To become a professional guide with Snow Cat Travel isn’t easy. We only choose the very best ones for our clients.
All Snow Cat Travel guides are both professionally qualified and licensed by the Government of Nepal.
Our Nepal guides are consummate, dedicated professionals. They are certainly not the “off the street hustlers” unqualified guides that backpackers often make the mistake of hiring, “because they are cheap!”
Not only do we hand-pick Snow Cat Travel guides based on qualifications alone, guides are selected only with proven knowledge and experience criteria, but more than that…we look for personality too…a friendly nature with a “can do” attitude. And yes, being able to speak English.
For your custom made Nepal trip you may have a specialist Trekking Guide if you’re going hiking in the Himalayas, but if you’re also including some “culture” in your trip you may also have a specialist Tour/City Guide too.
How a guide becomes qualified and licensed
To become a Tour/City Guide requires a minimum level of College Graduate academic achievement. A successful application is then the next step to enrol on a 3 month training course run by the Nepal Academy of Tourism. This requires an interview as well as passing an exam first!
The course involves first aid training, leadership training, responsible tourism, culture, history, geography, flora & fauna, plus practical training on “in the field” visits.
If you pass an exam at the end of the course, then and only then will you be awarded a licence.
To become a Trekking Guide is similar but also slightly different too. Successful completion of High School or a minimum of 2 years experience as an assistant guide is essential. Not only that any would be trekking guide also needs the official endorsement of a registered Nepal trekking operator.
Then and only then can you apply for selection on a Trekking Guide Course. Selection is by interview.
As you would expect, the 120 hour course is practical based including first aid and altitude training, leadership training, basic climbing, responsible tourism, culture, flora & fauna, navigation etc.
If you pass an exam at the end of the course, then and only then will you be awarded a Trekking Guide licence.
But, to become a Snow Cat Travel Trekking Guide, as well as the above we make it compulsory that any applicant has wilderness first aid training and CPR training in addition.
Ongoing guide training with Snow Cat Travel
Every year, Abhi (our Operations Manager and one of the most experienced guides in Nepal) organises an in-house workshop for our trekking guides too. This includes refresher training in areas like first aid, high altitude issues, emergency protocols etc, but also we discuss ongoing matters like responsible/sustainable practices, codes of conduct, development of leadership skills and naturally any matters arising from client feedback.
Meet three of our professional Snow Cat Travel Guides
Shiva Basnet is a firm favourite Trekking Guide with Snow Cat Travel clients. Shiva is from Kathmandu and decided upon being a Trekking Guide as a career as he loves both nature and travel. Shiva guides treks throughout much of Nepal for Snow Cat Travel, although his favourite is our Forbidden Mustang trek as Shiva loves the unique landscapes and the Tibetan culture of Upper Mustang. Getting to meet lots of Snow Cat Travel clients from around the world and seeing remote parts of Nepal are two of the things Shiva likes best about being a guide. But, when he’s not working he does like to spend time with his family. One trek Shiva dreams of guiding is our Dolpo and the Crystal Mountain Trek (one day Shiva…..one day!) and Shiva’s advice to make the most of a Nepal visit is by learning about our unique culture and customs along the way.
Sunaina Raut is also a Trekking Guide and she loves guiding the Everest Base Camp trek, again and again and again! Sunaina decided she wanted to be a guide from a young age after meeting lots of foreign tourists coming to her home village in the Chitwan region. She also noticed that all the guides were male and that Nepal should have more female guides…nice one Sunaina 🙂 One part of Nepal that is on Sunainas “yet to see” list is the more remote and lesser visited far west of Nepal and Sunaina also believes that a sustainable tourism development project would bring much needed prosperity to this part of Nepal. It’s fair to say that Sunaina is passionate about improving the lives of people in Nepal, not least her own Tharu community in the lowlands of Nepal. Although Sunaina clearly loves the high mountain life….Everest in particular, her Chitwan roots remain, not least as she is a keen bird watcher too.
Last, but by no means least, Bipin Tiwari is also from the Chitwan region and his favourite trek is Annapurna Sanctuary. Although Bipin has guided treks throughout Nepal he reckons the trek to Annapurna Base Camp is the most beautiful of all with its blend of traditional hill villages, spectacular mountainscapes and culture. But, Bipin is clearly also “city boy” too and says that his favourite place in Nepal is Kathmandu! When he’s not guiding Bipin likes to go mountain biking with his mates and even makes his own mini-wildlife videos too. Like all our guides, Bipin is passionate about Nepal and wants more tourists to come to Nepal (so do we Bipin….so do we), but for first time trekkers to Nepal, Bipin’s advice is “take it slowly on trek, take it all in as it’s not a race”.