There are many misconceptions when it comes to the meaning of the terms game ranger, tour guide and nature guide and many people use these terms as if synonymous. Although it could be confusing, there are however important and very definite differences in the application and meaning of these terms.
A game ranger is a person whose concern is mainly with the conservation management of a specific area and usually does not deal with the general public in an educational role, although he or she could contribute towards a public general awareness of conservation. The prime responsibility of a game ranger is therefore to ensure the well being and safety of the protected area under his or her management. This is a multifaceted task which includes among other responsibilities the day to day monitoring of the health and well-being of wildlife, game capture and introductions, burning programs and local community relations, liaison and involvement.
A tour guide takes people around a town, museum, or other tourist venue or specific areas of the entire country with a focus on cultural and historical aspects. It is a person who guides and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area, for which he or she possesses an area-specific qualification usually issued and/or recognised by the appropriate authority. Tourist Guides are able to help travellers understand the culture of the region visited and the way of life of its inhabitants. They have a particular role on the one hand to promote the cultural and natural heritage whilst on the other hand to help ensure its sustainability by making visitors aware of its importance and vulnerability.
The nature guide forms a link between the natural environment and his or her guests with the emphasis on interpretation and education. He or she provides a learning experience which encompasses all aspects of wildlife and nature. Sharing factual knowledge and meaningful interpretation of the natural environment in an ethical way, is the main objective of nature guiding, which requires a high standard of training and quality service with the safety and enjoyment of people as priority.