Antares Field Guide Training Centre

Company Information

Contact Person:

Ian Owtram




+27 15 769 6006


+27 86 556 7636


FGASA, Field Guides Association of Southern Africa

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The owner of Antares is Ian Owtram. He has been involved with wildlife conservation for over 25 years in various different fields.

He was born in Malawi in 1965 and grew up in the countryside of Zimbabwe. Throughout his schooling years he was deeply committed to any wildlife pursuits that came his way and was actively involved with the Natural History societies at both schools. After completing his schooling he then moved to England to further his education. This was the start to his professional career with wildlife. He worked at a number of wildlife centres but primarily at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park where he worked as a keeper for 5 years. He completed, with distinction and the highest marks in the country, a City and Guilds diploma in Zoo Animal Management.

Having obtained his diploma he returned to Africa and started working at Thornybush Private Game Lodge in the then, Eastern Transvaal. He stayed there for 8 years improving on his knowledge of wildlife and also how to deal with people and other aspects of the lodge industry. He has an enthusiastic interest in wildlife photography, an aspect he placed with high importance to his wildlife interest.

He has qualified as an SKS(DA) (Special Knowledge and Skills- Dangerous Animals) guide with FGASA, and recently passed the theory aspect of the SKS Birding exam. He continues to take an active part in FGASA serving on both the National executive and as Chairman for the lowveld region. He was also elected as Chairman for the Grietjie Nature Reserve during 2004. During his time at Thornybush he also facilitated over 200 companies on team building programmes during this period and feels well qualified to help students understand the principles of teamwork and working in close-knit communities.

He is deeply committed to providing a professional service to any client or guest and this is evident in his approach to his own company. He is determined to ensure that the successful students will complete the course with the same set of values and carry these through to wherever they end up working as guides.

Ian married his wife Mel in March 2003 and between them they ensure the smooth running of the courses. While Ian is devoted to the actual teaching aspect of the course, Mel performs a great deal of hard work behind the scenes, regularly upgrading the course content amongst other things and serving as back-up guide when required. In September 2004 Ian and Mel had a son, Cary, and in 2008 a daughter, Savanna. It is hoped they will one day become valuable members of the Antares team.

Antares is situated in the Grietjie Nature Reserve, a part of the Balule Nature Reserve, 30kms from Phalaborwa. The reserve is approx. 2800 Ha in extent and there is access to the Olifants River.

Antares runs a number of courses throughout the year. The dates for these courses are detailed under the relevant section. The courses will be run over a 90-day period, starting on a Monday and finishing on a Saturday. Students will be expected to attend lectures and other activities during this time and then use the free time at weekends to study further or relax


Physical Address

Plot 39 of the farm Grietjie 6



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Postal Address

PO Box 1573



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To view a full list of all courses presented by Antares Field Guide Training Centre click below.

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