SA College for Tourism

The Challenge

The tourism sector is the largest, global, market-based contributor to financing protected area systems. For transfrontier conservation areas across southern Africa to become self-sustainable over the long-term, it is vital to develop tourism offerings in these areas that are of a standard and with sufficient experiential value to generate return customers. In so doing it would be possible to capitalize on tourism’s economic promise to ensure that natural resources endure for years to come. However, this requires a large base of skilled tourism-industry professionals, that can provide effective management of tourism facilities, and international quality service to patrons.

One of the outcomes identified for the establishment of transfrontier conservation areas in southern Africa, is creating economically sustainable livelihoods for people living in or adjacent to these parks. Tourism stimulates economic growth and job creation. In South Africa approximately 1 in 20 people directly rely on the tourism industry for employment.

Our Solution

The SA College for Tourism (SACT) is a non-profit organisation (PBO 18/11/13/349; 080-778-NPO) that operates under the auspices of Peace Parks Foundation. It was established in 2001 by Dr Anton Rupert, renowned financier and philanthropist and at the time chairman of Peace Parks Foundation, and developed in partnership with the Rupert Family Foundations, as well as other international agencies and public donors.

The college provides professional training to unemployed men and women from impoverished rural backgrounds, to equip them to take up skilled positions in the nature-based tourism industry. In addition to hospitality training, the college offers tracker training through its Tracker Academy, as well as eco-herding skills through a newly launched Herding Academy. Graduates are able to return to their communities as entrepreneurs with small tourism businesses, or to work as part of the local eco-tourism industry within or around conservation areas.



Dr Anton Rupert donates the Panorama Guest House in Graaff-Reinet to establish the SA College for Tourism


Graduation of the first class of hospitality students, and official opening by Mrs Zanele Mbeki, South Africa’s first lady at the time.


Tracker Academy is established.


Herding academy is officially launched

Since inception, the college has trained well over 1 000 women in hospitality services while 74 young tracker trainees have graduated from the Tracker Academy.

Hospitality Training

Hospitality Training

Teaches operational and management skills for the lodge and guesthouse industry. 90+ WOMEN. 92% permanent employment rate.

Tracker Training

Tracker Training

Trains men in the age-old skill of wildlife tracking. Visit 16+ MEN. 94% permanent employment rate.

Herding Academy

Herding Academy

A holistic learning platform where the ancient skill of herding livestock to sustainably preserve nature is shared. Follow them on Facebook


The main campus is located at the Panorama guesthouse in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
Other training sites include the Drostdy Hotel, Samara Private Game Reserve, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, and Bergplaas Private Nature Reserve.

Tracker Academy Training Site

Tracker Academy Training Site



National Road

National Road



  • Certification

    SACT enjoys full accreditation as a training provider with the Culture Art Tourism Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) of South Africa in accordance with regulation 16 of the SAQA Act 58 of 1995 under reference No. 613/P/000041/2005. The college is officially recognised by CATHSSETA as an Institute of Sectoral or Occupational Excellence. The Tracker Academy is also the first institution of its kind in southern Africa to offer a nationally accredited tracker skills development course. Successful hospitality graduates leave the college with five certificates in hand, namely the Certificate in Small Accommodation Establishment Operations and four national skills development certificates conferred by CATHSSETA. Graduates of Tracker Academy receive nationally recognised tracker skills certificates conferred by CATHSSETA and Tracker Level 1 to 4 certificates awarded by the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).

  • Hospitality Service Training

    Hospitality trainees complete a year-long training course comprising of a 120 credits Certificate in Small Accommodation Establishment Operations (the certificate course) combined with four national hospitality skills development courses and a life skills course. The certificate course utilises learning materials developed by the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Sport at the Central University of Technology, Free State. Learning material is aligned to unit standards registered by the Culture Art Tourism Hospitality & Sport Sector Education and Training Authority of South Africa (CATHSSETA) with the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). The training programme encompasses 30% theory instruction and 70% operational or practical training:

  • Drostdy Hotel Learnership Project

    Drostdy Hotel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SA College for Tourism, offers college graduates 20 learnerships per annum in Professional Cookery and in Food & Beverage Management. This is done with the approval of the Culture Art Tourism Hospitality & Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) of South Africa. It is also in accordance with the South African government’s initiative to provide unemployed and/or impoverished members of society with an opportunity to gain skills and a nationally recognised qualification in a skill currently identified as scarce. Learnerships are registered by CATHSSETA and funded by the National Skills Fund.

  • Tracker Training

    The Tracker Academy focuses its training on the preservation of indigenous knowledge, as it pertains to tracking competency and other forms of traditional nature conservation, described by many as the origin of natural science. It offers two training programmes accredited with CATHSSETA, namely, a Skills Development Tracker Training Programme on National Qualification (NQ) Level 2 and a Lead Tracker Training Programme at NQ Level 4. The first six-month semester of the Skills Development Tracker Training Programme is conducted at Samara Private Game Reserve in the Karoo, some 45 km from Graaff-Reinet, in a semi-desert biome. Thereafter the students move to Londolozi Private Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, to complete the second semester in the traditional bushveld savannah biome. As a result, students learn the diversity of wildlife and its behaviour in two extremely different environments. The programme is endorsed by the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) which confers Level 1 to 4 tracker certificates on Tracker Academy graduates.

    The eight-week Lead Tracker Training programme at Singita Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is aimed at trackers who have worked for many years in the ecotourism, anti-poaching and animal monitoring sectors of the conservation industry, and have advanced their tracking skills to a level beyond the norm. In terms of an alliance established in 2012, two groups of eight students from Tracker Academy are also hosted for a one-week Spirit of the Wild training programme on with Bergplaas Private Nature Reserve, annually. In 2017, a new training base was opened on South Africa’s largest private game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the Northern Cape province. The idea is to give focus to rural communities of the Northern Cape such as the ‡Khomani San, as well as those from Namibia and Botswana.

  • Internships

    The Drostdy Hotel offers year-long, paid internships to the college’s hospitality service graduates. Similar agreements to accept college graduates as either paid interns or as permanent employees have also been reached with other hospitality establishments such as Tsogo Sun Hotel Group, Thornybush Collection, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Samara Private Game Reserve and Singita Sabi Sand Private Game Reserveprivate game lodges, as well as South African National Parks. In addition, Bergplaas Private Nature Reserve,  annually hosts two hospitality graduates and one tracker graduate from the SA College for Tourism and its Tracker Academy respectively for a one-year internship.  

General enquiries:

Mariette Ferreira, Executive Director,

Get involved / Donations:

Tinashe Ndengu,




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