The course starts at 09:00 am sharp. Please arrive a few minutes earlier to enjoy coffee and tea refreshments while the team signs you in.
We kick off with a Snake Awareness, Scorpion Awareness, Spider Awareness and First Aid for Snakebite/Scorpion Sting lecture that lasts around 3.5 hours. It includes scorpion and spider awareness and first aid, snake awareness, biology and behaviour, myths and superstition, identification, basic first aid for snakebite, as well as the medical treatment of snakebite and is followed by a written test.
This is a full-day course with a tea break at around 10:45, and a lunch break at around 13:00 with a light lunch provided. If you have booked for the Venomous Snake Handling, this will start at around 14:00.
Snake handling, depending on the group size, takes around 1½ – 2 hours.
Snakes used for the handling session vary but we usually make use of the following species: Puff Adder, Mole Snake and Cape Cobra.
The course usually concludes at around 16:00. Kindly note that these are suggested times and may vary.
The course starts at 09:00 am sharp.
We break for lunch at around 13:00 and snake handling takes place from around 14:00.00
The course usually finishes by 16:00 (suggested and not exact time)
Dress code and what to bring
- Delegates doing the Venomous Snake Handling should wear long trousers and closed shoes and are
advised to bring a hat.
- As you will be writing a test just before the lunch break, please bring a pen and notepad (for those who
wish to take notes). No prior studying or snake knowledge is necessary for the test and the format is multiple choice.
- The African Snakebite Institute will supply all equipment needed for delegates to use during the snake
handling session (hooks, tongs, buckets, and tubes).
All course fees include coffee/tea refreshments and a light lunch.
Snake Awareness/Scorpion Awareness and Venomous Snake Handling costs R 1 695.00 per delegate.
Snake Awareness/Scorpion Awareness Only (no snake handling) costs R 1 035.00 per delegate.
Scholar’s Snake Awareness/Scorpion Awareness and Venomous Snake Handling costs R 1 200.00 per delegate.
Scholar’s Snake Awareness/Scorpion Awareness Only (no snake handling) costs R 595.00 per delegate. The Scholar’s rates apply to delegates under 18 years of age.
The full amount will have to be paid prior to the course to secure your attendance.
Cancellation policy: There are no cancellation fees for changes or cancellation to your booking 48 hours prior to the course date. For cancellations or changes within 48 hours of the course date, we charge a 50% cancellation fee and for non-attendance on the day of the course we charge a 100% cancellation fee.
Certificates and course material
Each delegate will receive a course certificate, First Aid for Snakebite booklet, Weatherproof snake poster, as
well as a full colour A3 Dangerous Snakes of Southern Africa poster.
PLEASE NOTE: All successful delegates will receive a certificate. Please ensure that we have the right name and surname as it will appear on the certificate. If details are provided incorrectly another certificate will have to be issued and sent by courier and will cost R250.00.
Our minimum age requirement for both the Awareness and the Handling course is 12 years of age.
- No spectators are allowed during the Snake Awareness session, and this includes children. Spectators are welcome to watch the Venomous Snake Handling session from a safe distance but are not to interfere with the training in any way.
- Mobile phones: The use of mobile phones for text messages and calls is not permitted during the awareness or handling courses and may only be left on for emergency calls.
- Photographs that are taken by the ASI team during the course will be made available via Dropbox. Participants and spectators are also welcome to take photographs of the handling session but video recording is not permitted.
- Delegates that do the Venomous Snake Handling will have to sign an indemnity prior to the practical session. Parents/guardians must sign for delegates under 18 years of age.
- Should a delegate have any specific dietary requirements, they are welcome to bring their own lunch, or Exotic Animal World do have their own on-site restaurant.
Presenter details and accreditation
Our courses are presented by Johan Marais, Luke Kemp or Willem van Zyl.
Johan Marais is one of Africa’s leading herpetologists with over 40 years of experience. Johan is a prominent author of snake books in Africa and has written the best sellers A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa, Snakes and Snakebite in Southern Africa and First Aid for Snakebite. He is also the snake expert for the Tygerberg Poison Centre and the Red Cross Poison centre, as well as an advisor on snakes and snakebite to various hospitals and clinics throughout Africa.
Luke Kemp graduated from Rhodes University with a BSc and Honours Degree and has been working for the African Snakebite Institute for the past five years. Luke is a passionate herpetologist, avid photographer, and has been presenting courses with Johan Marais not just in South Africa, but elsewhere in Africa also. He currently runs the reptile Virtual Museum with ADU, Cape Town University and is co-authoring a book on the reptiles and amphibians of southern Africa with Johan Marais.
Willem van Zyl is an experienced snake handler, wildlife photographer and wilderness first responder who has been working with the African Snakebite Institute for the last five years. He has done many public and corporate snake awareness and venomous snake handling courses. Willem is a software developer and manages the ASI website, social media and created our hugely popular free App ASI Snakes.
Our courses are FGASA endorsed and are accredited by ISZS (the International Society of Zoological Sciences) and recognised by the AFGA (African Field Guides Association) and the NFTGA (National Federation of Tourist Guides & Affiliates).
This course is registered with both the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), and registered health professionals earn 4 CPD points, and the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH) and registered participants receive 2 CPD points. It is also registered with the Pest Control Industry Professional Council (PCIPC) and registered members receive 3 CPD points when completing this course.