The Rock, MOTSUMI HillFrank Bouwer, DA Specialist and Ballon Pilot

A Field Guide or Nature Guide leads guests through the Natural environment, in this case the Field Guide is leading a walk through Dangerous Game country.

A Field Guide or Nature Guide leads guests through the Natural environment, in this case the Field Guide is leading a walk through Dangerous Game country.

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What is the difference between an NQF2 (“Level1”) Field Guide, and an “Advanced Field Guide NQF4 (“Level 2”)?
Apart from the log books, the electives, the exam – how does your guided activity need to to be different?
My advice as an assessor:
The Advanced Field Guide NQF4 is markedly different from the NQF2 in many ways. Apart from the workbook, electives and theory exam, your exhibit of experience is extremely important.
As an assessor, I need to see evidence of your experience in your presentation. For example, an AD FG NQF4 knows not to talk about a tree at 05h30 in the morning. Unlike nocturnal/crepuscular animals, that tree will also be around at 10h00. What I am trying to say, is that you must have timing. Know when, for what, and how much to talk about.
You must also show clear evidence of interpretation. For an NQF4 guide, listing the differences between black and white rhino is simply not good enough. You have to really observe what is happening in a sighting, and interpret it. You could, for example, rather show your guest how you could tell that it’s a female, how you determined that the calf is a C-class and what that means, and how that scenario explains the reason for the presence of two young males and a dominant bull at the same spot. In other words, the guests must learn more than they would have, had they simply taken a private vehicle and a few books with them.
Another example would be birds. I need evidence that you can interpret the behaviour seen – and birds are seldom doing “nothing”. Same with plants; the dominance of this type of grass in the area – what does it mean, in terms of what animals I could expect to find here? Why do I see lots of water-independent springbok close to Mankwe Lake, seeing they do not need to drink – but none along the Legkraal track? What other factors determine animal distribution?
You must also show clear evidence that you can correctly understand guests’ questions, and that you answer it on the level of the guest. You must read the level of the guests. No point in giving a really basic explanation to a truck full of scientists, even less in giving a detailed explanation laden with tongue twisting terminology to a group of Chinese with extremely limited English skills.
Your stops and breaks must be consciously and professionally timed and executed.
NQF2 was about identifiying a lot of animals and plants, and saying something about them – in other words, quantitive. AD FG NQF2 is all about interpretation; reading the bush, reading your guests, being a link who translates the language of the African wild to your guests. Stop, look listen. Interpret tracks, signs and, please, sounds! Engage senses other than the visual; let them feel, smell, hear, experience… Be professional, create an experience people will remember!
Before you do your assessment, please go and look up all your “fall back” stories. The fact that you have told guests for years that a white rhino got its name from “wide”, because you heard it from an experienced mentor, does not necessarily mean it is true. Is a tsessebe the fastest antelope? Who ever raced one against a springbok? What EVIDENCE is there – or is it merely somone’s opinion? Is an alkaline ring dyke complex really a volcano? Why does it consist almost entirely out of intrusive igneous rock then? Is a hippo really a hind-gut fermentor? On this level, you really have to check up on all your facts and interpretations – especially the ones you use most often. And PLEASE… GOOGLE does NOT equal research (not even Wikipedia…)
Books like the “Smithers” Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (yes, the huge book), Roberts’ Birds VII, that kind of thing – there should an NQF 4 guide get their information!
Qestion everything, be a skeptic, learn the truth – Before embarking on an ADVANCED FIELD GUIDE NQF4 Assessment.
Make this you journey of discovery, learn to question the established, to sift the truth from the “conventional BS”. This level is not about a higher salary or a status. It is about your development into a distinguished interpretor of the Natural Environment, a campfighter for the truth, and still, in the final analysis, a student hungry to learn more!
Get ready for it, nail it, and be a real professional ambassador for our lovely calling!DSCF00511432792777066 (800x450)


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