Nature Guiding / Tourism Ranger

By achieving this qualification in combination with other relevant guiding standards you will be able to point out and explain in terms of elementary scientific theory and cultural belief the features of the natural environment in which you are operating, and putting it into broader ecological context.

Combined with the fundamental and core guiding standards in a National Certificate in Tourism, it will provide the learner with the competence to practice as a professional tourist guide (specifically nature guide) as envisaged in the Tourism Amendment Act.

The term nature guide / "field guide" is often confused with ranger (game ranger) and "tourist guide". A game ranger manages a specific area where wild animals occur. The tourist guide profession embraces a vast complexity of specific areas of the entire country, guiding tourists in towns, cities, museums and many places of interest, placing the accent essentially on the man-made environment and cultural-historical aspects. The nature guide leads people into the natural areas of the environment. This form of guiding is not necessarily confined to walking trails. It could also include vehicle drives, horse backing, canoeing and other outdoor activities. The nature guide's interests relate to Ecology and Nature, but the name Ranger is so embedded into the Tourism Guiding Industry that it will never change… so by achieving this Qualification and Register as a Nature Guide you will be employed as a Ranger at various Private Game Reserves … Game driving Tourist to see Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino … the Big 5 of Africa!

The aim of Nature Guiding is to:
• Unveil the beauty of the natural areas of the country,
• Bring credit to the country and to tourism,
• Share the joy and wonder of nature,
• Relate the natural heritage, history as well as folklore ,
• Share factual knowledge and interpret the environment in a meaningful way.
• Create an awareness of the natural environment.
• Give quality service with safety and enjoyment as a priority.
The number of people comprising a party should be appropriate to the qualification of the guide, the nature of the trail, the terrain and the type of activities engaged in. The guide operates within his/her own expertise and does not enter areas for which he/she is not qualified. All guiding activities should be conducted in such a way as to cause the least possible damage to the environment.
All components of the environment, be it abiotic (non-living), plant or animal should be respected and protected.

Knowledge and interpretive skills of a nature guide is of utmost importance, Clients rely on the nature guide for information about the natural environment and overseas tourists are usually keen on general information about the country.  Basic general knowledge about the country, and a sound knowledge of the particular area of operation with regard to history of the area, geological history, climate, vegetation and wildlife.

It is very easy to bore clients to death with the "this is that" identification syndrome. Nature can only make sense when visual observations are interpreted in a meaningful way.

Interpretation of interactions, interrelatedness and animal behavior must compliment good basic knowledge. Interpretation of night skies, animal sounds, weather signs, landscapes and vegetation enhance the experience of the client.

Subjects include Taxonomy, Ecology, Geology, Weather & Climate, Astronomy, Botany, Birds, Mammals, Insects, Reptiles, Bushcraft and Navigation