Herewith my reply. I'm wearing a few hats when typing this - as Chairman of the MDT's National Committee, as a DEAT registered guide and as a trainer / assessor of guides. Read into that that I have a reasonably clear understanding but I'm no lawyer.
Ok, SA law is failrly clear in some respects and rather vague in others. Basically and as has been stated, anyone who accompanies another and imparts information, where there is reward, is guiding. Any person who guides must be registered (through their provincial tourism registrar) with DEAT (Dept Environmental Affairs and tourism) as a guide. In order to register as a guide you need:
A valid first aid certificate
A core guiding qualification (what all guides need, irrespective of what they do)
A speciality qualification
And... guiding registration is renewable every 2 years.
The speciality qualification is what differentiates the cultural guides (tour bus, for lack of a better term) from the field guides (game, etc) from the adventure guides (climbing, hiking, abseiling, diving, etc) from the Professional Hunters, and so on.
If you want to guide in the mountains you must hold an appropriate qualification - the only quals accepted for registration as a guide are NQF. Not only that, but you need to hold the right qualification for what you do. There are individual unit standards for abseiling, climbing, hiking and kloofing (see my links page on my website - www.sml.co.za
- for examples). Most of the lower level quals have a site limitation attached to them as well. Higher level ones do not.
What happens if you're not guiding legally?
When someone splits on you (and it happens) the tourism registrars are the ones who will probably lay the legal complaints with SAPS if you are guiding illegally, which will result in a criminal prosecution. If you're legally registered but guiding outside your scope of registration (eg: rock climbing guide doing bus tours to kruger park) there's no criminal prosecution but the tourism registrar is able to issue hefty fines (like R10,000 for the guide and R10,000 for the operator and you get both fines if you're both operator and guide)!
The critical issue here is reward. So, if you're leading a private trip where everyone is paying their own way (you included) then you're not guiding.
What about if there is reward?
Not totally cut and dried.
The tourism registrars (some of them) have acknowledged that there's a grey area. The key factor is what the PRIMARY purpose of the trip is.
If the group is out for enjoyment it's guiding. There might even be elements of instruction and experiential learning, character building, etc, but it's still guiding.
If the PRIMARY objective is to teach skills, then it's instruction. Even instructors will cover a bit of going to new places and a bit of experiential learning.
If adventure is being used as a mechanism to teach life skills, coping skills, character development, etc then it's ABEL (Adventure-Based Experiential Learning), even though some skills will be taught and new places will be visited.
Of course, all this is theory - there has yet to be (as far as I know) a criminal prosecution of a person guiding illegally (and I'm not volunteering to be the index case, so I qualified and registered) but I do know of several R10,000 fines that have been handed out (Gold Reef City guides caught running tour busses into Kruger Park).
Feel free to shout if you need further info.
And yes, I am one of the people who trains / assesses NQF standards for people who want to guide. Read into that statement whatever you like.