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Safari Guide of the Year 2014

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SOUTH AFRICA
posts: 2,359
Safari Guide of the Year 2014

Hi everyone, as we all understand the important role that a safari guide plays in the success and enjoyment of every safari/game drive, I wanted to share some news with you.

I just returned from Nkambeni Tented Camp in the Kruger National Park, where we I was a judge at the 4th Africa Direct/FGASA Safari Guide of the Year competition. It was the 3rd time that we chose Nkambeni as the venue for this prestigious competition, and once again it proved to be the perfect venue from where we tested the 7 finalists on tracking, shooting, birding, walking trails, game drives, story telling as well as photography. It was an exciting 5 days, with the competitors all being of an exceptional standard, making for a very tough competition this year.

Congratulations to Nick du Plessis from Singita who was announced as the winner on last night's awards ceremony!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

17 replies to this topic
Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
1. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

GREAT post! I had no idea this competition existed. Does it include guides from both pvt and govt sectors? Hope so. Does the competition have a website? How do guides get nominated or do they enter themselves?

SOUTH AFRICA
posts: 2,359
2. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

Yes the competition is open to guides in the private and government sectors. This year the walking trail category was won by a guide from SANParks, which is great as it was the first year that SANParks actually entered a candidate. The candidates may enter themselves or (mostly) get nominated by the management of the establishment/body that they work for. The competition has a Facebook fan page but not yet a website. As was the case with the previous year's, the competition will be broad cast on the SABC environmental program, 5050 (when the next season of the program starts later this year).

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
3. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

And the facebook page reference is?

Hazyview, South...
posts: 3,498
reviews: 11
4. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

https:/…186390998080439

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
5. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

cheers Klaus. What a pity the excellent concept/competition doesn't have a dedictaed website! Lodges would sponsor the site I'm sure. I was thrilled to see 'story telling' is one of the catergories! Who doesn't love listening to Rangers tell tales from past drives/walks? Part of the whole buzz of the bush. Below I've copied some info off facebook entry. Congrats to Nick du Plessis from Singita as overall winner. Hellava buzz for Tanya who was there judging. Bet plenty tension around.

Safari guide of the year was created for the following reasons:

1. Creating awareness of the true role of professional field guides.

2. Eliminating the stereotypical perception of what field guides do.

3. Increasing the longevity of field guides within the industry.

4. Creating a viable and secure profession/career for aspiring guides to work towards.

5. A way of saying thank you for their selfless dedication to tourism and wildlife.

An invitation to compete in the event is sent to all the lodges affiliated with the FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa) accredited guides. The guide must have 5 years or more of working bush experience, a full trails guide qualification and a minimum of a level 2 field guiding qualification.

If the candidate meets the criteria, the manager and head ranger can forward their nomination to us. All of the applications are thereafter screened and a shortlist of 20 candidates are chosen. The 20 are notified and have to attend an interview in Johannesburg. From the interviews, 8 finalists are chosen to attend the 5 day practical in the Kruger national park.

The categories that they compete in are as follows:

• Best game drive

• Best bush walk

• Birding (slide and sound)

• Tracking

• Shooting

• Photography

• Storytelling

We reserve 4 seats for guests that want to be a spectator throughout the event and all the funds from these seat sold, go towards the accommodation, food, conservation fees and the vehicles utilised throughout the competition.

Any funds that are sponsored go towards the above mentioned requirements. Your involvement with this competition is an excellent opportunity to associate your company’s brand with a conservation and tourism growth initiative and is greatly appreciated by all in the industry.

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
6. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

These guides are truly dedicated and work very hard. They are very highly qualified after multiple courses and exams. Many are not paid or given a pittance during months and months of in-field training. A friend in Zim has a son who gets regular write-ups here on TA. He has just gone back to his lodge after one month R&R. But prior to that did 5 months straight!! Yup that's 150 consecutive days!! Dad says he came home 'pretty bush'. I bet he was! But guides in RSA work to pretty much same regime. 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off.

Deserve every dollar they get in tips. Even when fully qualified their salaries are not high. $400-$800 per month!

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
7. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

The term in Africa when one has been in the bush too long is 'gone bush' i.e. Johnny spent 2 years working a small copper mine in the Congo and has 'gone bush' or 'went bush'.

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
8. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

sigh.Still made a mess of explanation. Like everything these days it's an abbreviation. 'Gone bush' originally from term 'gone bush-happy'.

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
9. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

Had a quick squiz through the previous lists of finalists. It's clear that guides from Sabi Sands dominate. Good to see some female guides making the final 8. But guides still make mistakes. On the page describing the 2011 event they have a photo of a 'black rhino' when blind freddy can see it's a 'Southern white rhino'. Thousands of viewers over past 3 yrs... most of them guides... and mistake still not rectified. Just goes to show.

Queensland...
posts: 1,596
reviews: 71
10. Re: Safari Guide of the Year 2014

Tanya... the facebook page has photos of all 8 finalists standing in a line but no names. Which one is Nick?

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