Tourist Guide



What is a Tourist Guide?

A Tour Guide is a recognised profession in the tourism sector.




Tour Guides fall into 3 main categories:

  • Nature
  • Culture
  • Adventure

A Tourist Guide must be passionate and have in-depth knowledge of their subject.  They must be confident enough to answer questions put to them by tourists.

Tourist Guides are usually employed by large tour or safari operators.   Some work as freelancers during peak tourist seasons.  In some cases, Tourist Guides with a lot of experience may even open their own tour operating business.

Being a Tourist Guide can be physically demanding. They must be available at all times to answer questions and sort out problems.

Tourist Guides must make their guests (tourists) feel comfortable and safe at all times.  Tourist Guides may and often spend a lot of time away from home.

What does a Tourist Guide do?

  • meeting and greeting members of their tour
  • co-ordinating accommodation and transport
  • providing tourists with information regarding currency
  • offering assistance with regard to drinking water availability, restaurants and tipping
  • dealing with enquiries and complaints from their tour group
  • loading or unloading baggage or other equipment
  • making sure that tour members are comfortable and safe
  • attending to problems (lost luggage, late arrivals etc)
  • providing first aid where necessary
  • being able to deal calmly with emergencies (eg heart attacks, car accidents, etc)
  • making themselves available to their group at all times (24-7)
  • constantly keeping up to date with current events and interesting things happening in South Africa

Are you … ?

  • 21 years old or older?
  • a person with good communication skills?
  • knowledgeable about south africa (its geography, its cultures, its history, politics and flora and fauna etc)
  • organised?
  • a peoples’ person?
  • friendly?
  • patient and easy going?
  • calm under pressure?
  • able to control groups of people?
  • physically strong and fit?
  • neat and professional?
  • considerate, friendly and polite?

How do I become a Tour Guide?

To become a Tourist Guide a person must complete one (or more) Tourist Guide qualifications registered with CATHSSETA.  They must be registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

NOTE: It is illegal to conduct guided tours without the proper qualification or registration.

Once registered, the Tourist Guide will receive an ID card and a badge.  These must be displayed at all times while guiding. Registration must be re-newed every 2 years.

Compulsory Subjects: English

Recommended Subjects: Languages, History, Geography




OTHER CAREEERS TO CONSIDER: Tour Bus Driver and Tour Manager

Is becoming a Tourist Guide the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.