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Nature Guide Course (FGASA Level 1/ BQA Level 2)

Course synopsis:

Is this the course for you? The Nature Guide Course is a theory based course with a strong emphasis not only on the practical skills of guiding but also the full syllabus used by Southern African guides to qualify for the theory exam. The focus of the course is taking the classroom to the wilderness. While there are informative lectures the majority of the training happens out in nature on boat, mokoro, on foot or in a 4WD vehicle. The course is modular so you may join the course for 2 or 4 weeks. Many choose to do the full 4 weeks over a period of time due to leave constraints.

Course length:

14 or 28 days

Dates and course code:

2015: Monday to Monday
02-Nov-15 to 16-Nov-15 (KWP L2 1511A)
16-Nov-15 to 30-Nov-15 (KWP L2 1511B)

2016: Tuesday to Tuesday
05-Jan-16 to 19-Jan-16 (1601 KWP NG – A)
19-Jan-16 to 02-Feb-16 (1601 KWP NG – B)

29-Mar-16 to 12-Apr-16 (1604 KWP NG – A)
12-Apr-16 to 26-Apr-16 (1604 KWP NG – B)

05-Jul-16 to 19-Jul-16 (1607 KWP NG – A)
19-Jul-16 to 02-Aug-16 (1607 KWP NG – B)

27-Sep-16 to 11-Oct-16 (1610 KWP NG – A)
11-Oct-16 to 25-Oct-16 (1610 KWP NG – B)

Access:

Maun Airport
Mahube Bus Service Johannesburg to Maun

Accommodation:

Your tent is a 3×3 meter high-wall wilderness style tent with a 2×3 meter en-suite shower and bush toilet and a similar sized verandah. Each tent is furnished with a camp bed, sheets, pillows, duvet and towels. An LED bedside light is provided on a small bed side table. There is a wash basin with a relaxing chair on the verandah.

Activities:

  • game walks including approaching big game on foot
  • game driving skills
  • mokoro (dug-out canoe), poling skills – depending on water levels
  • motor boating – depending on water levels
  • rifle handling and target practice
  • theory lectures and power point presentations
  • tracking, survival skills and navigation
  • stargazing and astronomy
  • wilderness sleep outs

Qualifications:

No prior experience is required.
OGS Certificate: This is for students wanting to do the course for personal enrichment rather than pursuing a formal qualification to become a guide. They will receive an Okavango Guiding School certificate for participation in the course.

However there are two formal qualifications available:

BQA Level 2- This is the Botswana Training Authority exam which is the national guiding qualification for Botswana.

FGASA- Level 1– This is the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa exam and is the national guiding qualification used in South Africa. Please note that in order to qualify for FGASA level 1 you must complete our pre-course workbooks and prepare the required lecture material. In order to qualify for the FGASA certificate you must do the full 28 days of training but this does not have to be done in 1 session, but rather when your leave permits.

Your typical week at Kwapa camp:

First day – We depart for Kwapa camp from Bon Arrivé which is opposite Maun International Airport at 14h00, (we then give the students time to purchase their drinks) this is approximately a 2 hour road transfer.
The remainder of this day consists primarily of orientation and familiarization of the camp and course procedures that we will be following during the ensuing week.
Meals – dinner

A typical day – Kwapa Camp, on the banks of the Kwapa River in the Okavango Delta, operates on a “duty-guide” system. Each day there are two duty-guides who will assist with wake-up calls at 05h30 (summer) and preparation for breakfast at 06h00. One duty-guide will guide the morning activity whilst the other will guide the afternoon activity. Each activity will be approximately 3 hours.

After returning from morning activity at around 10h00, there is a coffee and tea break.

The Trainer will then take the duty-guide through the activity he/she has just conducted and allow this student to comment on his/her own strengths and weaknesses using the assessment document as an outline. Following this the group will discuss these points offering constructive criticism and observation. Finally the facilitator will fill in on points he feels could have been handled differently.
11h00 – 12h00: Lecture
12h00 – 13h00: Lunch
At each meal, duty-guides are encouraged to host the group using acceptable hosting techniques such as leading conversation throughout the meal, making sure drinks are served and “guests” all have what they require before beginning to eat.
13h00 – 14h00: Shower and rest period.
14h00 – 15h00: Presentation by candidates (topic to be discussed with facilitator). Discussion on the content and technique of the presentation.
15h00 – 18h00: Afternoon activity/ training session
18h30 – 19h30: Review of afternoon activity/ training session
19h30 – 20h30: Dinner and daily activities finish
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Last day – After your morning activity and breakfast we will return to Maun in plenty of time for those guests that have international flights.
Meals – breakfast

Please note – The above is just a broad outline so it can and will change depending on the guests needs, external factors and on some days it has been known to not be followed at all…..

Your course includes:

  • tented accommodation
  • all meals at Kwapa Camp
  • drinking water, tea and coffee
  • all training and activities
  • scheduled transfer from Maun to Kwapa Camp and return to Maun (1 transfer in and out per student)

Your course fee excludes:

  • unscheduled transfers to/from Kwapa Camp
  • travel Insurance
  • all flights
  • items of personal nature, including toiletries
  • staff gratuities
  • drinks other than those mentioned above – these can be purchased in Maun before leaving for Kwapa Camp
  • all ammunition
  • FGASA/BQA registration and exam fees

Cost:

14 Days – USD 3253 per person
28 Days – USD 6506 per person

Payment:

20% Deposit to confirm booking. Balance due 6 weeks prior to arrival. Payment can be made by bank transfer or credit card (card payments carry 5% service charge). Please see our booking conditions for more information.

Sponsorship:

Okavango Guiding School sponsors one citizen trainee to join every course we conduct (that has 4 or more students), as part of our social responsibility program. This highly successful initiative is beneficial, not only to the candidate being sponsored, but also to the international trainees who gain an indepth insight into the culture of Botswana. Holistic guiding goes beyond the wildlife of Africa and understanding the culture adds a different dimension to the training experience.

Minimum and maximum numbers:

The course will run from as few as just 1 student to a maximum of 8 (plus the citizen trainee)

Download Nature Guide Course Outline

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