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How to become an Outdoor Adventure Leader

An "Outdoor Adventure Leader", which we use here as a generic term for an Adventure Tourist Guide or an Adventure-Based Learning Facilitator, instructs and guides individuals and groups undertaking adventure activities in a variety of outdoor locations. Activities may include outdoor education and recreation, bicycle touring, bushwalking, canoeing, caving, cross-country skiing, horse trekking, rafting, rock climbing and sailing.

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy outdoor activities

  • High level of skill in one or more outdoor activities

  • Good administration and organisational skills

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

  • Able to lead, motivate and supervise other people

  • Strong decision-making skills

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job

  • Patience, tact and composure under pressure

  • Ability to speak another language may be an advantage.

Reading a Compass

Duties & tasks

An outdoor adventure leader may perform the following tasks:

  • Plan and prepare activities for both individual and group participation

  • Demonstrate the relevant body movements and skills required

  • Check suitability, condition and performance of all equipment prior to, during and on return from programs

  • Supervise and maintain control of the individuals and groups involved

  • Provide advice on safety measures and risk-avoidance strategies

  • Respond to emergencies by providing first aid assistance and take appropriate further action if required

  • Accept responsibility for the environmental preservation of activity sites and surrounding areas.

Working conditions

Outdoor adventure leaders spend most of their working time outdoors. They are required to work in all weather conditions and in all types of terrain. Locations may include national parks, rivers, mountains, forests, at sea or underwater. Due to the nature of the role, outdoor adventure leaders may be required to work on weekends, public holidays and evenings.

Scuba Diving Course
Man Shooting Bow


An outdoor adventure leader instructs and guides individuals and groups undertaking adventure activities in a variety of outdoor locations. Activities may include bicycle touring, bushwalking, canoeing, caving, cross-country skiing, horse trekking, rafting, rock climbing and sailing.

Courses / Specialisations


In order to register as an Adventure Tourist Guide with the National Registrar, you must successfully complete the Generic Adventure Site Guide courseFind a training provider here.


While there is no regulated or legally required qualification for this course yet, the Adventure Recreation Association (ARA) training is largely accepted and required at many adventure-based learning campsites around the country. Find a training provider here.


For a more well-rounded, higher level Diploma in all things Adventure Tourism, Regulations & Safety, Guiding, Adventure-Based Learning, Adventure Activities, Business, etc. the Adventure Tourism Management Diploma is offered by the Tshwane University of Technology. Find out more here.

Courses / Specialisatons

How to become an Adventure Tourist Guide

According to the Tourism Act, the registrar can only register you as a guide if you are found competent against a formal qualification, which means that you present a certificate by an accredited training provider.

In order to become an Adventure Tourist Guide, you must complete the following training, assessments and registration:

  1. Generic Adventure Site Guide (GASG) qualification with a CATHSSETA accredited training provider.

  2. OPTIONAL (and dependent on activity): a course in your chosen adventurous activity.

  3. Keep a logbook of events (normally around 21 events with at least 5 being in a leadership role).

  4. Get assessed by an accredited CATHSSETA assessor (most times it is also the training provider).

Legislation also says that you are required to have a valid First Aid certificate when you register or re-register as a guide. The Adventure Tourism industry does have an expectation that an adventure tourist guide holds a valid Wilderness First Responder (Level 3) certificate. Find a training provider here.

For more information on the legislation, please see here.

Adventure Touris Gude

How to become a Registered Tourist Guide.

Provincial Registrars are appointed in each of the nine (9) provinces to register tourist guides. Applicants must satisfy the following requirements before they are considered for registration:

  • Proof of competence recognised by SAQA.

  • A valid first aid certificate issued by an institution recognised by the Department of Labour.

  • A completed and signed application form accompanied by the prescribed fee. (Each province has its own application form and registration process.)

  • A signed copy of the code of conduct and ethics for tourist guides, find it here.

  • Proof of South African citizenship or in the case of a non-South African citizen, a valid working via granting permission to work as a tourist guide.

  • Four (4) passport sized photos.

This registration is valid for 3 years and must renewed at the end of that time. For more information on how to register as a tourist guide, please see here.

How to Register
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