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Tour Guide
Tour guides escort groups of tourists on bus or minibus trips and provide them with factual and interesting information about the sights they see. A group of tourists has probably previously been on several guided tours, so a guideā€™s presentation has to be dynamic to hold their interest.

Tour guides may be allocated half-day sight-seeing tours or longer tours, in which case the guide will be responsible for ensuring adherence to the tour itinerary. They also need to provide tourists with information regarding currency, drinking water, restaurants and tipping, and should always be able to deal with enquiries from their tour groups.

Other tasks required of tour guides may include: meeting members of a tour on arrival and making introductions; coordinating pre-arranged accommodation and transport, and make sure that tour members are comfortable; attending to such problems as booking errors and amendments, lost luggage and treating illness or providing first aid.

Being a tour guide is often physically demanding. During a tour, guides must be available at all times to answer questions and sort out problems. Manual work such as loading or unloading baggage or other equipment may be required. Tour guides are often required to spend time away from home, especially those fulfilling the role of Tour Manager.

Tour guides may specialise in the following areas:

Adventure Guide who requires guiding skills plus specialist recreational skills such as white water rafting, hiking or mountaineering

Bilingual Guide who offers interpretation of language as well as guiding skills

Guide Coordinator who is usually one who has had experience as a guide and now supervises, coordinates and trains guides

Indigenous Guide who conducts tours with a special cultural emphasis and which requires a    deep understanding of their culture

Local Guide who specializes in a particular city or region

Nature-based and Eco-tour Guide who conducts day or extended tours and requires guiding skills and specialist environmental knowledge

Site Guide who may work, for example, in museums, cultural centres, theme parks and sporting facilities

Tour guides need to keep abreast of all new developments in the country; thus, constant reading and updating of knowledge is of vital importance.

Satisfying Aspects
- taking tourists to different places of interest
- working with and meeting new and interesting people all the time
- opportunities to travel

Demanding aspects
- dealing with difficult, uncooperative and over-demanding tourists can be irritating and frustrating
- the stress and pressure to ensure that all passengers are safe and satisfied
- being away from home for long periods

A tourist guide should:
- be at least 21 years old;
- have good communication skills;
- have an excellent knowledge of South Africa's places of interest, its geography, its unique history, politics and flora and fauna;
- have broad general knowledge;
- have organisational skills;
- enjoy working with people;
- be able to control groups of people and deal with unexpected situations;
- physically strong and have good health and stamina
- be neat and appropriately dressed at all times
- not have a criminal record

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate

Compulsory Subjects: English
Recommended Subjects: Languages, History, Geography

Most tour operators provide in-service training by an experienced tourist guide.

In order to register as a tourist guide a person must have successfully completed an appropriate training course or courses with a SATOUR accredited trainer.

Gold Reef Guides and Waterfront Guides offer practical training for tourist guides.

Tourist guides must be registered with SATOUR and be assessed by this body for the purpose of granting a licence. Licences are granted on three levels:

- for a particular city only
- for a wider region
- countrywide

Diploma: N.Dip: Tourism Management or Travel & Tourism - NMMU, UNISA, DUT, CPUT, CUT, UJ, TUT, VUT.

Certificate: Tourism - FET colleges such as Boland, Ekurhuleni West, Port Elizabeth, Vuselela, Tshwane S, Northlink, South and Northern Cape, SW Gauteng and Umgungundlovu FET Colleges.

A few large tour operators employ tourist guides on a permanent basis, but the work is seasonal and the majority of tourist guides work on a freelance basis.

Association of SA Travel Agents (ASATA)
P O Box 1234
Saxonwold, 2132
Tel: (011) 327-7803 Fax: (011) 327-7827

Tourism Business Council (TBCSA)
P O Box 11655
Centurion, 0046
Tel: (012) 654-7525 Fax: (012) 654-7394

The Registrar of Tourist Guides
SA Tourism Board
Private Bag X164
Pretoria, 0001
Tel. (012) 347-0600

South African Tourism Board (SATOUR)
Private Bag X10012
Sandton, 2146
Tel: (011) 895-3000 Fax: (011) 895-3001