In the words of a Trainee Field Ranger – Field Ranger Law Enforcement Armed Course

Dates: 24 JANUARY 2022 – 4 MARCH 2022

On 24 January 2022, we arrived at Zinave National Park (Mozambique), after a very gruelling basic field ranger selection. Upon arrival we were formally introduced to the Mozambican staff members Chef Estevo Chiure, Chef Samuel Matepsa, and Chef Helder and to the two South African instructors from the SAWC, Mr. K.B and Sergeant Gert. After the introductions, we were expecting to be shown to our rooms and to be given time to rest as some of us were coming from far. 

We were expecting that the training would start the following day however, the training started immediately upon our arrival. And this is when we were introduced to the culture of running in the base and morning PT. And then just when you thought things could not get any worse, we were introduced to tires and poles.


The physical training started at five am every morning. The first week was not easy as some of us had sustained injuries during our selection. The team members having already spent time together motivated each other so no one gave up. As time went on we got used to it and we are now physically fit. From these activities our health benefited mentally physically and emotionally


We were introduced to the drilling, which was new to us, but at least during our selection, we had done a bit of drill. At first, it was confusing to all of us but as time went on, we started to adapt to the movement and commands, which instilled both discipline and respect.


The classes were a wonderful experience. We were also taught about certain basic principles that we can apply on a daily basis. We have gained new knowledge, skills (firearm handling), and how to apply critical thinking abilities. Mr. K.B always made it easy with his style of presentation, and he also had practical examples. He always gave us a chance to ask questions for clarity before we could go on practical exercises. Language was obviously a challenge, but Chef Estevo as his translator, made things easy for us.


This is where we struggled a bit, but with experienced instructors, it got easy as we were given enough chances to visit the shooting range.  This was the most wonderful yet frightening experience but we managed to adapt quickly to the experience. What scared us the most was standing behind the weapon and shooting. We need to thank the Mozambican Defence Force for lending us their instructor Mr. Hercules Mbonjonjo, as well as their firearms and ammunition.


The catering team made sure that we were well fed, our meals were well balanced and they made sure that we were fed on time. The kitchen staff were also very friendly.


This provided the most practical way of learning how a field ranger really operates in the bush. The most enjoyable experience was when we went on a live way-lays. We saw a lot of poacher movement and heard gunshots within our area of responsibility, which made the training very real. 


This was the most fascinating experience, considering that we had never had to be in a helicopter before in our lives. Mr. K.B presented this so well, he showed his military experience throughout this module and communicated well with the pilot. 


We would like to thank the instructors for their dedication to this course, from the day we arrived as selection candidates until the last day of our course; we thank them for the warm welcome, support, and patience. Thanks to PPF, ANAC, and Zinave National Park for providing us with the opportunity to be field rangers, and most importantly, thanks to the SAWC for providing us with such professional instructors.


Field Ranger Law Enforcement Course - Armed

The purpose of this training is to improve the learners ability to work as a field ranger in the area of conservation by reinforcing and improving the skills that he/she currently has and then building skills and abilities upon these. Upon completion of the programme the learner will be able to provide basic protected areas security, be capable of gathering useful data on the natural resources under his/her care. The learner’s understanding of how natural systems function will improve and he/she should gain a better understanding of the resources under his/her care; with consideration of resources that require particular conservation concern.