Travels with Susan

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Rain, rain, go away

Posted on November 15, 2006 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (0)

Some days, you just won’t see anything out there – and the pressure is on. As a guide you know it’s more than likely that this is the only chance your guests have to come to Africa. They’ve probably been saving for years for this short visit – but there you are, in the middle of the bush, and there’s not a single animal in sight. I spoke about other things, but I knew they weren’t there to see the termites, but their amazing attitude only made me feel...

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Watching us, watching them

Posted on August 6, 2006 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Once all the evaluations had been done, training was not something that was on the forefront of the minds of management. Now at this stage I was an extreme novice, and in desperate need of some guidance. Guiding was something that got into my mind after working as a lodge receptionist a few months earlier. I completely fell in love with the bush, and often had guests coming in to ask wildlife questions - which made me start reading nature books, which fed my interest….and the rest is hi...

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Early days 7 of 7

Posted on June 16, 2006 at 5:02 AM Comments comments (0)

It was the last day of our Initiation training. We spent the first half of the day on a drive. At midday, Mark announced that we had all passed and were allowed to stay on for training and then he gave us the rest of the day off to relax. That night was the Initiation Party, and the whole reserve was invited. I was told to cook, but no one was interested in eating. The night started off with the new inductees having to stand up on the table and make the rest of the reserve laugh at a joke. ...

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Early days 5 of 7

Posted on June 14, 2006 at 4:57 AM Comments comments (0)

The next day we climbed down and had a look around. The lions had passed right next to the koppie.

We had a quick breakfast and boiled the kettle just in time for Mark to fetch us. We dropped off our things and, after telling Mark about the lions from the night before, he decided we would go and find them. He found a good place to park the Landrover, and we headed out on foot. Not much later, we came across the tracks. They were still fairly fresh, and it looked like it was a small prid...

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Early days 4 of 7

Posted on June 13, 2006 at 4:56 AM Comments comments (0)

In the morning, I ended up being the first one behind the driver’s seat. We were shown what NOT to do when approaching dangerous Game, which meant doing everything that we shouldn’t do. I can honestly say it was the most important lesson of my guiding career. After that day, I was always aware of animal’s reactions when I did certain things, and made a point of learning from it.

We drove in-between a mother and calf white rhino, and I learnt very quickly why that is a...

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Early days 3 of 7

Posted on June 12, 2006 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The next day was a full day walk. We left at 6am and we were probably out for 8 hours. Luckily for us, the day was a bit quieter than the day before. We must have crossed the entire concession, and more than four different habitats. We were armed with binoculars and reference books and spent the day identifying birds and plants.

When we got back to the camp, we all had to choose a tree and prepare to talk about it just before dinner. One of the guys, John, chose a Marula tree. He had u...

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Early days 2 of 7

Posted on June 11, 2006 at 4:54 AM Comments comments (0)

The day after arriving we went on a drive, and I was voted to sit in the tracker seat. We came around a corner, and as we head up a sandy hill I spotted a set of leopard tracks. Upon closer expectation Mark told us that they were extremely fresh. We all climbed back on the Landrover and slowly headed up the road. Just then, the leopard crossed the road in front of us – so we followed it off the road. The leopard was extremely relaxed, and it spotted shortly after crossing the road. We t...

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Early days 1 of 7

Posted on June 10, 2006 at 4:51 AM Comments comments (0)

When I first started guiding, I was definitely thrown into the deep end. I fell in love with the bush when I worked as a receptionist temporarily, so I wasn’t really a ‘bush girl’ before that. This is a recount of my fairly intense first week of training.

 

I was camping out in the middle of a Big 5 reserve during an Initiation Week of my training. There were three of us and the head guide, Mark. Each tent slept two, and luckily for me (being the only girl) ...

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