Serena... let us guide you!
"The question is, not what you look at but what you see" (Henry David Thoreau).
Looking at wild animals is always exhilarating, but when you see animals and notice their behavior, our eyes are really opened to the wonder of the natural world and having good driver guides will transform your Safari experience.
Alastair Kilpin and Gavin Lautenbach of Essential Guiding, South Africa recently conducted a guide training course at our Selous Luxury Camp, Mivumo River Lodge (in the Selous Game Reserve) and Kirawira Camp (in Western Serengeti).
The training covered essential guiding techniques; including awareness, communication and story-telling on game drives and boat cruises, safety, pace and decision making on bush walks, as well as birding, mammal behavior and animal track interpretation.
The training was a great success, and our guides are delighted that with the new skills learnt they are able to take their guiding to a new level, adding further to the excitement of our guests safari experience. Recent feed-back from our clients has been extremely positive. One guest writes ‘A fabulous team and experience. Very friendly staff. Chris our driver-guide was incredible. His knowledge of the calls of the wild – just amazing!!’
Alastair and Gavin shared a few stories from their training with us.
“Sweating in Selous in January is no joke – this is the real Africa on the banks of the Rufiji River. This is where we spent 9 superb days training and sharing with the guides from Selous Luxury Camp and Mivumo River Lodge… most of it on foot. We tracked big game on the myriad of hippo trails that criss-cross the riverbanks and go all the way in to the hills. We encountered buffalo on foot and shared the secrets of interpreting the lion and leopard tracks we found whilst walking. We laughed and joked as the bush provided us with plenty of material for humour. We discovered some rare and unusual birds in the miombo and were treated to seeing a family of Little Bee-eaters feeding a parasitic young Greater Honeyguide (which calls: Rich-ard, Rich-ard!). Down on the river, we found lots of very young crocodiles and a few very large eagles, although we missed the leopard that often gets seen on the rocks in the gorge. I think for the guides and trainers it was a very stimulating time as we sought ways to bring the wilderness and magic of the Selous alive for the guests.”
“A real treat is enjoying the western Serengeti to oneself whilst everyone else is chasing the migration on the short-grass plains. So we used the time at Kirawira to walk and explore with Nodrick our trusty park ranger keen as ever. We stalked a large herd of buffalo, had an hour’s classroom under a tree and left without them even knowing we had been there! But a great lesson in awareness was unfolding as we walked back to the vehicle. The sun beat down and guides started to speak loudly and lose concentration – the question was, “what if lions are now resting under the tree near the car?”. There were none…until the next day that is, when we found 4 adult lions right in the very spot we had walked the previous day – and the lesson was complete! We learnt about making the most of our opportunities; how to find not only the common things in our area, but also the rare and unique things. The highlight was surely the deceptive Karamoja Apalis seen in the Whistling Thorns. As a trainer it is always rewarding when the guides start implementing new ideas on the spot and we experienced a lot of that!”
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Ethos Marketing is the UK Sales, Marketing and PR office for luxury hotels and game lodges in Southern and East Africa.