Itchyfeet SA


We offer a range of guide training courses, including River Guide Training and Mountain Leadership Training.

River Guide Training

Our River Guide training course is APA (African Paddling Association) accredited which is designed for potential guides entering the industry and aims to equip them with the skills and techniques required to function as part of the guide team. 

The guide team is responsible for safety and rescue and group management on a swift water paddling trip. Swift water refers to all rivers. It will also be of great benefit to those who have worked as a guide but have not yet received any formal training. 

The course runs over three days and two nights and comprises of practical exercises during the day and lectures and discussions in the evenings. The course is very practical and physical in nature. A reasonable level of fitness is required. The course prepares candidates to take the APA River Guide assessment, which is held separately at a later stage. The course is also suitable for anyone wanting to learn more about paddling, swift water safety and rescue as a whole.

Some of the aspects covered will be:

  1. Swimming in swift water.
  2. Rope work.
  3. Safety and rescue.
  4. Features and hazards of rivers.
  5. Paddling techniques (boating skills).
  6. Trip planning.
  7. Dealing with emergencies.
  8. River guiding and the law.

The course fees include instruction, catering, overnight fees, course material, boating equipment, an individual written assessment and if completed successfully a certificate of attendance. It is required of you to bring as much of your own equipment in order to be self-sufficient during the two nights of camping. A kit list of what is required in terms of equipment will be sent on request.

Even though training can take place on any river in South Africa, it mostly takes place on various sections of the Tugela River in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zingela Safari and River Company

Ukuthula Bush Camp

Bushmans River Camp

Mountain Leadership Training

Itchyfeet SA’s Mountain Leader and Walking Group Leader training courses and assessments are MDT (Mountain Development and Training Trust) accredited and intends to assist and guide individuals who wishes to lead others in mountainous environments in Southern Africa. 

These awards are internationally benchmarked and is equivalent to the British Winter Mountain Leader, with the exclusion of practical snowpack analysis and snowhole demonstration. The main difference between the Mountain Leader Award and Walking Group Leader award would be the difference in altitude gain, rope work on steep terrain, and snow skills.  

Since learning takes place better by ‘doing’ there is a strong emphasis on being practical. 

Mountain Leader Award

The Mountain Leader aims at those wanting to lead groups into the highest and most remote mountain regions of Southern Africa. 

In order to be self-sufficient in these areas the award equips the candidate with a wide range of skills and knowledge. To be a competent mountain leader strong leadership, decision making and problem solving skills, in addition to technical mountaineering skills is required. 

Although this course does not cover technical climbing skills the mountain leader must be familiar with climbing equipment and be comfortable at moving over steep ground at height. This course does not cover any aspect of rock or ice climbing, and excludes the planned use of technical climbing equipment.  

The following experience is required: 

  • At least one year’s mountain walking/hiking experience in the appropriate mountain areas. This experience should include time spent in high mountains (such as the Drakensberg) to provide aspects of altitude; 
  • Or at least twenty quality mountain days recorded in a logbook of which at least five took place in winter conditions. This must not be confused with the season of winter. Winter conditions refers to falling snow, the presence of snow and ice and conditions cold enough to cause cold injuries. Due to the rarity of winter conditions in Southern Africa, experience of winter conditions in other countries is accepted and recommended.  
The course takes place over five days of which two nights and three days are spent on an actual walk/hike in an appropriate mountain environment. 

Walking Group Leader Award

The Walking Group Leader award is designed for people who want to lead groups in mountainous areas, which is non-technical in nature, not overly remote and lower in altitude. The areas accessed are mostly characterised by well-defined boundaries and paths which is normally easily exited or accessed in a few hours. Such areas are subject to inclement weather and requires a fairly large element of self-sufficiency. With a strong emphasis on navigation, the award provides the leadership, expedition and organisational skills sufficient for single or multi-day walks or hikes.   

 The following experience is required:  

  • At least twenty quality walking/hiking days in the appropriate mountain areas.  

The course takes place over three days of which one night and two days are spent on an actual walk/hike in an appropriate mountain environment. With the exception of altitude gain, rope work on steep terrain and snow skills reserved for the mountain leader award, the following topics are covered in both awards: 

  1. Knowledge of the legal framework. 
  2. Equipment. 
  3. Navigational tools and skills. 
  4. Campcraft, expeditions skills and responsibilities of the leader. 
  5. Mountain weather. 
  6. Mountain hazards. 
  7. Medical. 
  8. Emergency procedures. 

The course fees include instruction, accommodation, overnight fees, course material and if completed successfully and certificate of attendance. It is required of you to bring as much of your own equipment in order to be self-sufficient during the two to three days spent out in the mountains. And extensive kit list of what is required in terms of equipment will be sent on request. 

Even though training can take place in any mountain range in South Africa, it mostly takes place in the various areas of the Drakensberg Mountains, KwaZulu-Natal. 


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