Winner of the Safari Guide of the Year competition in 2015.
2012 TO PRESENT: Head and specialist guide for three lodges in Phinda.
2011: Vehicle and trails guide in Kwandwe private game reserve.
2010: Vehicle and trails guide in Madikwe game reserve.
WHY AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A SAFARI GUIDE?
I've always had a love for the African bush and after completing a degree in Investment Management, I deciding to pursue the fascination with nature and become a guide. I found out about a well regarded training program through family and joined the course a month after graduating.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD SAFARI GUIDE?
A love for people is just as important as a passion for nature when it comes to guiding. A passionate, curious nature coupled with good enthusiastic communication skills helps a lot.
A keen eye for the small details, awareness of his/her surroundings and a good sense of humor are other qualities that I would look for in a guide.
It depends on the moment, the interaction, the guests that I am with and the surroundings. Black rhino, wild dog, cheetah, lion, crowned eagle, leatherback turtle, leopard, African Broadbill...the list is endless.
BEST EXPERIENCE OF YOUR GUIDING CAREER?
This is also a very tough one to answer. Any uninterrupted interaction between species is amazing. It is an amazing privilege to be able to view any animal in its natural habitat without disturbing its behavior.
GUIDING AREA OF SPECIALIZATION?
Guiding guests during a specialist safari allows me to focus on any guest's interest whether it is birding, photography or walking. I enjoy spending time on foot tracking animals and you could not spend time in Maputaland without being enthralled by its diversity of bird species..
Phinda Private Game Reserve was once a cultivated tract of land but after extensive efforts over a sustained period of time the area has been restored to its original wilderness state.
The big game that you find here now is similar to what would have been around before man set foot in this wilderness namely African elephant, white & black rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard and cheetah. Rare antelope species like the red duiker and suni can also be seen.
On the bird watching front there are 415 species to be discovered with two notables being the Pel's Fishing Owl and the African Finfoot.
For a reasonably small reserve, it offers many places to stay, all of them of a very high quality.
There are six lodges in total covering the different biomes occurring in the area namely Phinda Forest Lodge, Mountain Lodge, Vlei Lodge, Rock Lodge, Zuka Lodge, and the Homestead.
No fences allow the buildings to immerse in their surroundings and they are designed to ensure privacy and exclusivity for the occupants.
The rainy season in Phinda runs from October to April with the highest average occurring in February of 107 mm (4.2 in). There is rain in the dry winter months but not much as proved by the average rainfall measurement in June of only 18 mm (0.7 in).
Wildlife sightings are good all year round but will probably be a bit better in the dry months as the vegetation is not as dense and the animals stick to areas with water rather than dispersing like they do in the wetter times.
Summer occurs here from October to April with an average maximum temperature of 29 °C (84.2 °F) and an average minimum temperature of 18 °C (64.4 °F). Winters (May to September) can be very cold on early morning game drives so bring warm clothing as average minimum temperatures drop to 12 °C (53 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) during the day.
Size & Distances
This is a relatively small reserve measuring 23 000 hectares (230 ㎢) but it's more than large enough for all the wonderful wildlife living here.
The longest distance from north to south as the crow flies is 26 km (16 mi) and from east to west is 9.8 km (6.14 mi). The closest city is Richards Bay which lies 125 km (77 mi) away.
And lying only 26 km (16 mi) due west are the warm waters and white beaches of the Indian Ocean and 17 km (11 mi) due south is the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game reserve.
Phinda Game Reserve is accessible by plane using scheduled or charter flights. International visitors can fly into OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport (CPT) and then take a connecting flight to the Richards Bay airport (RCB).
There are several airlines that fly the Richards Bay route domestically and once there Federal Air has a daily shuttle service that flies directly to the Phinda airstrip.
Another option is fly to King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban and then drive the 269 km (167 mi) to the reserve in a rented vehicle.