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Trails Guide Course (Walking & Weapons)

Course synopsis:

Is this course for you? Training to become a Trails Guide is physically demanding. Every day you will be doing muscle memory drills to learn perfect shooting co-ordination and muscle fatigue is common-place. We spend a large amount of time on foot and some of the walks are long and extend into the heat of the day and often through floodplains that are waist deep.

The physical discomfort aside, this course offers a student an opportunity to experience Africa as few people ever will. The course requires complete commitment from the participants.

Advance Rifle Handling (ARH) will be conducted on the borders of NG30 concession (Kwapa) as part of the Trail Guide Course.

Course length:

14 or 28 Days

Dates and course code:

2015: Monday to Monday
05-Oct-15 to 19-Oct-15 (KWP WW 1510A)
19-Oct-15 to 02-Nov-15 (KWP WW 1510B)

2016: Tuesday to Tuesday
10-May-16 to 24-May-16 (1605 KWP TG-A)
24-May-16 to 07-Jun-16 (1605 KWP TG-B)

02-Aug-16 to 16-Aug-16 (1608 KWP TG-A)
16-Aug-16 to 30-Aug-16 (1608 KWP TG-B)

25-Oct-16 to 08-Nov-16 (1611 KWP TG-A)
08-Nov-16 to 22-Nov-16 (1611 KWP TG-B)


Maun Airport
Mahube Bus Service Johannesburg to Maun


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.


  • 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
  • theory lectures and power point presentations on potentially dangerous animal (PDA) behaviour
  • tracking, survival techniques and navigation
  • basic weapons handling
  • practical shooting with a large calibre rifle
  • air rifle accuracy training
  • muscle memory for shooting co-ordination
  • speed shooting drills
  • speed shooting assessment
  • wilderness sleep outs


No prior experience is required for Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) and Okavango Guiding School (OGS)

There are 3 possible qualifications and students may choose to do the FGASA and/or the OGS qualification in addition to the mandatory BQA qualification.

BQA Lead or Back-Up Trails Guide – This is the Botswana Training Authority exam which is the national Trails Guide or Back-Up Trails Guide qualification for Botswana.
FGASA Lead or Back-Up Trails Guide – This is the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa exam and is the national Trails Guide or Back-Up Trails used in South Africa
OGS Lead or Back-Up Trails Guide – The Okavango Guiding School qualification uses the same assessments as the BQA and FGASA Lead or Back-Up Trails guide qualification. The OGS syllabus is in depth and comprehensive and would equate to a level 4 syllabus: taking the guide to a much higher level than others in his field.

Your Typical Week at Kwapa Camp:

Arrival day 1 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.
This first day will consist primarily of orientation and familiarization of the assessment process we will be using for the following weeks.
Meals – dinner

Day 2 – Our week begins with an introduction to weapons and weapon handling and, for those with some experience, we continue with the more advanced muscle memory drills. After the rifle handling, we head out on a foot safari and return to camp for lunch. The afternoon begins with further weapon handling and is followed by an introduction to mokoro handling. These traditional dug-out canoes will be an important part of your walking course, making it possible to get from island to island in absolute silence.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 3 – We wake at the crack-of-dawn to do a game walk. The direction of our morning walk is often dictated by the vocal clues from our quarry at night. When we return to camp we head to the shooting range to see how our shooting skills are progressing. In the afternoon we do weapon handling and review the video of your morning practice. These videos are done in slow motion and allow the trainer and the student to better understand any flaws in shooting technique.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 4 – Another early start for a morning game walk which is followed by a theory lecture on weapon safety, ballistics and/or viewing potentially dangerous game on foot. In the afternoon we head out on the river in our motor boat and find a good area for a walking excursion and we hope to encounter some potentially dangerous game.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5 – We take a morning game drive to the north of camp where large herds of buffalo often drift through. Hopefully with a few approaches under our belts we return to camp for lunch. In the afternoon we begin with weapon handling drills to hone our shooting techniques and perfect our muscle memory. After our weapons “work-out” we head out on foot and continue to search for game to encounter and approach.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 6 – Yes, you guessed it, the morning begins with another game walk! But the great thing about the Kwapa region is that there is such a diversity of habitat that every walk is different and with each student having the opportunity to lead walks we see the bush through different eyes. We return to camp and before lunch we do a short session of weapon drills. In the afternoon we set out for a great adventure. We pack our back-packs with the bare minimum and walk out to a favorable area where we set up our mosquito nets and make our overnight “camp”. The sleep-out is a chance for ultimate intimacy with nature. With no tents, no artificial light and only the bare minimum of supplies, we enjoy the bush as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Students take turns managing the fire and keeping guard while the other students get some sleep.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7 – We wake up in our wilderness camp and, after erasing any sign of our presence, we walk back to camp. We continue our lessons on tracking, navigation, safe walking techniques and hoping for a few good encounters before a well earned lunch!
We head out in the afternoon on the Kwapa River to the southern part of the concession where we have our shooting range. It is time to assess what everyone has achieved in the week’s shooting drills and practical shooting. After the shooting assessments we head back to camp for dinner.
Meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner

Subsequent days – More of the above.

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

We exclude ammunition because some students are better qualified and do not need additional rounds. Each student’s natural athletic ability is unique and so their ammunition requirements are impossible to predict. Rounds can be purchases in camp.


14 days – USD 3,253 p/p
28 days – USD 6,506 p/p


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


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 Trails Guide Course Outline