Development Program

Dates on request

The Game Ranger Development Program is aimed at providing inexperienced learners an opportunity to build a highly marketable portfolio of qualifications, while gaining a year of practical experience. This places the learner in an excellent position to obtain placement in quality positions in the wildlife industry. Candidates are accommodated (all meals included) on the premises of The Nature College for a period of 5-6 months, during which time they will obtain training for the qualifications listed below.

Training Phase

Six Month Training Phase at the Aardvark Nature Reserve (Ladismith district, W-Cape)

SAQA Registered Certificate in Conservation Guardianship

Learners will complete the training for the National Certificate in Conservation Guardianship (59389) before doing an internship for six months.

Training Modules

SAQA Registered Nature Guide Qualifications (Field Guide)

1. Introduction to Nature Guiding 0040 (Nature Site Guide Level 2 – SAQA 8478, 8440)

2. Biome Guide Course 0032 (Nature Site Guide Level 4 – SAQA 335799, 246740, 335801, 255914, 335815)

3. Introductory Tracker Course SAQA 8460 (Tracker Level 1)

4. Intro to Trails Guiding Course 0044 (Nature Site Guide Level 4: Dangerous Animal Areas – SAQA 335797: (theory component)

5. Rifle proficiency (SAQA 117705, 119651)

Additional Training Modules

1. First Aid Training

2. Hospitality Training

3. Social Skills for Game Rangers

4. Introduction to Wildlife Photography

5. Introduction to Birding

Training in guiding skills is supplemented by a basic instruction in archaeology, with training and experience in bush camp management and overlanding safaris. Study tours will be conducted to five South African Biomes, enabling learners to obtain area competence to these regions.

During this period learners will also be exposed to a structured programme of practical wildlife training under guidance of a full-time facilitator.


Successful learners are placed at reputable game lodges/game reserves in South Africa or Namibia for a period of six months to gain practical experience as game ranger or field guide/nature guide. The lodges will supply free accommodation and meals.


Contact us for information.

Minimum Requirements

Minimum age of 18 years and good health with valid Driver’s License (or to be obtained before the end of the first 6 months)

Practical experiential training

During the periods before, after and between courses learners will be subjected to practical experiential training. This training will include, but is not restricted to the following:

General Reserve Management

It is essential for any person working in the natural environment to acquire certain skills that will be needed in daily reserve management. These tasks form an essential part of the work of a Game Ranger. They include the following:

1. Trail maintenance & Erosion Control

2. Invader Plant Control

3. Patrolling and Anti-Poaching measures

4. Game counts

5. Game capture techniques

6. Fence Maintenance

7. Field Research

To manage any eco-system effectively, it is essential to understand the various facets involved and how they fit together. Research projects include:

a. Collection techniques (Plants, insects, vertebrates etc.)

b. Plant surveys

c. General

The course planning is not cast in stone – it is however a general outline along which the Development Programme is conducted. The course is as dynamic as the environment we operate in. During the Development Programme other opportunities to gain experience may arise, such as Wildlife Capture and Translocation, Tourist Guiding on the Reserve, Archaeological Investigations etc. The Development Programme is kept flexible so that we can make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.

There will be several practical excursions (several short tours and one long tour) to Reserves and National Parks throughout the country, where the theoretical and practical knowledge obtained during the various courses is applied in a different habitat to where the training has taken place. This expands the area competence of learners by exposing them to different biomes. During the tours learners will also receive instruction in conducting overlanding safaris.

Moderate group size will ensure that every learner gets personal attention. We pride ourselves in our attention to detail, something that is not always possible where large groups are concerned.

Lodge Placement

After completion of the 6-month training phase, successful learners are placed at prominent lodges and operators in order to obtain practical experience.  During this period they will receive free accommodation and meals. This practical placement provides an excellent opportunity to gain industry experience and will greatly enhance the possibility of placement in quality positions after completion of the Development Programme.