This is one of the most exciting environmental training courses anyone could ever wish to attend!  The knowledge gained on this course will give you the basis on which to build the experience necessary to safely encounter dangerous game whilst walking, including how to handle a bolt-action rifle. It is also a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wants to experience the Big Five on foot.

Who is this course suited to?
Our Apprentice Trails Guide course (previously know as Back-up Trails Guide course) is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and of average fitness.

If you are wanting to obtain the Apprentice Trails Guide Qualification you will need to comply with all the requirements in the document below. This specific course is designed to give you the foundation on which to build the rest of the experience required to gain the qualification.

Process for obtaining the Apprentice Trails Guide Qualification

Course duration – 30 days

Intibane Camp, Thanda Safari. Nestled between bush and beach our camp is located on a 14,500ha Big Five Reserve in the heart of Zululand. Accommodation is in your own basic thatched chalet with a fan, air conditioner and en suite bathroom. The ultimate training facility!

No of students per course
Maximum 8 students per course to ensure the best possible learning experience.
Please note that you need to contact us to find out if there is space before you pay the (non-refundable) registration fee – space is limited!

Course objective and structure
The aim is to develop and practice the skills needed for conducting walks safely in dangerous game areas, initially as an Apprentice Trails Guide. The course is run in two consecutive parts both conducted at Intibane camp in northern KwaZulu Natal:

  • The first involves students obtaining a:
    • PFTC Rifle Competency (Unit Standards: 117705 [Knowledge of the Firearms Control Act], 119651 [Handle and use a manually operated rifle], 123519 [Handle and use a manually operated rifle for business purposes]) and a
    • FGASA Advanced Rifle Handling Certificate
  • The remainder of the course involves students spending time (approximately 7 hours per day) conducting approaches on potentially dangerous animals under the expert supervision of our trails guide instructor.

Your firearm training will be conducted by Bob Nixon the owner of Firearm Training Services. With over 25 years experience of working with firearms Bob is the epitome of professionalism and safety in all his training.

Your VPDA training will be conducted by Lorraine Doyle. Lorraine has over 17 years of experience in the industry. Aside from owning and running Africa Nature Training, Lorraine works as an expedition leader for American-based travel company Natural Habitat Adventures in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Her knowledge and passion for the bush make her an exceptional trainer.

Syllabus alignment
The syllabus is aligned with the FGASA syllabus for Trails Guides – part of the View Potentially Dangerous Animals (VPDA) Unit Standard 8459.

Certification and Accreditation
If successful at the end of the course you will leave with:
1)  The three legal unit standards required to handle a bolt action rifle.
2)  An Advanced Rifle Handling (ARH) qualification.
3)  A completed Apprentice Trails Guide theory exam.
4)  A Level 1 tracking qualification.
5)  The first 50 hours and 10 encounters plus 10 hours of mentorship needed to enter the Apprentice Trails Guide Programme.

Africa Nature Training is a Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) accredited training provider that is accredited by CATHSSETA.