Trails Guide Course (Part 1 & 2)

Ranger Training in the Okavango Delta - our most challenging course

Trails Guide Course (Part 1 & 2)

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Encounters in the wilderness are intentional! We learn how to deal with them safely.
We spend a lot of time walking in the bush. It's the best way to get close to Africa.
Safe handling of rifles and ammunition must be learned.
Safe driving in the off-road 'Game Viewers' is a training topic in the Trails Guide course.
When the delta has enough water, observing wildlife from the water is also a teaching topic.

Tour Details


There is no better way to experience the African bush than to be immersed in the wilderness on foot. The intricacies of nature are often missed when you are driving around on a vehicle. There is something truly special about practicing the ancient skills of tracking and walking among Africa's big game.

You will learn how to approach potentially dangerous game on foot using the wind and cover to disguise your presence. Every nuance of behaviour becomes important and you will learn to read the wildlife in a way that is not possible driving around in a vehicle.

Training to become a Trails Guide is more physically demanding than typical nature guide courses. Every day you will be doing muscle memory drills to learn and perfect shooting co-ordination as well as walking good distances through the bush. Muscle fatigue is part of the experience.

Start location


End location



Trails Guide Course (Part 1 & 2)

Course length:

14 or 28 nights

Starting point:

Meeting point is opposite Maun airport at 2pm on the first day of the course. The time is chosen to fit in with international arrivals


This course takes place at Kwapa Trails Camp. The Meru-style tents have en-suite bathrooms with bucket showers and bush toilets. Each tent is equipped with two camp beds, sheets, pillow, duvet and towels. There is a battery-powered LED lamp in the tents. There is a sink and camping chairs on the covered veranda.


  • Game walks including approaching big game on foot
  • Game driving skills• Mokoro (dug-out canoe) poling skills – depending on water levels
  • Motor boating – depending on water levels• Theory lectures on potentially dangerous animal (PDA) behaviour and ballistics
  • Tracking, navigation and survival skills• Basic weapons handling
  • Air rifle accuracy training
  • Muscle memory for shooting co-ordination
  • Practical shooting with large caliber rifle
  • Speed shooting drills
  • Speed shooting assessment – quick kill exercise; recovering from a malfunction; simulated charge
  • Wilderness sleep outs

Who should do this course?

  • People looking to reconnect with themselves, who are searching for a back-to-basics bush skills experience that will help them recharge, renew, and reboot
  • Seasoned safari goers who now seek a deeper, more holistic, African wilderness experience
  • School- and/or university-leavers who are looking for a life-changing gap-year experience
  • People with a spirit of adventure who are looking beyond a typical back-packing experience
  • Already qualified vehicle-based guides who want to take their guiding to the next level.
  • Experienced trails guides who want more mentored walking hours and encounters with potentially dangerous animals on foot.

Important: As an enrichment student you are expected to participate as a trainee guide and part of the team. While many people do this course as a life experience, rather than to one day become a guide, it is a training course and not a cheap safari!

Participant objectives and qualifications:

For enrichment purposes and the BQA qualification, no prior experience is required for this course. However, for the FGASAqualification, students must have successfully completed the Field Guide NQF2 qualification. It is important to be clear whenmaking your booking what your goal is for attending this course:

  • Enrichment only: many students attend this course for personal enrichment only. To keep with the integrity of this being astructured course, all students are obliged to write the daily revision tests and a final theory exam. All students will alsoreceive an Okavango Guiding School certificate of attendance.
  • Qualifications: there are two qualifications available which are similar to one another and students may choose to do eitheror both the FGASA qualification and the BQA (Botswana Qualification Authority) qualification. There are daily revision testsand a final theory exam for both.

    1. FGASA Backup or Lead Trails Guide: This is the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa and is the national guidingqualification used in South Africa. Please note: that in order to qualify for FGASA Trails Guide (Backup or Lead) one musthave successfully completed the Field Guide qualification and complete the FGASA Trails Guide pre-course workbooks.The onus is on the student to contact FGASA directly and arrange for registration and the postage of their books toachieve this. It is advisable to do this at your earliest convenience as postage can take a long time. To qualify for theFGASA certificate you must also do the full 28 days of training but this does not have to be done in one session and canbe done over time. You will write your theory exam at Kwapa Camp in the last few days of the course. Your practicalassessment will be done over the 4 weeks – as you progress, you will be marked competent in the required areas, withyour final assessment being conducted in the final days of the course.

    2. BQA Backup and Lead Trails Guide: This is the Botswana Training Authority qualification which is the national guidingqualification for Botswana. You will write your theory exam at Kwapa Camp in the last few days of the course. Yourpractical assessment will be done over 2 or 4 weeks – as you progress, you will be marked competent in the requiredareas, with your final assessment being conducted in the final days of your course. Please note: that in order to beissued with a guide license in Botswana, you will need a valid work and residence permit, show a minimum of 5 yearsguiding experience outside of Botswana and achieve a BQA Level 3 Nature Guide qualification.

You should have sufficient English language skills and a generally good level of fitness.


First day: the African Guide Academy trainer meets all students at the PPCC Indian restaurant across the road from MaunAirport at 14h00. This allows students to arrive on international flights on the first day of the course (these flights usually land ataround 13h15). The students are then taken to purchase their drinks before embarking on the 2-hour road transfer to KwapaCamp. Please note that if any students arrive after 14h00 they will have to find accommodation in Maun and pay the U$70.00 fee for an unscheduled transfer to Kwapa Camp the following day.Arriving at Kwapa Camp in the late afternoon, the rest of this first day consists primarily of orientation and familiarization of theassessment process to be used for this course. Meals - dinner

Day 2: our week begins with an introduction to weapons and weapon handling and, for those with some experience, we continuewith the more advanced muscle memory drills. After the rifle handling, we head out on a foot safari and return to camp for lunch.The afternoon begins with further weapon handling and is followed by an introduction to mokoro handling (depending on waterlevels). These traditional dug-out canoes will be an important part of the walking course, making it possible to get from island toisland in absolute silence. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 3: we wake at the crack-of-dawn to do a game walk. The direction of our morning walk is often dictated by the vocal cluesfrom our quarry at night. When we return to camp w head to the shooting range to see how our shooting skills are progressing.In the afternoon, we do weapon handling and review the video of your morning practice. These videos are done in slow motionand allow the trainer and the student to better understand any flaws in shooting technique. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 4: another early start for a morning game walk which is followed by a theory lecture on weapon safety, ballistics and/or viewing potentially dangerous game on foot. In the afternoon, we head out on the river in our motor boat (depending on waterlevels) and find a good area for a walking excursion and we hope to encounter some potentially dangerous game. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5: we take a morning game drive to the north of camp where large herds of buffalo often drift through. Hopefully with a fewapproaches under our belts we return to camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we begin with weapon handling drills to hone ourshooting techniques and perfect our muscle memory. After our weapons "work-out" we head out on foot and continue to searchfor game to encounter and approach. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 6: you guessed it, the morning begins with another game walk! But the wonderful thing about the Kwapa region is that thereis such a diversity of habitat that every walk is different and with each student having the opportunity to lead walks we see thebush through different eyes. We return to camp and before lunch we do a short session of weapon drills. In the afternoon, we setout for a great adventure. We pack our back-packs with the bare minimum and walk out to a favorable area where we set up ourmosquito nets and make our overnight "camp". The sleep-out is a chance for ultimate intimacy with nature. With no tents, noartificial light and only the bare minimum of supplies, we enjoy the bush as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Studentstake turns managing the fire and keeping guard while the other students get some sleep. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7: we wake up in our wilderness camp and, after erasing any sign of our presence, we walk back to camp. We continue ourlessons on tracking, navigation, safe walking techniques and hoping for a few good encounters before a well-earned lunch! Wehead out in the afternoon to the shooting range. It is time to assess what everyone has achieved in the week's shooting drills andpractical shooting. After the shooting assessments, we head back to camp for dinner. Meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Subsequent days: more of the above.

Last day: after breakfast, we return to Maun in plenty of time for those guests that have international flights to connect with.Meals - breakfast

Please note: the above is just a broad outline so it can and will change depending on the guests needs, external factors and onsome days it has been known to not be followed at all!


Kwapa Camp - Okavango Delta - 14 or 28 Nights



EUR 3.839,00 per person per module (14 nights) in double tents
(single-tent-supplement: EUR 576,00)


EUR 4.030,00 per person per module (14 nights) in double tents
(single-tent-supplement: EUR 605,00)


  • Shared tented accommodation
  • All meals at Kwapa Training Camp
  • Well-point water, tea and coffee
  • All training and activities
  • Scheduled transfer from Maun to Kwapa Camp return (1 transfer in and out per student)


  • unscheduled transfers to/from Kwapa Camp
  • all ammunition
  • travel insurance and all flights
  • items of personal nature, including toiletries
  • staff gratuities (optional)
  • drinks other than those mentioned above – these can be purchased in Maun before leaving for Kwapa camp
  • FGASA/ BQA registration and exam fees

Minimum number of participants

The course will run from as few as just 4 students to a maximum of 8 (plus the citizen trainee)


Module A = 1. part (14 days)
Module B = 2. part (14 days)

Course Dates 2022

Module A:  09.09.2022 - 23.09.2022
Module B:  23.09.2022 - 07.10.2022

Module A:  04.11.2022 - 18.11.2022
Module B:  18.11.2022 - 02.12.2022

Course Dates 2023

Module A:  24.03.2023 - 07.04.2023
Module B:  07.04.2023 - 21.04.2023

Module A:  19.05.2023 - 02.06.2023
Module B:  02.06.2023 - 16.06.2023

Module A:  14.07.2023 - 28.07.2023
Module B:  28.07.2023 - 11.08.2023

Module A:  08.09.2023 - 22.09.2023
Module B:  22.09.2023 - 06.10.2023

Module A:  03.11.2023 - 17.11.2023
Module B:  17.11.2023 - 01.12.2023


African Guide Academy sponsors one citizen trainee to join every course we conduct (that has 4 or more students), as part of our social responsibility program. This highly successful initiative is beneficial, not only to the candidate being sponsored, but also to the international trainees who gain an in-depth insight into the culture of Botswana. Holistic guiding goes beyond the wildlife of Africa and understanding the culture adds a different dimension to the training experience

Itinerary Details

All information including the exact route, accommodation and highlights can be found here:
Detailed Itinerary *

* Detailed Itinerary
Please note that our detailed itineraries are generated by our IT partner Wetu B.V.. Wetu is the leading provider for the digitization of travel itineraries and is based in Cape Town, South Africa. We have entered into a contract with Wetu for the use of their services and have regulated the protection of your data. However, on Wetu websites the privacy policy of Wetu B.V. applies and you can find them here: https://wetu.com/Our/PrivacyPolicy

This offer is not suitable for people with limited mobility. But here too, please contact us. We can adapt your trip to suit your individual needs, also taking into account any mobility restrictions.

We strongly advise you to complete a foreign health insurance, which also covers repatriation to your home country. We offer appropriate insurance through our partner TravelSecure.de.

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