The practical requirements for Viewing Potentially Dangerous Animals (VPDA) on foot for trails guides in Botswana are often misunderstood. The manner in which they are written in the BQA unit standards is rather difficult to understand. I hope this blog is going to make it easier to grasp what is required. An encounter is when an animal is encountered on foot. An approach is when the trails guide makes the decision to approach the animal with the guests.
Lead Trails Guide Requirements
Required hours guiding on foot
A minimum of 100 hours on foot as a back-up walking nature guide under the supervision of a qualified lead walking guide in an area with Potentially Dangerous Animals (PDA’s).
Of the 100 hours, the trainee must have at least 20 hours leading the walk under the supervision of a qualified lead guide. Previous hours of walking experience can be back-datedwith an attestation or portfolio of evidence.
Encounters and approaches as back-up nature walking guide
A minimum total of 20 encounters and approaches as a back-up nature walking guide or leading walks, divided up according to specific animalspecies as follows:
- one approach/encounter with a lion or a leopard;
- eight approaches/encounters with elephant, five with bulls and three with breeding herds.
- four approaches/encounters with buffalo (2 with bulls and 2 with breeding herds) except for areas such as the Tuli Block, Makgadikgadi and the Kgalagkadi Transfrontier Park.
The remaining seven approaches/encounters can be made up of elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion, leopard or rhino.
Encounters and approaches as lead nature walking guide
The minimum total of 10 encounters as a lead nature walking guide under the supervision of a lead walking nature guide divided up according to specific animal species are as follows:
- one approach/ encounter with a lion or a leopard;
- three approaches/encounters with elephant (2 with bulls, 1 with breeding herd);
- two approaches/encounters with buffalo (1 with a bull and 1 with a breeding herd).
The remaining four approaches and or encounters can be made up of any of the listed Potentially Dangerous Animals (PDA’s).
Back-up Trails Guides Requirements
Required hours on foot for back-up trails guides
A minimum of 50 hours on foot in areas with PDA’s supervised by a qualified mentor.
Required encounters and approaches on foot
Back-up trails guides require minimum of 6 encounters or approaches of PDA’s with a mentor. A mimimum of 3 of the 6 encounters/approaches must be as backup or lead guide. The remaining 3 may be as part of a group.
If you are interested in more information on our training for Trails Guides please check out our Trails Guide Course