Training the Hoerikwaggo Trail Guides – Table Mountain National Park

Selection, training and development of the Hoerikwaggo trail guides, the centrepiece of the Hoerikwaggo Trail within South Africa’s most visited protected area, Table Mountain National Park.




South African National Parks – Table Mountain National Park (TMNP)

Training team

Leif Petersen, Jason Menzies, Sindile Mvambi, Nomaweto Maqungo, Cape Peninsula University of Technology


ACTA/SLC were appointed (initially in collaborative partnerships, then independently) to select and train all three intakes of field guides for South African National Parks’ Hoerikwaggo Trail between 2004 and 2008.

The Hoerikwaggo Guides are the field guide centrepiece of the Hoerikwaggo Trail – a worldclass series of hiking trails that stretch more than 100km, from Cape Town to Cape Point, through the remarkable and unique Cape Floristic Region. Trainees, all from local townships and economically marginalised communities, were selected via a stringent and exhaustive screening process. Those selected attended a seven-month fulltime training programme that covers all aspects of safety, leadership and field skills in order to emerge as confident and professional representatives of the one of the world’s most floristically diverse protected areas. More than 35 guides have been fully trained and equipped for service in the TMNP by ACTA/SLC. Many have gone on to full-time employment with TMNP, while some have gained independent employment as local township tour guides. Other work in the private sector.

The Hoerikwaggo Guides are the first ever black candidates to be professionally accredited as mountain guides operating in South Africa.

Members of the training team offered a diverse mix of skills and a strong team approach, including the services of freelance guides; Jason Menzies (FGASA-registered nature guide) and Sindile Mvambi (culture guide). SLC provided the services of Leif Petersen as the team leader and formal SAQA assessor.

All Hoerikwaggo Trail Guides possess the following qualifications:

  • National Certificate in Tourism; Guiding NQF Level 4
  • MDT Basic Walking Leader Certificate
  • First Aid levels 1 and 2

Resulting competencies include

  • Navigation
  • Customer Safety
  • Customer Care
  • Ecological Studies
  • Animal and Bird Theory
  • History of Cape Town and South Africa

The Hoerikwaggo Guides intertwine Cape Town’s unique natural beauty and cultures in their role as ambassadors of and for South Africa.

‘The Hoerikwaggo Trails project is a model for the success of the linkages between conservation, tourism, and job creation. It is fast becoming a flagship of our Expanded Public Works Programme.’ (Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, November 2005.)

SLC continues to support such interventions as key ‘pro-poor’ development practices.

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