PROFESSIONAL FIELD GUIDING & LODGE MANAGEMENT DIPLOMA (from Bush Academy).
RIFLE HANDLING & ADVANCED RIFLE HANDLING TRAINING
LILIZELA TOURISM 2016 AWARDS WINNER KZN
2005 TO PRESENT: Currently guiding in Kwazulu Natal but have also guided in the Greater Kruger National Park, Eastern Cape and a rehabilitation centre near Houdspruit.
WHY AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A GUIDE?
I love nature, it's my passion, so after returning from a 2.5 year stint in Galway Ireland working in a medical factory I realised money wasn't everything and returned to the country of my birth where I spent the first 18 years of my life.
I then met an old friend who was already doing his field guiding and lodge management course. I realised it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life and have never looked back since.
After five years of being a game ranger or safari guide I started my own tour company and we have been running for seven years now and are the number one rated tour company on TripAdvisor in Durban.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD HLUHLUWE IMFOLOZI SAFARI GUIDE?
Simple, passion and respect with an understanding of nature! If you don't love what you do you will not succeed. If you don't respect nature you will end up in trouble with the wild animals and looking like a fool in front of your clients. If you don't understand nature the clients may as well rent a car and do it themselves.
We have to throw in hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears! Nothing comes easy but if you want to be a good safari guide you will work very hard on little sleep and still perform at the highest level. This is mostly related to running your own business in this industry.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?
Having to wear a bandage on my head while conducting a safari for one of the lodges I worked at, after getting knocked out and splitting my head open playing touch rugby in the early afternoon. Fortunately not realising that I was actually concussed which would explain the dizziness and the headaches.
The leopard, African wild dog, cheetah and honey badger. Leopard is a solitary cat so has to work extra hard to survive, I respect this and the beauty of the animal is just amazing!
African wild dog is a pack animal so communication is key to their success just like in life with humans. If we don't communicate properly we will fail in everything we do from relationships to business to running the country.
Cheetah, the solitary cat that sometimes forms coalitions has amazing physical adaptations like larger lungs, nasal passage, extra flexible vertebra and a rudder like tail tip, man the list goes one. Speeds of up to 120kmph are incredible.
Honey badgers, known to have killed a buffalo bull when being threatened by targeting the genitals causing massive bleeding and therefore death. However they are very clever and can problem solve as well as having an immunity to snake venom. They really are amazing!
MOST MEMORABLE SIGHTING?
Very hard to answer, I have seen it all, not only in Hluhluwe Imfolozi. From infanticide where a male leopard killed a females cub right in front of our vehicle to lions drinking from guests plunge pools.
Also a leopard making a kill and having it stolen by African wild dogs, then hyenas taking it from them and finally the lions taking it from the hyenas and killing one in front of our vehicle.
Another time I saw wild dogs chasing a leopard up a tree and the leopard urinated due to shock and fear. I could go on and on so cant really just pick one.
FAVOURITE CAMPFIRE STORY?
I was bitten by a Mozambique spitting cobra which came into the bed with me on new years day 2008 and it put me in ICU for 5 days. I survived and it changed my life forever in a good way! More respect for life and nature.