Category Archives: Your Guiding Career

Nature Guides must be Birders too

Our students recently enjoyed a highly educational birding day out in the St Lucia section of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, where they recorded numerous species in a variety of habitats.

Highly diverse, St Lucia offers some of the best sightings of birds in coastal, estuary, grassland and forest habitats, making it ideal for training purposes.

Paul Jossop was a Bhejane Nature Training student some 13 years ago, and was on the first advanced course we ever ran.

Now a renowned birding guide who works all over South Africa and further into Africa, Paul helps us out with training and lectures.

Students birding with Paul Josop
Specialist bird guide Paul Jossop with the group of Bhejane students on a recent birding trip to St Lucia. Photo by Paul Josop

During the birding field trip to St Lucia, Paul showed the students how to use spotting sights to catch the various birds in their different habitats, and they were rewarded with some incredible sightings, including African Finfoot and Green Twinspots.

With the abundance of wildlife in South Africa, our birdlife is often overlooked, including by prospective nature guides.

But a knowledge of birds, their habitats and their behaviour is crucial for guides, as birding tours have, in recent years, become very popular.

Photograph by Ivan Euckermann

There has been a surge of birders since the Covid-related lockdown when people had time on their hands to sit in their gardens – they started noticing and taking an interest in birds, and now they want industry professionals to teach them more.

At Bhejane we have always gone above and beyond, and offered fully-comprehensive nature guiding courses that train guides up to be knowledgeable about our whole ecosystem.

We keep to our mandate of providing only the best training for guides coming through our ranks, by making sure birding is covered in both our long and short courses. Students on the Bhejane Advanced Nature Guiding and Wildlife Conservation Course spend time each year, exploring some of Southern Africa’s most exciting birding hotspots.

The Regional Birding Specialist Course is a specialist short course that can be done on its own or completed as one of the modules on the longer career courses.

For more info on our birding and other courses, click here:

Top 5 ways you can make a difference as a Nature Guide to help with Wildlife Conservation

Are Nature Guides good for Conservation?

One of the many questions we get asked at Bhejane Nature Training, is does being a really Nature Guide really with wildlife conservation?

Here are the top 5 ways you can make a difference as a nature guide.

Guides are Dreamweavers

One experience at a time opening a door to new realms, new worlds and new ways of experiencing the natural world.

When we change the way we look at the world, the world starts to change dramatically. Almost everyone that loves nature has seen a David Attenborough documentary.  His narration brings so much magic, insight and depth to the film. Can you imagine what that documentary would be like without his narration?  Guides bring this magic to their guests when they show them where to look, share little bits of information, at just the right time and leave their guests awe inspired about the wonders of nature. 

Just like the creative craft of David Attenborough and his team has inspired so many young people to follow a career devoted to nature, skilled guides turn “average Joe’s” into naturalists ready for their next learning experience every day.

Nature Guides are Trendsetters

How cool is it to have an appreciation for the outdoors – a reconnection with nature – as the trend you are setting!  Nature guides work in such amazing places and do so many exciting things. Almost everyone enjoys reading, watching or hearing about the amazing encounters guides have every day. Thanks to Social media platforms like Tiktok, Instagram and Youtube, these experiences become accessible to millions more people and not only the lucky 9 on the back of your game viewer for this morning’s drive.  Click through to some of the social media links below to share in some of our recent experiences.  

Nature Guides & Wildlife Conservation

Nature Guides help to shape the future

There is a popular saying in conservation – “if it pays, it stays”.  Enlightened guests that had unforgettable life experiences with guides, and a newly inspired online community eager to also come out and experience this refreshing trend to be in close to nature -is how guides ensure day by day to keep the demand for nature based experiences growing ,outcompeting other industries.

Nature Guides are Wildlife Monitors

Eyes in the field and feet on the ground makes for an enormous amount of patterns, and sighting information that makes its way to valuable research efforts on a daily basis. Guides contribute to the development of databases that help researchers learn more about so many wildlife populations and behaviours. Nature Guides help wildlife conservation projects in this way.

Nature Guides are Next-level Educators

Although many guides were probably the “cant sit still, cant focus and always in trouble” schoolkids that hated school, having the opportunity to touch so many lives by just sharing and living their passion – those same “always in trouble” kids from school become inspirational heroes to the next generation of kids.

There are many other ways that Nature Guides help Wildlife Conservation – can you think of any more?

About Bhejane:

Bhejane Nature Training is a FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) Endorsed Training Provider based in northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. We provide professional career training for nature guides, trails guides, marine guides, and conservation entrepreneurs! We also offer nature based, career development gap year programmes and a variety of short courses. Click through to our website to join us in Bhejane Territory.

Bhejane Youtube Link

Bhejane Facebook Link

Bhejane Website Link

Dylan uBhejane TikTok

Bhejane Instagram Link

Nature Guiding: Is It a Real Career Option?

The world is changing and so are our ideas of how to prepare for a career. University training has become irrelevant and outdated in many fields, especially one as dynamic as Wildlife Tourism. If you are interested in nature guiding this is great news.

The World is Your Classroom

Many young people are passionate and ready to take on the world. But who wants to spend years in a classroom before you are allowed to do the work? Nature guiding gives you the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience.

“Like many young adults that loves an outdoor lifestyle, I was overwhelmed when thinking of how to find a professional job that allows me to be out in nature every day, without having to spend years sitting in a university classrooms or being prepared to volunteer or work for free!”

Nature Guiding
How about the green hills of Zululand for a different perspective on life!

“I have always known that I belong outdoors but finding a good -career – one that allows me to help care for wildlife, snorkel along coral reefs, drive through the African bush in an open Landrover or walk in the tracks of Africa’s Big Game seemed like an impossible dream! One reserved just for a lucky few!”

This is the story most of Bhejane’s students tell. Until they attend one of our lifechanging career courses to become a Professional Nature Guide.

Nature Guiding is a Career with Purpose

Despite tourism being one of the fastest growing industries in Southern Africa, most people are unaware of the many exciting career opportunities this industry offers.

Nature guiding is an excellent career choice for outdoor loving young adults who are eager to play their part as the next guardians of our natural wildlife heritage.

People who choose a nature guiding career cannot see themselves in an office job, feeling it would be meaningless to their life. This career choice is for people who are determined to find a bigger purpose in life through their career.

Click here to have a glimpse of what being Trails Guide is all about

or a Marine Guide

Is Nature Guiding a real career option?

Even when learning of all the opportunities, many people still feel uncertain and have many questions like

  • Is nature guiding a proper career?
  • Will I earn enough money to have a decent life?
  • I am not the most confident person – will I be able to do this?
  • Courses can be expensive, will the return on my investment be worthwhile?

How Pierre’s Life Changed

Pierre arrived at Bhejane Nature Training frustrated with life. He struggling through school and was unsure about his future options. He did not fit the usual mould of those set to work in traditional careers.

English was not his first language. This knocked his confidence and made him doubt his ability to finish a comprehensive education programme. What he DID know, was his love for living with purpose. He loves exploring nature and sharing his experience with others gave him joy and new found energy.

Pierre started a course at Bhejane and found himself surrounded with like-minded individuals. His confidence started growing, he learned to talk to people naturally and… he found his niche. Not just any niche. He found his passion in one of the more difficult fields namely trees. This niche instantly created respect from fellow students.

Today Pierre is a senior guide at a prestigious and award-winning game lodge – and the good news is that Pierre is not the exception. Rather his story is similar to about 90% of students who attend a full-time career course at Bhejane Nature Training.

Why Bhejane Nature Training?

Our courses are different.

  • You do not work towards one degree or one diploma – you get qualified across a wide range of fields. You will be certified with a range of skills and have knowledge certificates, licenses and permits all required in this dynamic industry!
  • Your ability to pass a test will NOT be the deciding factor for your success. Many people suffering from Dyslexia, Aspergers, and a range of learning differences reach phenomenal success on our programmes.

Success comes from your passion, commitment and learning with like-minded people.

Change your life, change our world, and join us to become a part of the Zululand Conservation Legacy.

Find purpose, confidence and adventure with a Career as a Professional Nature Guide.

How to Become a Fgasa Nature Guide

Being a FGASA Nature Guide is a dream job, envied by many. And for good reason. While it is certainly hard work, the rewards are numerous. Nature Guiding as a professional career has evolved steadily over the last two decades. Today it is a much sought-after career option all over Southern Africa.

Fgasa Nature Guide: Find Your Purpose
Is Nature Guiding your future?

Why Become a Fgasa Nature Guide

Fgasa is the most widely recognised standard setting and certification body for nature guides. It is enjoys recognition in Southern Africa and many other parts of the world.

Fgasa Nature Guide qualifications provides the perfect platform to launch your nature guiding career.

Bhejane’s Advanced Flagship Course

The Bhejane Nature Training Advanced Nature Guiding and Wildlife Conservation programme is a unique and comprehensive 3-year programme.

As the first of a new generation of industry orientated learning programmes, you will love you much fun learning is on this course. The programme combines the intimately related fields of Professional Nature Guiding, Conservation/Wildlife Management, Monitoring and Research, and Tourism and Hospitality. 

This enables the student to get a quality academic qualification whilst at the same time living and training in the bush. The 3 year programme is a good alternative to short informal bush courses with little value, or a lengthy academic programme that still leaves you unemployable.  

At Bhejane our focus is broader than simply training guides for prestigious and upmarket lodge environments.

Wildlife Tourism products are diverse and exciting! It follows naturally that your options for guiding are equally diverse and exciting. Bhejane prepare you as a nature guide so you get to know yourself better and find the correct niche in the industry that suits your unique personal and professional profile.

Do our fun quiz to find out what type of guide you could be.

FGASA Trails Guide Candidates

The Bhejane Playground

Bhejane’s commitment to purposeful career training will ensure that you can now do all of this in one place, gain valuable practical experience and qualify for an industry placement at the same time.

In addition to the benefits stated above, this is the only programme of its kind that prepares the student to work in both terrestrial and marine protected areas. Learn more about our exciting camps and courses here.

Fgasa Nature Guide
Open Water Diving on the FGASA Marine Guide Course

Base in Northern Zululand and bordering the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park the college could hardly be in a better place.  Widely recognised as an area of unrivalled biodiversity, this offers the opportunity to live, study and work in one of the most diverse natural environments in Southern Africa.

The programme is suitable for anyone that is interested in working in Wildlife Tourism and Conservation, either as a Professional Nature Guide, Wildlife Monitor, Research Assistant, Conservation Volunteer Coordinator, Marine Guide or Conservation Entrepreneur. The course caters specifically for students that want more than an entry level guiding qualification, and is looking for a more practical training approach than what is available through traditional academic qualifications. Download our Career Fact Sheets here.

Fgasa Nature Guide

Bhejane Nature Training is a fully endorsed FGASA Training Provider. (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa)

Join us today, to become a part of the Zululand Conservation Legacy . . . 

For more information contact Bhejane Nature Training at or go to our website,

Veldgids Loopbaan Ontwikkelings-Program

Ons stel graag die Bhejane Loopbaan Ontwikkelings-Program bekend! n  Vars en visionêre benadering tot veldggids opleiding en opwindende byvoeging tot die Bhejane Kursus Portefeulje vir 2020.

Die program bevat 3 fases. n Fondasie fase, Ontwikkelings Fase en Goverderde Fase. Studente met geen vorige opleiding of ervaring begin by die Fondasie Fase.

Studente wat reeds basiese gidswerk of verwante kwalifikasies het kan begin by Fase 2 – die Ontwikkelingsfase. Die gevorderde fase is beskikbaar vir studente wat reeds fase 2 voltooi het, en verder in enige rigting wil spesialiseer, en ook  belangstel om werksondervinding te kry terwyl hulle onder mentorskap is.

Die program het n omvattende fokus en beoog om n diverse groep studente aan die industrie beskikbaar te stel. Studente het die geleentheid om in n verskeidenheid areas te spesialisser en gevolglik self te besluit hoe en waar hulle in die industrie inpas.

Die program sluit in as basis die syllabus en nasionale gids kwalifikasies van FGASA – die Veldgids Assosiasie van Suider Afrika.

Die FGASA komponente word verder gekomplimenteer deur n verskeidenheid spesialis en vaardigheids modules, wat die studente volledig voorberei vir n loopbaan in die Safari en Ekotoerisme industrieë.  Hierdie modules addreseer noodsaaklike werksgereedheid vaardighede soos  kommunkasie, konflikhantering, beplanning en organisasie in die werksplek, entrepreneurskap en die basiese diensvoorwaardes geldig in Suid Afrika.

Spesialis modules sluit in Natuurbewaring, Marienegids, Monitering en Veldnavorsings assistent, Spesialis stapgids, Spesialis voëlgids.

Die Spesialis modules kan ook as losstaande modules voltooi word buite die die konteks van die volle program vir gidse wat reeds voltyds werk.

Kontak ons vir die informasie paket en die 2020 registrasie datums, fooie en vorms.

Nature Guide Career Development Programme

We are excited to introduce the new Bhejane Nature Guide Career Development Programme (CDP). Whether you are just starting out, and have no prior training experience, or whether you are already qualified but need a further boost to launch your career, the unique phased approach of the programme allows you to hop on where it bests suits you!

3 Training Phases

The programme consist of 3 phases (Foundation, Development and Advanced Phase).  Students with no prior training or experience start at the Foundation Phase.

Students that are already qualified with basic guiding qualifications can start at Phase 2 – The Development Phase, while those that are looking for mentored workplace experience, and a headstart in specialist and advanced course modules can choose to stay on for Phase 3  – The Advanced Phase.

Career Development is Key

The programme is career focussed and aims to prepare students for active participation in the Wildlife Tourism industry, by developing competent guides, with well formulated career paths in the various specialist nature guiding and related wildlife tourism fields.

The course has been structured to include the national skills programmes as required by the South African Tourism Act, to be recognized and registered as a legal nature guide. These skills programmes are trained using the syllabus of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA)

In addition to these skills programmes, we have added “soft skill” components and Practical Guiding Skills that address areas of essential knowledge. This includes various topics such as Your Guiding Career Path, Specialist modules such as Birding or Marine Guiding, Industry and Workplace skills, Research and Reference skills, and preparation for further study once out in the industry.  Contact us to get the information pack with fees and 2020 intake dates for this exciting new programme.

Reflecting on a year of discovery and growth

By Manuel Weber

The day I decided that I would dedicate my life to the conservation of the superbly beautiful ecosystems that still cover a large part of the African continent, I was only a 6-year old boy that had just moved to Africa, without any understanding or knowledge about the complex world I was about to discover.

But this dream accompanied me over the next 13 years, motivated me every single day, shaped my way of doing things and caused me to collect every piece of information available to me, desperately hoping that it would eventually bring me a bit closer to that big goal. When I found Bhejane, I would never have thought that this would mean the ultimate break-through for me in achieving my dream. At the same time, the course gave me more than just a confirmation for what I always wanted to do: It opened a whole new world for me.

It was like looking for a sparrow and finding a twinspot (I have no issues with sparrows!). In fact, I didn’t even know that twinspots existed. Or what the difference between a sparrow and a starling is. This winter, not even a year after I left Bhejane, I returned and passed my regional birding.

This is only one example for how Bhejane changed my life, my way of thinking and my relationship with nature. The unbelievable perfection and creativity of evolution that Bhejane allowed me to discover still makes my heart beat faster every time I think about it, or realize how crazy it is that spiders can detect stress allelochemicals thanks to the lyriform organs on their legs (first example that comes to my mind). You never stop learning! And there is no bigger honor than working for nature and with nature.

The environment Bhejane is operating in would be more than enough to amaze every lucid-thinking human being. But additionally to that, I got to meet people that think like me. It may sound crazy, but I actually never had considered in the past that there might be other people that share my passion. I probably don’t have to mention that I got to know a large number of special persons that became some of my closest friends and my idols. I had the privilege to meet some people with phenomenal knowledge and skills, to watch them and to learn from them.

It was like coming home. And it will always be like coming home when returning to the places where all this started. Because it’s not going to end soon.

Elegant Grasshoper - Bhejane Gobandlovu Camp