We are pleased to tell you that adventure tour guide learner registrations have re-opened for 2017-8. You may register with AsAfrica and we will take you through the qualifications process. If you initially registered more than two years ago you will need to pay the registration fees again but may not need to repeat any of the work which you have already done.
In South Africa anyone who acts as a guide - nature, culture or adventure - must be legally qualified and registered, according to the Tourism Act, or face prosecution. The qualifications and registration offered through Adventure Standards Africa (AsAfrica) will ensure that you become a legal guide. We are affiliated to the Adventure Qualifications Network (AQN), the only training provider currently accredited with CATHSSETA, the hospitality and tourism training authority in this country.
The qualification you get from us is a fully professional ticket to entry into the field. It will take you 6 months or more, and demands personal dedication to get the work done and submitted. In order to become a qualified adventure guide you need the following:
First you must register with us as a Learner and get a National Learner Number. The costs of each stage in the process are outlined separately from what follows here.
A. SKILLS SET
A Specialist Certificate approving your personal skills in whatever discipline you choose (eg rafting, hiking, abseiling, bungee, mountain biking, zip lining etc etc - there are dozens of skills sets). This certificate must be issued by what is called a Subject Matter Expert in the field after a test. For each skill set you need a specialist certificate. We can arrange your test. Here’s an example:
Logbook of experience. This must be up to date for the past three years. For entry level to guiding you need 21 days logged as an assistant to qualified guides on the types of tours for which you wish to qualify (eg rafting). Trips with friends and clubs do not count, you must be experienced in the organisational and leadership aspects of tour guiding. For more advanced scoping (ie what you are allowed to do as a qualified guide) you need 40 “occasions” of logged experience, an occasion being defined as a trip, with a variety of trips on different routes at different levels of difficulty. We put you in touch with operators to get that experience.
Wilderness First Aid Level 3. This must be recognised by the Dept of Labour. It involves a 40 hour test with an exam (written and prac) at the end, by a qualified and registered trainer. We arrange this course for our learners. These certificates expire after three years and the course must be repeated.
SA Identity or Passport from another country; work permit or refugee status if you are a foreign citizen; Passport photos; highest educational qualification or affidavit declaring your education; CV of employment experience; Letters of Reference. All must be verified by a commissioner of oaths.
It is implied in all of the above that you are already experienced when you submit for the assessment process below. You may choose to do a course or courses with our recommended facilitators but you do not have to if you feel you are competent enough and have the skills and experience. AsAfrica will assess you on the basis of “Recognition of Prior Learning” (RPL) whether or not you have done coursework.
ALL OF THE ABOVE WILL BE INCLUDED WHEN YOU SUBMIT FOR ASSESSMENT UNDER THE GENERIC ADVENTURE GUIDE SKILLS PROGRAMME (GASG). This programme breaks down into two parts - the skills set above, and the Tourism skills below. Read on…
B. TOURISM SKILLS
The tourism component consists of four modules: Planning a tour; Conducting a tour; Managing Safety, Emergencies and the Environment; and Camping. You will need to produce documentary evidence of your participation in all of these, including testimonials from trip leaders/operators; and write several reports on topics like Risk Management and Environmental Impacts. Photos or videos of you in tour guiding roles, and a camping certificate (which we can issue) form part of this. There is a lot of paperwork and you will need to have a computer with online access and email. Everything you produce goes into what is called the Portfolio of Evidence (POE), including the documents from the skills set in A above.
The most important section of the POE is what is called the Adventure Trip Plan (ATP). You must do an ATP for each skills set (eg rafting, abseiling) but can submit these all together with your standard POE. The Adventure Trip Plan takes a single trip that you have researched and run, and outlines it in detail. It includes publicity, trail description, route map, nature notes, logistics of transport and equipment, safety procedures, environmental guidelines, indemnity forms and feedback form, trip report, trip costing and anything else that is relevant to that trip.
AsAfrica organises workshops to help learners complete all the necessary preparation and paperwork.
In addition to the POE you will need to:
Do a written Knowledge Test (either online or on paper) lasting two hours
Do a field assessment with our facilitator, to examine your tourism abilities - communication, leadership, safety awareness, environmental care and general competence
The assessment is an all-round overview of your abilities and it is run according to observation checklists which are issued in advance so that you can practice. You may choose to do a “Formative Assessment” (ie trial run) before submitting for the “Summative Assessment” (ie final). If you fail the latter you can repeat it. You also have the right of appeal against the assessor’s decisions.
Once you have passed the summative assessment your documentation is sent to the Moderator at our school (AQN). If the Moderator is satisfied you will receive an Interim Certificate. The assessment is meanwhile passed on to the Verifier at CATHSSETA and eventually you get the official certificate. You are not required to deal with CATHSSETA directly yourself - we do that for you.
When you have the final official certificate you must apply to your Provincial Tourism Registrar for a badge and card identifying you as a legal guide. On payment of R240 and signing of the tour guide Code of Ethics you receive your badge and card. These must be carried in case any inspector asks to see them while you are leading a group. They must be renewed every two years (a formality).
You may qualify in any number of specialist skills. When registering through AsAfrica, state the skills that you intend to qualify for. Your POE and GASG submission can then include these provided you have the specialist certificates and logbooks. You will also need to do the Adventure Trip Plan for each type of adventure tour that you aim to run. In other words, you can become a career adventure guide legally qualified to lead groups in a variety of fields from abseiling to ziplining.
With the GASG qualification in one or more fields you are a professional and can sell your skills to operators all over the country. Indeed, South African training, experience and certificates rank high in the world and you can use them abroad, subject to work permits and local requirements.
Feel free to contact us for information about events, courses, and opportunities.
Don’t delay, start today.