We do not just want to train 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.

Why Train With Us

  • 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 
  • Part time or full time options 
  • Some of the most experienced trainers in the business 
  • Our training prepares you for the industry and work in tourism / nature guiding sector 
  • Connections to a global network of wilderness and like-minded sister organisations 
  • Excellent value for money - comparatively speaking, our training costs are extremely competitive 
  • 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.

Apply here

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:

  • Unlimited telephonic and email access to our trainers and facilitators whilst working through the theoretical modules.
  • A total of 4 weeks of practical training in a Big 5 Game Reserve environment 
  • 5 day "Leave No Trace" training / wilderness trail in iMfolozi Game Reserve Wilderness Area
  • 60 Days theoretical training, meals and accommodation (
  • First Aid Level 1 certificate 
  • Weapons handling competency
  • Leave no trace - International Certification 
  • All assessments and final assessment preparation 

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 outings (for part time and full time students) - this is the really fun, valuable and exciting stuff. Our practical training offers you almost a month of 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. 
  • 10 Days inception training, 14 days field training in big 5 reserve in Zululand and an additional 10 days assessment preparation & assessments - this is where you learn valuable bush skills, tracking, dealing with big game, 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 
  • Weapons handling competency - (Field and Shooting Range) 

Students must be available for the specified dates for trails and practical training. Please read our training prospects or information on our Wilderness Trails for more information on what to expect and what to bring

Apply here

Dates and Costs

Course costs

  • 2017 Full time students R52 000
  • 2017 Part time students R37 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 15th January 2018 and runs through till the 14th April 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 have a maximum of 10 participants per course, so you are advised to apply early.

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

Download Course Prospectus Here

Apply here


Coming Soon

Enquire / Apply Now

  • Tel

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

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