement!


Do I need any experience to join the programme?

You do not need any prior wildlife experience to join the programme, but students will find it easier if they have a good grasp of English. All participants should have a keen interest in conservation.

You must also be over 16 years old and able to walk at least 2km. There is a lot of foot-based walking and hiking on this programme. 

How do I get to the project?

If you are arriving into South Africa by air, please fly into O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. From there you are welcome to take advantage of the transfer bus laid on by the project, which goes to all three of the South African reserves and to Botswana. Please enquire for times and prices. Should you arrive into Johannesburg before your start date and wish to take advantage of the bus, you will need to return to a backpackers / guest house close to the airport to meet the transfer.

General details about the camp

- Electricity

There is no electricity at any of the camps – paraffin and solar lamps are used for all lighting, and a generator is used to charge camera batteries and other essential electricals. A headlamp is recommended and please bring an extra battery or two!

The kitchen is equipped with gas fridges for storage of all perishable food items. Fresh drinking water, cordial and teas and coffees are freely available and the camps also sell a selection of affordable fizzy drinks (cash only).

The generators are for camp use and will not be switched on for the sole purpose of charging cameras or other equipment.

- Laundry

A hand washing laundry service is provided at a nominal weekly fee. Students are asked to please wash their own underwear.

- Staff in Camp

For the duration of your stay, there will usually be a head instructor, assistant instructor and camp coordinator, plus kitchen and cleaning staff.

- Communications

There is no wifi and limited cell phone coverage at any of the camps. Please let your friends and family back home know that communication will be sporadic.

Pricing and Dates

When can I volunteer?

The 2017-2018 programme start dates are:

1st September - 28th September 2017
2nd September - 29th September 2018

If these dates are not convenient, take a look at the dates for one of the other locations running this course.

Alternatively, there is a 7 and 14 day programme run from this location, plus the accredited 55 day Field Guide Course. If nothing suits your dates, please enquire and we will do our best to find you an alternative placement!

2017-2018 Pricing:

28 day Safari Guide Course 2017: ZAR 46,600 (approx. US $3,495)
28 day Safari Guide Programme 2018: ZAR 50,500 (approx. US $3,795)

What's included in the price:

  • Full board and lodging for the duration of your programme including laundry (exc. alcoholic and fizzy drinks)
  • Instructors and Training
  • Bush walks and drives
  • T-shirt, shirt and cap
  • Practical instruction on wildlife and plant identification as well as spoors, tracking and
  • animal behaviour
  • All course-related transport and equipment required to do your work
  • 24 hour support from the course leaders

The price does not include:

  • Flights
  • Visa fees
  • Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, snacks etc
  • Pre-programme accommodation (if required)
  • Transfers from Johannesburg to the project location (using the project bus or your own vehicle)

Project Gallery - 28 Day Safari Guide Course - Botswana

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