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 guide’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:
Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate
Most tour operators provide in-service training by an experienced tourist guide.
In order to register as a tour 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.
Tour 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:
A few large tour operators employ tour 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)
Suite 6, Lower Ground Floor, Block A,
Hurlingham Office Park
59 Woodlands Avenue (just off Republic Rd)
Hurlingham Extension 5
Tel: (011) 327-7803
Tourism Business Council (TBCSA)
P O Box 11655
Tel: (012) 654-7525
The Registrar of Tourist Guides
SA Tourism Board
Private Bag X164
Tel: (012) 347-0600
South African Tourism Board (SATOUR)
Private Bag X10012
Tel: (011) 895-3000