1. How did you find yourself in this career choice?
I did not find myself in this career, I grew into it, my father worked for the national Parks of Zimbabwe and ended up as the Chief Warden and over his career we lived in different parks in the country and we would go fishing and on game drives as a normal way to pass a weekend. I knew in one way or another that I would end up working in the wide open spaces, unconfined to an office, in short pants, a cap and sunglasses, with a camera in hand.
2. What three character traits would you say serve you well in your chosen career?
I am enthusiastically passionate about going on safari, because no two days are the same so each one has a totally new set of excitement and adventure. I savor each sighting and relish in it, watching the wildlife rather than seeing it, fully observing and absorbing the moment.
Anticipatively patient. Many a time the wildlife takes time to be active, like the cats, in the heat of the day. But by reading all the signs and spending enough time with the animals one could yield interesting behaviour. For instance if we come across a hungry cheetah and if all the signs are right about a possible hunting situation, the thrill of the build up to it, as she searches and scans the plains, mounting upon termite mounds and fallen trees for vantage, then finding the target, bee-lining to wards its position, and racing into at full speed to it, then the knock down. Thrilling pay-off moments!
Conservation minded, I am all for sustainable utilisation of our natural resources. We can watch the same Lion, from his playful ages as a little fur-ball cub to the time he marks and proclaims his own territory, a full 13 years, same animal same piece of land, renewable natural resource.
3. Ever had any close calls?
Yes, plenty of them. My 20 years of guiding from vehicles and on foot has brought me into exciting and challenging situations that, luckily I managed well enough to be able to write to you today. At one time I have been tracking Black Rhino on foot in fairly thick brush, in Zimbabwe. The wind changed direction and started blowing from behind us, into the rhino we were tracking. At this time we had not seen him yet. The Black Rhino then smelt our presence and got up to investigate, just then I noticed him and we stopped. He then started walked towards us, not quite knowing where we were but to investigate our position. He then raced into our direction charging like a freight train huffing and puffing intimidatingly. I then started shouting loud at him, to counter his charge. He put his head down and sped up towards me, by this time i got my 3 guests to hide behind a huge tree, out of the rhino’s sight. He then skidded and turned off to my right, kicking up clouds of dust and breaking twigs and bushes in the process, only 9 feet away from my position !
4. What has been the most rewarding experience?
Every safari is a rewarding experience! It awakens the senses and puts into perspective our position in the large scale of things as an entity in the ecosystem we have the privilege of managing. Putting 2 and 2 together on a safari is rewarding.
Tracking animal footprints and telling a story of what animal it was, and also what it was doing before we got there: it could be an elephant that was mud bathing and then walked down a game trail and left little mud droplets on the ground. You can tell the story of how fast he was walking by the hind feet positioning in relation to the front ones, are they superimposed or are the rear ones in front or behind the front. What he could have been doing, eating grass or tree leaves or dust bathing or tasseling with another, all this being read from the ground, read like evidence left behind at a crime scene! What more excitement that coming around the bend and finding the elephant in question, with all the mud on his back and a twig in his mouth, fulfilling experience!
5. For someone seeking your services and traveling to Africa for the first time how would you suggest they mentally prepare for the experience? Do you have different packages you offer and how do they differ?
All my safaris are bespoken and tailor-made to suit time availability and requirements of different individuals or families.
- Africa’s wilderness is vast and holds and offers a great variety of landscapes and scenery, wildlife varieties, densities and behaviours.
- Most first time safari goers want to see ‘everything’ all at once understandably, we cater for that.
- Some would like honeymoon exclusivity.
- Some would like a private guide to accompany them throughout their travels.
- Some people would like to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro, or catch the biggest Tigerfish, some would like to get as close as possible to a herd of elephants.
- The seasoned travellers would like to focus on specific areas or experiences, like the Kalahari Desert, or Wild-dog tracking, or birdwatching.
- The experiences are vast and varied. East Africa lends itself to the wide open spaces of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara and the drama of the river crossings this is a numbers and vastness feast.
Southern Africa has the tales that tell the story: the tracks, the signs the find. Adrenalin sports are also a part of the safari outdoor experience, white water rafting, bungee jumping, bush walking.
We have everything for everyone! If that has left you ready for a trip visit us on: www.imagination-untamed.com