Game Ranger Guide Course

Study and track the Big 5 in their natural habitat

An ideal introduction to conservation in southern Africa, set in a magnificent game reserve, the game ranger guide course is an intensive two week course covering aspects of ecology such as animal identification, behaviour, tracking and botany alongside ranger skills such as fire arms handling, safety in the bush and an element of astronomy.

Studying and tracking lion prides

Course Syllabus

Certification

On completion of the course an optional theoretical and practical examination can be taken. Each course participant will be awarded with a certificate recognised by FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa).

  • Ranger course video
  • Bush walks
  • Camp life
  • Tracking
  • Animal tracks
  • Learning in the field
  • Lion sighting
  • Tracker seat
  • Elephant sighting
  • Sneaking up to elephant
  • Firearms practice
  • Lecture
  • Bush walk with ranger
  • Giraffe sighting on game drive
  • Reptile handling on the game ranger course
  • Elephants during game drive
  • Rhino sighting
  • Bird watching
  • Paying attention to small animals
  • Hilltop climb
  • Sleep out
  • Camp cooking
  • Ranger course accommodation

Ranger course video

A video introduction to the Game Ranger Guide Course.

Bush walks

Wildlife viewing done on foot makes for much closer encounters than game drives

Bush walks

Camp life

Camp life is a big part of the ranger course

Camp life

Tracking

Students will learn basic tracking skills

Tracking

Animal tracks

Animal tracks

Learning in the field

Much of the teaching and learning during the course takes place in the field

Learning in the field

Lion sighting

The ranger course includes game drives and game walks through the reserve

Lion sighting

Tracker seat

Participants take the tracker seat to spot wildlife on game drives

Tracker seat

Elephant sighting

The wildlife reserve where the game ranger courses are held is home to a lot of wildlife, including elephants, giraffe and predators.

Elephant sighting

Sneaking up to elephant

Participants can often get amazingly close to the wildlife during the bush walks that are a big part of the course.

Sneaking up to elephant

Firearms practice

Safe handling of a rifle is one course component

Firearms practice

Lecture

Some topics are taught in classroom based lectures

Lecture

Bush walk with ranger

Game ranger course participants can get out of the vehicle and observe wildlife on foot, accompanied by a qualified game ranger.

Bush walk with ranger

Giraffe sighting on game drive

Game drives can give the opportunity of close-up wildlife viewings

Giraffe sighting on game drive

Reptile handling on the game ranger course

The course includes a certificate workshop on handling reptiles

Reptile handling on the game ranger course

Elephants during game drive

Game drives are a great opportunity for observing many species.

Elephants during game drive

Rhino sighting

On this game drive the group got close to a number of rhino.

Rhino sighting

Bird watching

Bird identification is one course module

Bird watching

Paying attention to small animals

Volunteers also learn to appreciate the smaller animals

Paying attention to small animals

Hilltop climb

The course includes several extended walks and hilltop climbs, so participants should have reasonable fitness

Hilltop climb

Sleep out

The course includes at least one sleep-out in the bush

Sleep out

Camp cooking

Cooking is done communally and often around the fire

Camp cooking

Ranger course accommodation

Accommodation is in simple but comfortable rondavels

Ranger course accommodation

Study With Wildlife

Through guided game drives, walks and sleep outs, this course covers the theory and practical knowledge behind life as a Game Ranger and includes the following elements:

Bushveld ecology

  • Ecology is the branch of biology that studies the relations between organisms and their environment. As a game ranger it's important that you have a good understanding of the role an animal plays within its ecosystem and how they are connected. For example, hyenas are very important to the health of the ecosystem. As scavengers, they clean up a huge amount of dead matter and as hunters they help maintain the genetic health of their prey groups.

Mammal biology and identification

  • Most lectures will take place out in the fresh air where you will learn the biology and anatomy of African mammals and the skill of identifying wild species that you may encounter in the bush on game drives and walks.

Geology

  • Geology is the science that deals with the history of the earth as recorded in rocks. South Africa has numerous famous geological features and this aspect of the course will give you a fascinating insight into how today's landscapes were formed looking at the native rock, its composition, properties, history and processes of formation.

Animal behaviour

  • Why do animals demonstrate certain behaviours and what is the reason behind such traits? Are they inherited or acquired? Animal behaviour is the scientific study of everything animals do. It involves investigating the relationship of animals to their physical environment as well as to other organisms, it includes topics such as how animals find and defend resources, avoid predators, choose mates, reproduce and care for their young.

Bird identification

  • The Limpopo province is one of the best provinces for bird watching with over 500 bird species found in Kruger National Park alone. You will learn about different species and how to identify them based on physical characteristics and habitat preference.

Tracking and spoor identification of game

  • A spoor is any sign of a creature such as tracks, trails and droppings used for animal tracking and to survey what types of animals live in an area. This course provides an introduction into animal tracking using spoor identification skills. Should you wish to take tracking to the next level for a more in depth study, we also run a Wildlife Tracking Course which focuses purely on developing this skill and is held in the stunning Botswana wilderness.

Dangerous game and their behaviour

  • Game drives will allow you to venture into the world of some potentially dangerous animals where you will learn which animals pose a threat, the warning signs to look out for and how to track them safely.

Basic fire arm handling and theory of 4x4 driving

  • We ensure that all our volunteers and students operate safely in the bush with rangers who always carry a rifle with them on game drives and walks. A good ranger, however, is an expert in animal behaviour and how to deal with dangerous game. They know what signs to look out for to avoid any confrontation without ever having to use their rifle, although the ability to handle one is essential in their training. Your course syllabus covers this and the theory of 4x4 driving for game drives.

Snake and insect identification

  • It's important to be aware of the different insects and snakes you may come across in the bush, those that are harmless or poisonous and how to identify different species. You will receive informal and practical lectures on this.

Astronomy

  • Astronomy is the scientific study of celestrial objects such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae and galaxies. Many nights on conservation projects are spent eating meals under the stars. The bush environment, unlike the city, has no artificial light making star gazing a popular activity when enjoying an evening braii or on a sleep out.

When Can I Join The Game Ranger Guide Course?

2014 Game Ranger Course Dates

  • 25 February - 12 March
  • 15 - 30 April
  • 20 May - 4 June
  • 1 - 16 July
  • 22 July - 6 August
  • 2 - 17 September
  • 7 - 22 October
  • 4 - 19 November

2015 Game Ranger Course Dates

  • 24 February - 11 March
  • 14 - 29 April
  • 12 - 27 May
  • 21 July - 5 August
  • 11 - 26 August
  • 8 - 23 September
  • 13 - 28 October
  • 3 - 18 November
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Hear from other volunteers who've visited Game Ranger Guide Course

The Game Ranger Guide Course was brilliant and our instructor an absolute legend! I loved the walks ... click for more...

The Game Ranger Guide Course was brilliant and our instructor an absolute legend! I loved the walks and we got really close to elephants, giraffe, hippo and buffalo... ACE isn't all about animals though, the personal relationships are also quite special

Stuart Spindler Sabbatical Volunteer

I wanted to know more about the wildlife in South Africa and its conservation. I learnt more than I thought I would in just two weeks. We did a lot of tracking of the big five by foot and vehicle...the highlight was camping overnight watching out for the animals that may pass us; it was so exciting

Donna Calvert

It was an amazing experience! I learnt so much and made some real friends for life. It also helped me develop emotionally and gave me independence and self confidence

Sophie Harrison

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Your placement cost includes return flights and carbon offsets (if selected), return transfers from Johannesburg Airport to your project, all accommodation, meals (at most projects), transfers between projects if you are volunteering at more than one project, the 24 hour support of our South African ground manager, ACE T-Shirts, and, of course, the contributions to the projects, without which they could not operate. Read more about the costs, where your money goes and financing your volunteering placement here