Contact Information Southern African Wildlife College
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  • Cultivating the Custodians of our Natural Heritage

    I often remember the words of my wonderful friend, companion and mentor, Magqubu Ntombela, as we toiled up the hills in the hot sun Mfolozi Game Reserve. "We are doing the work of God", he would say. "And our reward will come when people realise how important our national parks and game reserves really are....Dr Ian Player, Internationally renowned conservationist...Read more

  • Wildlife Guardian Programme

    In response to the current rhino poaching crisis in South Africa, a joint proposal between the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) and the Game Ranger’s Association of Breitling Replica Watches Africa (GRAA) gave  rise to the Wildlife Guardian Programme. This programme...Read more

  • Conservation and Environmental Bridging Programme

    It is essential for future leaders in conservation to be identified within the school system at an early stage and to be exposed to appropriate training opportunities. This programme is aimed at historically disadvantaged school leavers....Read more

  • Enterprise Development/New Venture Creation

    The future of South Africa's economy does not only lie in the formal sector, but also within the informal SMME sector. This is a growing part of South Africa's economy and requires substantial focus from a developmental perspective. It is essential that communities benefit ...Read more

  • Community Rangers Programme

    Many of our wilderness areas are under the growing threat of increasing population growth, sprawling urbanisation, deepening poverty, encroaching land use, poaching and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. It for this reason that...Read more

  • The Sustainable Utilisation Programme – PH Course

    The programme is designed to empower persons from historically disadvantage backgrounds to access an employment sector which, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, is responsible for making an extremely valuable contribution to the economy...Read more

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Since its inception, and given the needs of the conservation industry, the Southern African Wildlife has conducted field ranger training across the African region.  In line with its ethos to bring in specialist trainers to ensure students receive the most relevant and up-to-date training available, much of this training has been outsourced to training partner, African Field Ranger Training Services (AFRTS) recognized as one of the most experienced and leading field ranger training outfits in Africa. This training has included basic, un-armed, armed and special skills: anti-poaching training both on and off-site. (see also

More recently, as the SAWC’s training partner, AFRTS has been instrumental in supporting the College’s Wildlife Guardian Programme aimed at helping curb the current rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. Given the scope and depth of field ranger training provided by the College, and for which AFRTS were being contracted, the College and AFRTS recently entered into a business agreement whereby the College has acquired AFRTS. In terms of this acquisition, the College aims to strengthen its capacity and expand its scope of training to a wider client base whilst also ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the College.

In effect, this now means that the College will now have its own dedicated Field Ranger Training Unit run by Ruben de Kock and his experienced team to address to training needs across the region and help to further address the threat of poaching.

The impact:

AFRTS brings 23 years of Field Ranger training experience and an accredited skills programme - Field Ranger Law Enforcement Armed and Unarmed -to the arsenal of training presented by the Southern African Wildlife College. AFRTS’ involvement with the Kruger National Park Field Ranger training over the past 17 years has also added an important component to the skills development process given the fact that this training has evolved into different courses and training interventions for the Kruger National Park over time. 

The need for Advanced Field Ranger training as well as Extended Clandestine Patrols (ECP) in the Kruger National Park led to the Southern African Wildlife College contracting in AFRTS for the Basic and Advanced Field Ranger courses, tailor made, and contracting Jack Greeff, Ntomeni Ranger Services, as the provider of the ECP programme. In expanding AFRTS’s scope of training, several advanced Field Ranger courses, adaptable to Rapid Response Team type training, have been run for clients like the North West Parks Board and Tourism Agency and the Kruger National Park. A Clandestine Operators course as well as a Tactical Operations course has also now been developed by AFRTS with accreditation being imminent.  

In bolstering what is now an in-house offering, the Southern African WildlifeCollege has also been asked by the International Rangers Federation to take the lead in developing training material in consultation with various experts to standardize and professionalize ranger training across the region. This is particularly relevant given the current Rhino poaching onslaught in South Africa and the growing elephant poaching crisis in the rest of Africa.

A large amount of AFRTS’s time and capacity will also help address the training needs identified by way of a wide ranging training needs analysis recently conducted by KfW. This includes information on where the critical needs of the industry lie and also details the needs already identified by conservation organisations such as SANParks. To this end, in 2013 the College was appointed by the Kruger National Park as the in-house provider of all ant-poaching training.

In addition, with funding from the Liberty Wildlife Fund, the College has also extended its surveillance capabilities with the acquisition of a Bathawk, a light aircraft specially suited to conducting monitoring and anti-poaching aerial surveillance. Working hand in hand with ground patrols, the aerial patrols, across various reserves are making a marked difference in terms of covering larger areas, monitoring wildlife and identifying any poaching activities.


Training courses presented by African Field Ranger Training Services Division:

Field Ranger Selection Course (7 days)

The Field Ranger selection process is inextricably linked to the Field Ranger training course for the latter to be productive and cost efficient. Proper selection ensures that those students entering the Field Ranger training course are of the right caliber and that the time, effort and finances expended in training them is not wasted.

Apart from the greater productivity and cost effectiveness achieved with the training course, selection ensures that high standards are attained and that a consistent minimum standard is achieved. The selection course runs for 7 consecutive days.

Aimed at selecting candidates for Field Ranger training the course comprises:

·      Physical selection

·      Casualty evacuation (Casevac) simulation

·      Individual Monitoring - Learners are monitored throughout and reported on individually.  A recommendation with regard to employability/suitability is based on daily reporting of observations made during the process.


Basic Field Ranger Course. (6 weeks)

After the selection process successful candidates will undergo basic Field Ranger training. The skills and knowledge gained in this course are the fundamental skills that all Field Rangers need in order to effectively perform their duties. Those learners who show they too have leadership skills may qualify for further leadership training should it be required by their organization.  The course is the accredited Skills Program:  Field Ranger Law Enforcement (Armed or Unarmed)

Aimed at training Field Rangers the course comprises:

·      Drill and discipline

·      Duties and responsibilities

·      Conservation philosophy

·      Patrols

·      Law enforcement

·      Communications

·      Tracking

·      Use of rifle

·      First aid

·      Night operations

·      Observation posts

·      Ambushes

·      Extended patrols

·      Crime Scene Control

·      Learner’s ability to demonstrate an understanding of HIV/AIDS and its implications


Learners are reported on individually and rated in terms of competency.


Patrol Leaders Course. (2 weeks)

The leader group, in addition to receiving instruction in ecological concepts, community involvement, and anti-poaching techniques, will receive training in field leadership and instructional skills.

The leader group training is conducted by the AFRTS trainers and will take two weeks.

Aimed at training patrol leaders - instructors to plan and conduct patrols in a protected area – the course comprises:

·      Field orders

·      Field leadership

·      Planning patrols

·      Patrol preparation

·      Information gathering and dissemination

·      Basic conflict resolution

·      Learners are reported on individually and rated in terms of competency.


Protected Security Operations Planning Course (2 weeks)

This course addresses the need for anti-poaching strategies to become proactive rather than remain reactive. This training is aimed at empowering managers of small-protected areas or bigger nature reserves or sections rangers to design and develop a protected areas security operations plan. 

Aimed at Protected Area managers/section rangers (Planning level) the course comprises:

·      8 Step counter poaching model

·      Planning of operations

·      Field intelligence

·      Community involvement in planning

·      Training and employment of Field Rangers

·      Labour Law introduction

·      Investigations

·      Leadership


Specialized Courses (length of course is based on training requirements)

These courses are custom designed for those organizations that have specific problems that need to be addressed. These courses will augment prior training in terms of area specific threats and operations.

Aimed at qualified Field Rangers trained on-site these courses include:

·      Extended clandestine patrols

·      Observation Posts / Listening Posts

·      Tactical Movement

·      Field and contact Tactics

·      Advanced weapon handling

·      Night operations


In-Service training courses (approximately 7 days)

Follow up is a vital part of any training. This course is like a diagnostic assessment to ensure that those who have undergone previous training are still up to the standard required to perform their duties effectively. It is recommended that in service training be conducted once or twice a year. The course is aimed at those individuals who have completed their basic Field Ranger course. The course will cover all spheres of training that was undertaken during the basic Field Ranger course.


Re-training courses (approximately 1 week)

Rangers need to be retrained. This course will retrain Field Rangers already trained at the basic level by AFRTS or can augment training previously done. This is basically a compacted repeat of the basic Field Ranger training to get performance up to the required standards of competency. Re-training courses are flexible and they can involve a handful of individuals or they can be undertaken at the same time as a greater intake of new Field Rangers.

The training to be conducted will be Para-Military as indicated by the attached Training Program (See attached program).  This program includes all skills necessary to empower Field Rangers in any protected area in order to ensure the correct application as a Field Ranger. The training presented will be accredited by CATHSSETA and includes the Skills Program:  Field Ranger Law Enforcement (Armed or Unarmed).

Retraining will cover the training that a Field Ranger has been exposed to before during Basic Field Ranger courses.  Training is presented on a 20% theoretical and 80% practical basis to ensure assimilation and competence in all subjects presented. 


Current projects being implemented by AFRTS:

The following training is currently being implement for existing clients:

Training Field Rangers and Special deployment teams in Burma

Training of Clandestine Operators in Gorongosa Mozambique

Training of Field Rangers in Tanzania (TANAPA)


For further information contact: AFRTS – A division of the SAWC: 

Contact: Mr Ruben de Kock: Business Unit Manager: Protected Area Integrity

Tel: +27 (0) 15-7937300/7349/7342 or Email:


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