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Game Ranger Experience
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 experience is an intensive two week programme 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.
- Bushveld ecology
- Mammal biology and identification
- Animal behaviour
- Bird identification
- Tracking and spoor identification of game
- Dangerous game and their behaviour
- Basic fire arm handling and theory of 4x4 driving
- Snake and insect identification
Programme fees 2015: £1,820 / US$ 2,900 excluding flights
Programme fees 2016: £1,870 / US$ 2,990 excluding flights
Prices are subject to change
On completion of the course an optional theoretical and practical examination can be taken. Each course participant will be awarded with a certificate of achievement. This is not a professional qualification.
Ranger course video
A video introduction to the Game Ranger Guide Course.
Wildlife viewing done on foot makes for much closer encounters than game drives
Camp life is a big part of the ranger course
Students will learn basic tracking skills
Learning in the field
Much of the teaching and learning during the course takes place in the field
The ranger course includes game drives and game walks through the reserve
Participants take the tracker seat to spot wildlife on game drives
The wildlife reserve where the game ranger courses are held is home to a lot of wildlife, including elephants, giraffe and predators.
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.
Safe handling of a rifle is one course component
Some topics are taught in classroom based lectures
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.
Giraffe sighting on game drive
Game drives can give the opportunity of close-up wildlife viewings
Reptile handling on the game ranger course
The course includes a certificate workshop on handling reptiles
Elephants during game drive
Game drives are a great opportunity for observing many species.
On this game drive the group got close to a number of rhino.
Bird identification is one course module
Paying attention to small animals
Volunteers also learn to appreciate the smaller animals
The course includes several extended walks and hilltop climbs, so participants should have reasonable fitness
The course includes at least one sleep-out in the bush
Cooking is done communally and often around the fire
Ranger course accommodation
Accommodation is in simple but comfortable rondavels
Study With Wildlife
Through guided game drives, walks and sleep outs, this experience covers the theory and practical knowledge behind life as a Game Ranger and includes the following elements:
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 Experience?
2015 Game Ranger Experience Dates
- 14 - 29 April
- 5 - 20 May
- 11 - 26 August
- 8 - 23 September
- 13 - 28 October
- 3 - 18 November
2016 Game Ranger Experience Dates
- 23 February - 9 March
- 3 - 18 May
- 19 July - 3 August
Hear from other volunteers who've visited Game Ranger Experience
Stuart Spindler Sabbatical Volunteer
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
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
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
11 -24.049999237061 31.516666412354 Game Ranger Experience
Click here to find out how you can apply to join one of our conservation placements in southern Africa.
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