FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Adventure Tour Guiding
How can I become an adventure guide in South Africa?
There is only one route: you must obtain the Generic Adventure Site Guide (GASG) qualification and be registered with a Provincial Tourism Registrar. This will also help you in SADC countries.
What if I don’t, but just start guiding people because I am already skilled
You can be stopped by the police or tourism officials and asked for your Tourist Guide badge and card. If you aren’t legally registered, you can be arrested and prosecuted and your tourist vehicle impounded. The Operator employing you can also be charged.
This doesn’t seem to be happening.
It is. The Department of National Tourism is tightening up and raids are taking place, with officials accompanied by police. Quite a few illegal guides and Operators have been netted.
But I could still get away with not being legal, couldn’t I?
Well yes – until you have an accident. Then, insurers will draw your attention to a clause in every policy that says if you are not legal you are not covered. Imagine having to pay for someone in a wheelchair – an accident that happened on your watch – for the rest of their life.
Oh dear. So what does training and qualification entail?
First you must have a Specialist Technical Certificate for your skill (eg hiking, rafting, abseiling). To get this you will need Wilderness First Aid Level 3 (4 day course) and at least 21 days logged on commercial tours as an assistant guide. You will be tested for your specialist skills. Normally even experienced guides need a refresher course, which AsAfrica provides. The assessment is done in the field but also includes a written 2- hour knowledge test.
And then, am I qualified to guide?
Not quite yet. With a specialist certificate you are rated as personally “competent” in the skill. You may assist as a guide but not lead trips. The Specialist Certificate should stand you in good stead with insurers if ever you are involved in an accident on a tour.
You mean I am not yet a tour guide?
Correct. You have the personal skills part but must complete the tourist guiding part.
So what must I still do?
You have to get the GASG certificate, accredited by CATHSSETA, the government authority in charge of tourism & hospitality. To get GASG you must first produce a Portfolio of Evidence (POE), which is a file giving proof of your knowledge and experience as an adventure guide. Some people choose to attend a course to complete the programme requirements. We can arrange that for you.
If I don’t do a course, what can I do?
You can submit on the basis of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), meaning that you are confident you have enough of a background to produce your POE and pass the field assessment that follows. AsAfrica will help you through this process. It is quite a lot of paperwork.
Can I have multiple specialities if I want to be a career guide?
Yes. We urge you to go that route. Once you have done GASG you can add specialities. In each case you need to the Specialist Certificate in the new field, and submit a logbook. But it becomes much easier to complete the GASG paperwork because you will already have proved your tourism abilities.
Is there anything else?
Read our Adventure Career brochure which spells out all the details. It also includes a flow cart of steps to qualifying (Page 9) and a schedule of prices (Page 10). Then contact us to discuss your plans.
We are here to help. Our aim is to put more professionals into the field as legal tour guides. This will give you work by attracting more domestic and foreign visitors!