The Managing Director of FGASA, Michelle du Plessis, along with Alan Taylor, regional representative for FGASA in the area, recently spent a week travelling through the beautiful rolling hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal. The trip included visits to Babanango Private Game Reserve, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Thanda Private Game Reserve, Amakhosi Safari Lodge, &Beyond Phinda, and Bhejane Nature Training (one of FGASA’s endorsed training delivery partners).

At the top of everyone’s list was the expiry of the current tourist guide qualifications held by CATHSSETA. While we do not yet have any additional feed back or clear path forward with regards to this, we can assure you that we are working hard with SAQA, the QCTO, CATHSSETA and the NDT to move this process forward. We are committed to remaining open and transparent about this process.

Another point raised was the lack of FGASA Assessors in the KZN region. FGASA recognises this problem and is currently working on mechanisms that would see Assessors from other regions in the country going to Natal to alleviate this. We recognised that this issue is not exclusive to Natal and all regions will be included in this going forward.

The trip was hugely successful with many providing positive, encouraging feedback to FGASA on the standards of professionalism and conduct. We are extremely pleased to announce that reserves and lodges have given their support to FGASA and will be encouraging their guides to continue their career growth through FGASA.

Bhejane Nature Training, one of FGASA’s endorsed training delivery partners has been hard at work renovating and upgrading the facilities their training camp. Michelle and Alan were treated to a three-night stay in the camp as well as a full tour of the premises and the recent upgrades to their facilities. These included upgrades to their kitchen, gym and student transport ensuring that any student training with them receives an incredible experience. It also presented a great opportunity for their current intake of students to become more familiar with FGASA as an organisation, what the organisation does and how FGASA sets the standards of professionalism, ethics and safety. The students were also able to ask questions and raise any concerns directly with FGASA. Both Michelle and Alan had a fantastic time being hosted at Bhejane Nature Training and commend Bhejane for their continued commitment to professional excellence, high standards of training and continual development to ensure their qualified students enjoy a well-rounded, fun and professional field guide training experience.

At Manyoni, Michelle and Alan met one of two incredible development guides who have been fully sponsored to embark on their FGASA career journey, beginning with their FGASA Nature Site Guide NQF2. While Nkosi Manzini was unable to attend the meeting, Michelle did have the pleasure of meeting Siboniso Dlamini. Siboniso is preparing to write his NQF2 exam in October of this year, we wish both of you the very best for future careers as FGASA guides!

Overall, we are extremely pleased and encouraged by the support of the reserves and lodges in Natal. It is vital to FGASA that we continue to build strong, positive relationships with guides, Delivery Partners, reserves, and lodges to ensure the continued development of guides and their professional careers in tourism and hospitality.