SA College of Tourism Tracker Academy

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This sponsored tracking course is offered to unemployed, previously disadvantaged people only.


The first six-month semester of the course is conducted at Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Karoo, semi-desert biome. Thereafter the students move to Londolozi Game Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park to complete the second semester in the traditional bushveld savannah biome. As a result, our students learn the diversity of wildlife and its behaviour in two extremely different environments.

Our training offer consists of a CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Sector Education and Training Authority) accredited national skills development tracker training course at NQF (National Qualifications Framework) Level 2 combined with training aimed at Tracker Levels 1 to 4 certificates endorsed and certified by the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).

The Tracker Academy is in the process of developing a higher level tracker training course which will be submitted to CATHSSETA for accreditation.


Three CATHSSETA unit standards covered in the Tracker Skills Development Program include:

• 8460 – Track animals and identify spoor using easily recognisable spoor – 40 credits
• 8440 – Conduct a guided nature experience in a limited geographical area  – 21 credits
• 252462 – Identify and monitor local wildlife – 8 credits

The tracker skills development course was designed to fulfil the industry needs in which tracking skills are required. At 40 credits, tracking unit standard 8460 forms the core of the curriculum and indeed the focus of the course. Unit standard 8440 gives the student a view into the guiding industry and covers basic guiding theory. Unit standard 252462 provides the student with an understanding of the concept of research and the principles of conservation. Therefore, with tracking as the core the student can then choose between guiding, tourism or research, conservation as possible career paths.

It is important to note that the unit standards above provide the student with the basic minimum accreditation. The Tracker Academy far exceeds the training required of it in respect of said accreditation over its one-year training period in as much as it offers its students add-on training which results in them also receiving FGASA endorsed Tracker Levels 1 – 4 certificates.

The Academy trains students to correctly identify the tracks and signs of all mammals including insects, birds and amphibians. It teaches students how to analyse the tiny details contained within each animal’s track. Students spend several months practising the ‘following’ of an animal’s track. This is the ability to find and then follow an animal’s trail, while simultaneously displaying peripheral awareness, until it is found. This is a critical component of the course, and which takes the longest to learn.

Topics and skills such as ancient hunter-gatherer techniques, nest-finding and plant and tree identification for medicinal purposes are also part of the tracker curriculum and students receive lessons in conservation ethics and personal leadership. In addition, the training programme covers generic subjects such as life skills, first aid and hospitality.

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