Start your professional guiding career with Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

The Grootbos Professional Guide Academy

Embark on a life-changing experience in the quest to become a nature, marine and fynbos professional guide. Learn more about our unique accredited guiding course.

The Grootbos Professional Guide Academy

Follow your dream to become a nature guide.

Our academy provides students with a life-changing opportunity to become Nature Guides in the coastal-marine and fynbos environments.

This one-of-a-kind academy provides all-inclusive training to foster exceptional, knowledgeable guides. Our team of expert trainers will lead students through a path of personal growth, inspire a passion and deeper connection to nature while giving them the foundational skills to become a member of the next generation of professional guides! 

The Grootbos Professional Guide Programme

As a world leader in progressive and sustainable tourism, Grootbos is dedicated to developing and training the next generation of nature guides.

Endorsed by FGASA, one of the leading guiding institutions in South Africa, our 18-month training programme provides students with a unique opportunity to learn essential guiding skills in a region that is rich with biodiversity and culture while also gaining experience in a 5-star luxury lodge environment. 

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Grootbos is a 5-star, multi-award-winning, luxury lodge situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Offering unparalleled luxury and transformative experiences that will bring guests closer to nature while fostering a true connection to harmonious living.

As a devoted custodian of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Grootbos goes beyond simply conserving this pristine wilderness. We are constantly researching, innovating and pioneering new conservation and sustainability initiatives, while also cultivating social transformation in surrounding communities.

A natural Haven for Nature Guides

3500-hectares of pristine wilderness
An area of rich cultural history
A botanists dream with 907 plant species (7 new to science)
Ancient milkwood forests
Home to the Marine Big 5
Unique coastal birding hotspot
Course Information

The Grootbos Professional Guide Academy offers up to 10 students per course a chance to embark on a life-changing 3-month programme to become professional nature guides.

On successful completion of the first 6 months, students will possess the following qualifications:

  • FGASA Apprentice Field Guide
  • CATHSSETA Nature Site Guide (NQF2)
  • Marine Guide (Level 1)
  • Fynbos Regional Birding Guide
  • Fynbos Biome Guide
  • A 2-week orientation organic cooking course

On successful completion of the full 18-month programme, students will possess the following qualifications:

  • Field Guide (NQF4)
  • CATHSETTA Nature Site Guide Skills Program (NQF4)
  • Culture Guide (NQF4)
  • CATHSETTA Culture Guide (NQF4)

Course Prerequisites:

  • Have a valid matric or equivalent
  • Fit and able to walk for at least 5 km
  • Be in the possession of a valid driver’s license (manual gear shift)
  • The learner must be able to communicate effectively in English
  • A tertiary degree or diploma is an advantage

The full 3-month course will cost R 18,000.

Next Course:
The academy will welcome students in September 2022.

Additional Information



Accommodation is shared with two students per room in a five-bedroomed farmhouse on-site. The house includes a fully equipped kitchen, communal lounge and dining area and three bathrooms.

All rooms in the farmhouse are non-smoking. Wifi will be available with limited cell reception. No pets are allowed on the Reserve.

Each student will be issued with uniforms which they will be responsible for and required to wear for the duration of their 18-month course.

Grootbos will supply ingredients for all meals throughout their time on site, which students will prepare themselves daily.



Transfers should be arranged by the student to get to and from the reserve to start the programme and during course breaks.

COVID Policy:
All students will be required to adhere to the COVID procedures and policies of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Supplementary Training Inclusions

Additional training modules have been carefully selected to ensure a truly immersive programme. In addition to gaining specialised experience in fynbos, marine and cultural guiding, students will also obtain additional knowledge and skills from selected supplementary modules, and the exposure to working in a lodge and hospitality environment.

Bee Keeping

Grootbos is home to over 120 beehives. Discover the centuries-old tradition of apiculture with our resident beekeeper, on the reserve and surrounding areas.

Organic Gardening

The organic farm supplies the Grootbos kitchens with fresh produce. Students will spend time on the farm learning about different growing seasons and practices for sustainable harvesting.

Cooking Courses

Get to know your way around a kitchen with foundational cooking skills. Our talented Grootbos chefs will teach students basic techniques in the kitchen.

Bar Keeping

Understand the principles of wine and mixology with the Grootbos sommelier. Improve your practical bar skills by working in the bar at the Lodge.

Zen Guiding

Explore the synchronicity and interrelationship of nature during the Zen Guiding module. Learn to connect with nature and facilitate an appreciation for your surroundings.


Offering a broad-based understanding of digital photography, students will be exposed to current graphics software and develop an intuition for assisting their guests to achieve the perfect shot.

Introduction to Entomology:

Join the resident entomologist in the field. Learn how to identify the insects found in the area and why biodiversity is important to the region.

Cave Guiding

The Cave Guiding module is full of rich cultural history dating back to the Stone Age. Gain a deeper understanding of the way people lived, what they ate and how they interacted with the flora and fauna of the time.

Regional Fynbos Bird Guiding

With 118 bird species recorded on Grootbos, students will receive training to better understand the birds in the area and the principles of bird watching.

Wild Flower Guiding

The Cape Floristic Region consists of 9,000 species of plants. Get to know the intriguing plant species that are found in the area and gain a deeper understanding of the flora that makes up the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Bee Keeping
Organic Gardening
Cooking Courses
Bar Keeping
Zen Guiding
Introduction to Entomology:
Cave Guiding
Regional Fynbos Bird Guiding
Wild Flower Guiding
Start your Guiding Career with Grootbos Professional Guide Academy

A Pristine Natural Environment

The 3500-hectare Grootbos reserve is situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom and is home to over 900 species of fynbos, three ancient milkwood forests and an incredible variety of bird and animal life. Students will have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in this pristine natural haven while at the same gain experience in the operations of an award-winning luxury lodge. 

Learn from the Best in the Industry

Grootbos is a world leader in progressive luxury tourism and has a team of highly experienced conservationists, guide trainers, nature guides and lodge employees that will mentor and train students to become professional nature guides. 

Gain Additional Hospitality and Guiding Experience

In addition to becoming an accredited FGASA guide, students at the Grootbos Professional Guide Academy will also broaden their knowledge, skills and experience in the hospitality and lodge environment through a range of supplementary training modules such as zen guiding, basic photography, wine orientation and an introduction to entomology. 

The Grootbos Professional Guide Academy offers you the opportunity to follow your passion, learn from the best and be part of a leading conservation and sustainability brand. 

A Message from Guide Training Manager Grant Hine

The Grootbos Professional Guide Academy not only provides knowledge and guiding skills but instils a philosophy of nature connection, developing a better understanding of one's own true nature to provide others with a life-changing experience for a more peaceful and healthy existence within the broader ecosystem”. Grant Hine

Meet the Team

Our knowledgeable team consists of professional guide-trainers, experienced nature guides and leading conservationists. Working with Grootbos for many years, each member has accomplished exceptional status in their respective fields. Students will benefit from being taught by some of the best in the industry. 

Grant Hine

The Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) was run by Grant Hine for 17 years. He has been involved in the nature guiding industry for over 30 years during this time he has written several guiding learner manuals.

Grant oversees the FGASA guide training and assessments in the Overberg region. He works with a new approach to re-connecting people with nature. This includes nature therapy, forest bathing, zen safaris, nature-based life coaching, reiki, meditation and mindfulness training.


Sean Privett

Sean, the Conservation Director at the Grootbos Foundation and published fynbos expert, has over 20 years of experience. 

Sean leads the team of conservationists and is passionate about the conservation of the Overberg region. He is involved in various NPOs that include the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, Flower Valley Conservancy and the Overberg Renosterveld Trust.


Jo De Villiers

Jo holds a Professional Field Guide qualification, specialising in birding and flowers.

Jo brings more than 10 years of guiding experience to the Grootbos guiding academy team. Her spirit and passion for nature are tangible. She is well-loved by all guests and is the epitome of dedication to the outdoors. 


Get in touch for further information

Contact Details



General: +27 (0)28 *** Show number


Postal Address

PO Box 148, Gansbaai, South Africa, 7220

Grootbos Foundation and global recognition

Grootbos is a world leader in sustainable tourism and has been awarded some of the highest international accolades possible, making us one of only a handful of lodges to achieve this.

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Join us at Grootbos with the secret season special - Exclusive to South Africans

Secret Season Special: R4950 pp/pn sharing (up to 50% discount on normal rate, 50% off spa treatments and a complimentary bottle of Creation Merlot)

What's new at Grootbos - New Garden Lodge and Florilegium

The last year has been a busy one at Grootbos. We rebuilt our beloved Garden Lodge entirely and re-opened it in April 2022. We also officially launched the Grootbos Florilegium - Africa's first contemporary florilegium - which is a collection of botanical illustrations created by local and international artists, depicting the charismatic plants found on our reserve and the surrounding regions.

Click below to learn more about these exciting developments.

See New Garden Lodge See Florilegium