Combine your passion for conservation with the excitement of discovery as an adventure guide – a unique career that promises to keep you outdoors, helping wildlife and introducing visitors to exotic locales!
It’s a professional development choice few people think about, but definitely a thrilling one! Imagine sleeping in a tent under a canopy of stars, then waking every morning in the bush, searching for lion tracks or monitoring elephant herd movements. Or if you prefer the rainforests of Latin America, you can pursue a career in ecotourism and guiding in the Amazon. Another professional adventure pro takes visitors beneath the sea, teaching them how to safely scuba dive on coral reefs.
The one thing each of these paths have in common is that they’re uncommon!
They Said It Best
Participating in an extreme endeavor can be difficult, but can it alter your life?
Calley joined Fronteering on a jungle expedition and was exhilarated with the experience: “The survival course is one of those personal challenges you simply have to do – an opportunity to extend yourself both mentally and physically. It’s deeply satisfying to look back and think ‘I did that – I survived!’”
Martin said his internship with GVI in Fiji cemented his career: “I had been considering pursuing a career in the diving industry for some time so when I got the chance to join the project it seemed natural to pick the internship. It’s now my intention to train as an open water scuba instructor and to return to the resort at which I sat my internship work placement, where I’ve been offered the resorts instructor position after the completion of my course.”
Tom traveled with Frontier, and he still can’t believe how great it was: “Definitely the best thing I’ve ever done! Also it will end up being a pretty big influence on how my life goes. It’s helped convince me I want to do conservation in the future, and I am now doing Zoology with Conservation at university because of that.”
Sarah participated in a Field Guide Association of Southern Africa course with Naturally Africa Volunteers that changed her life: “The instructors were excellent! Never had better teachers who are genuinely passionate about what they are teaching. We always received good feedback and suggestions and endless patience. The variety was perfect. I wish the course was longer. I never want to leave! The course was amazing and honestly changed my life (thanks to the instructors). I’ll be back.”
Learn more about the thrilling opportunities that await you as an adventure or outdoor guide – here are just a few of the extreme experiences you can sign up for today!
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Ready for an adventure that’s off the beaten path? Fronteering offers trips, expeditions, and volunteer programs in unique places worldwide. Destinations include unspoiled locations throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia, with adventure travel from the open desert, to dense jungles, to the highest peaks in the world.
Learn how to survive in the unspoiled jungles of Belize on an expedition course with Fronteering. You’ll take turns leading the team through the rainforest thanks to hands-on training by ex-U.K. Special Forces instructors and other specialists – you will need an interest in the outdoors, as you’ll be spending most nights under the stars, sleeping in a hammock. Belize is famous for its wildlife, including jaguars, tapirs, and howler monkeys. Chill on Caye Caulker and sightsee Maya pyramids on this trip of a lifetime! This expedition lasts two weeks with a fee of $2,369. Read more here!
Travel to Brazil and visit the world’s largest wetland with Fronteering on the Pantanal Guide Experience. With the highest diversity of plants and animals on the planet, this is an eco tourist’s dream come true! You’ll work with experienced guides to help develop sustainable tourism practices on a two-week trip where you’ll learn off-road driving, canoeing, horseback riding, and other life lessons, both in the class and in the tropics. As a volunteer, you’ll work in the fields of tourism, hospitality, conservation, and ranching – skills you can transfer to an exciting career anywhere in the wild. Stay for one to four months on this amazing experience – fees start at $2,495. Click here to learn more!
Think you can cope in a South American jungle with only a pocket knife? Find out with Fronteering’s Jungle Survival course that places you in a pristine locale of Guyana in the Amazon. This two-week adventure trip places you with Fronteering instructors and Amerindian guides, teaching you how to provide for yourself in the jungle with almost no gear. Learn how to find water, build a fire, make animal traps, hunt with a bow and arrow, and assemble shelter. Never get lost again as you leave signs for rescuers, and find you own way out of the remote rainforest. Stay for two weeks and gain bragging rights when you survive the isolation phase! The cost starts at $2,795 – learn more and apply today.
Naturally Africa Volunteers invites travelers to participate in its impactful programs such as medical care, teaching, sports, and more – and its director has considerable experience as a Field Guide. This organization not only gives you the opportunity to generously donate your time to help others, but also to build the skills for an amazing career as a qualified guide, offering FGASA Level 1 training, advanced trail guide training, and more. If you’re looking for professional development that keeps you out of an office, look no further than one of Africa’s best wildlife training providers.
Conduct game drives and guide safari guests to the best wildlife spots when you complete the Field Guide FGSA Level 1 Course with Naturally Africa. This amazing 55-day experience gives you a solid base of knowledge and the practical skills you need to launch a career anywhere in the world. Some of the subjects you’ll study include basic bush and survival skills, geology and soil, plant uses and wildlife identification, animal tracking, 4×4 driving skills, animal behavior, rifle-handling, conducting game drives and walks, and even astronomy as you camp in the wild. You’ll stay in two different camps to broaden your experience, sleeping in either tents or thatched lodges. You’ll need to be at least 18 and have first aid certification for the FGSA Level 1 qualification. Read more here!
If you’ve already FGSA Level 1-qualified, the next step in your training is the FGASA-accredited Trails Guide course through Naturally Africa Volunteers. This 28-day course helps you gain a true appreciation of the environment and its wildlife, and develop your personal guide skills. Learn how to plan and conduct walks in the bush, experience life at a big-game wilderness camp, then develop and practice the skills you’ve already acquired with an emphasis on safety and sensitivity. This course includes navigation and orientation, tracking, situational awareness and walking in dangerous game country, anticipating dangerous animal behavior, and rifle handling, safety and ballistics. Click here to apply!
The Safari Guide course through Naturally Africa Volunteers is an incredible experience for anyone passionate about wildlife and interested in the life and work of a traditional Safari guide. This program is a condensed version of the Field Guide Level 1 course, designed to give you a new perspective for future safari holidays. This laid-back trip gives you an authentic wilderness experience, while you gain practical and theoretical knowledge of the natural African environment. You’ll stay at big-game wilderness camps, and enjoy walks or game drives twice a day. Learn how to identify the unique flora and fauna of the area, and gain skills in guiding, including vehicle and radio procedures. Enjoy the art of bushcraft, and even learn about astronomy! You’ll need to be at least 16 years old to participate, and you’ll have the opportunity to earn an EcoTraining certificate. Read more and register here.
Frontier has three decades of experience placing volunteers on impactful projects – since 1989, this organization has sent more than 20,000 people to 60 countries and more than 400 projects. Frontier’s early travel focused on working with the World Wildlife Fund in Tanzania, where it created the world’s first multi-user marine park – this project at Mafia Island still hosts volunteers today.
The Botswana Wilderness Survival course gives you a raw, untamed experience in an ideal destination for those who are crazy about conservation. Botswana is home to a diverse array of wildlife, with ecosystems that support elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest, rhinos, giraffes, hyenas, and highly-endangered spotted wild dogs. You’ll work in a wilderness reserve with an emphasis on elephant behavior, learning how to monitor animals and record weather patterns, gaining wildlife conservation and survival skills, surveying vegetation, collecting data, writing reports, and mapping wildlife patterns. Your first two weeks are spent in tented camps, learning survival techniques. Spend the rest of your course focusing on conservation studies in traditional African wooden huts with thatched roofs. Fees for this four-week course start at $2,995. Sign up here!
Want to get up close with Africa’s Big Five? Sign up for the South Africa Game Ranger internship and you’ll become a fully accredited FGASA field guide! Become an expert in guiding tourists to the Rainbow Nation, a country that welcomes millions of visitors each year. Work within a game reserve that’s home to the lion, the African elephant, the cape buffalo, the leopard, and the rhinoceros, and even help with the facility’s rehabilitation work. This is one of the few locations that has successfully bred the Bengal tiger! You’ll work on game capture (in season), help to eradicate invasive plant species and patrol the fences. Your successful completion of this course will qualify you for a FGASA Level 1 certificate and First Aid Certificate. Stay for eight weeks or more, with program fees starting at $4,445. Click here to learn more and apply.
Receive advanced training as a Safari Field guide when you spend six months on an internship with Frontier in South Africa. Your complete FGASA training includes advanced rifle handling, hospitality management, off-road 4×4 vehicle driving, first aid training, and the principles behind becoming an ethical safari guide. Learn how to survive in the African wilderness as you work alongside highly-skilled field staff, and participate in bush walks and game drives. As a field guide, you’ll learn how to identify species and track animals in the wild. You’ll patrol fences, capture game, assist with animal rehabilitation, and stem invasive plant species. The FGASA field guide course is an entry-level qualification involving a theoretical and a practical component. Successful completion will qualify you for a FGASA Level 1 certificate and first aid certificate. Fees for this six-month internship start at $11,745. Learn more and start on your new career today!
Global Vision International (GVI) offers high-quality and high-impact volunteer, intern, and study programs worldwide. Founded in 1997, GVI places 2,000+ travelers abroad each year, in 21 locations in 13 countries around the world. Its programs are designed toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. GVI partners with prolific organizations such as Save the Children, the Red Cross, WWF, SANParks, and the Jane Goodall Institute, as well as smaller, community-based organizations with grassroots initiatives. Safety is paramount with GVI, and staff undergo complete background checks as well as off-site safety training. Any local services offered to participants, including accommodation, transport, or tour providers, have undergone an in-depth risk audit.
Teach scuba divers around the world when you train with GVI’s PADI Instructor internship in the Yucatan Peninsula. This training program is well-rounded and comprehensive, designed to help you become a highly qualified and specialized PADI instructor with marine conservation training. Your career will skyrocket with this professional program, transferable to any dive industry application. You’ll be able to work and teach anywhere in the world thanks to the experience you’ll gain in diving, marine conservation, and biology. Your internship will be spent on the following training:
- Marine Conservation Training – 12 weeks
- PADI Divemaster Course (internship and placement) – 12 weeks
- Instructor Development and Master Scuba Diver Trainer courses – 6 weeks
Before you start the internship, you will need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water or equivalent. The cost of this 30-week internship is $16,610. Learn more and register here!
Become an accredited guide and launch your conservation career in one of the best wildlife locales in the world: the iconic South African lowveld! The Safari Field Guide course with GVI places you in the bush for six months, with an optional six-month work placement when you’re finished! You’ll become a trained professional with skills such a wildlife tracking, shooting competency, 4×4 driving, outdoor first aid, wildlife photography, wildlife surveying techniques and in-depth knowledge and practical application of subjects such as conservation, ecology, reserve management, geology, and animal behavior. You’ll enjoy the opportunity to work and guide around dangerous game, such as elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, water buffalo, and even hippo. Stay for 23 weeks with program fees starting at $16,450. Read more here and apply today!
Dive into a successful career as a professional conservation scientist and scuba diver with the PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation internship with GVI. This internship consists of two 12-week placements diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Lomaiviti Island in Fiji. You’ll gain hands-on experience with marine ecosystems, as well as commercial scuba instruction. During the first half of your internship, you’ll conduct coral reef and marine life surveys, participate in training sessions and beach cleanups, assess marine debris, and more, depending upon the project’s needs. You’ll dive or snorkel twice a day, five days a week as you conduct research. The second half of your internship places you at a dive center on a work placement, learning leadership techniques, equipment maintenance, advanced marine survey skills, and more diving. Spend six months on this internship with fees starting at $13,225. Click here to learn more!
Ready To Travel?
Challenge yourself with an expedition to a South American jungle, pitting yourself against nature while you hone your survival skills. Or, purse a career that places you on the Savannah, working alongside professionals in the bush, guiding tourists as they experience the cultural and natural heritage of Southern Africa. Or grab your swim fins and mask and plunge into a scuba career, leading divers into the deep, exploring coral reefs and saving sea turtles.
Whatever your choice, it will be an exciting one that changes your life – and the planet – for the better.
Robin Van Auken · Writer
Robin is a researcher, writer, and a registered professional archaeologist, a skillset she uses every day as a cultural communication specialist with Hands-on Heritage. Her projects connect communities with an emphasis on interpretation and education and conserve cultural and environmental legacies.