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SA College for Tourism
Tracker Academy

Magazine Hill
PO Box 314

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

Course structure

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.


Accredited Subjects

• Track and sign identification
Following spoor
• Tree and plant identification
• Guiding theory
• Tracking theory
• Identify and monitor local wildlife


Certificates Obtained

• CATHSSETA Tracker Skills Program
• Tracker Academy tracker certificate
• First Aid – Level 1 certificate
• LobsterInk online guiding 1 theory
• Birdlife SA birding certificate

Additional subjects

• Hunter-gatherer techniques
• Birds and alarm calls
• Tree and plant medicinal purposes
• Situational awareness
• Life skills
• Conservation ethics
• Basic English and financial literacy
• Presentation skills
Data collection



The Tracker Academy sponsors 16 students per year in two groups of eight on each course. Courses run concurrently.

The cost per student – R75 000

Included in this cost is all training, food, accommodation, learning materials and field trips.

Students are expected to fund their own passage to and from the Tracker Academy. In addition, students are required to pay for their own personal items while on the course. The total amount contributed by each student is approximately R3000.


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The SACT Tracker Academy is a not-for-profit organisation which trains disadvantaged rural people in the traditional skills of wildlife tracking. The accreditation of its tracker training programme with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) made the Tracker Academy the first tracker training school to achieve this distinction in South Africa. More than 94% of our trainee graduates have found permanent employment within the tourism industry.

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