To be a Safari Guide is to be a Master of all Trades

African Bush Camps • 12 January 2020

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Zimbabwe's safari guides deserve their reputation as being among the best in the world.  They are subjected to a much longer, more stringent and more rigorous training to achieve a full safari guiding licence than in most other countries.  It is this that gives them the edge. 

But some safari companies, like African Bush Camps, take this one step further.  They believe that ongoing education is key to nurturing quality, and with that in mind, every year all African Bush Camps properties are closed for an intense week of guides refresher training.

Industry professionals focus to enhance what African Bush Camps believes are the top 10 qualities of a professional guide. 

1.    Wildlife knowledge
Zimbabwe alone consists of 685 bird species and 189 mammals. The primary skill is to know characteristic, habits and signs of wildlife to interpret and educate guests in a meaningful manner. 

2.    Safe Practice
Professional guides undergo 5 years of rigorous training (Zimbabwe). Guides are single handedly responsible for guest safety while immersed in the wild; surrounded by an array of potential dangers which include 5 of the top 10 most dangerous animals in the world according to Conde Nast Traveler. Weapon handling, first aid and understanding animal behaviour are vital skills to maintain guest and peer safety.

3.    Conservation
"I believe that the worlds solution to crisis will be derived from nature and that’s why I believe the survival of the world’s wilderness areas are key to survival of humanity" – Beks Ndlovu. Our guides are nature's teachers, they live and breathe community and conservation and they hold themselves accountable for the preservation of our surroundings.

4.    Photography
African Bush Camps guides understand the needs of photographers and are trained in basic photography techniques to assist guests. Naturally positioning guests with the best angle and light to capture special moments. A photograph captures and stores a memory for a lifetime and an African story is worthy of a lifetime.


5.    Driving skills
The best 4 X 4 driving skills are required to combat all terrains; while tracking spoor, identifying birds and animals, answering guest questions, warning for stray branches and reducing the “African massage” along the way. Often an understated ability.

6.    Historian
African Bush Camp guides (entire teams actually) are born and bred in the countries where camps operate. Guides are educated about cultural and political history. They have lived as a part of the eco system and evolved with it. A lifetime of first-hand knowledge within the areas where they work is beyond formal teachings.

7.    Tracker
The art of reading nature's headlines. The clues to who/what has been in the area, what transpired and where are they now? Identifying the signs is key to maximising wildlife sightings. 

8.    Personality 
Guides are the center of attention! The right balance of humour, knowledge and sensitivity to guests is essential. A strong character is required to manage a variety of personalities and moods while managing one’s own personal emotions and conflicts. There is no room for a guide to have a bad day. 

9.    Patience
The beauty of the wild is just that; it’s wild. Sightings can’t be guaranteed, and scenes are somewhat unpredictable. Patience combined with knowledge and experience is the key; African Bush Camps' guides minimise luck and use skill to read nature's signs - an intuitive quality is developed through experience.

10.    Communication
To tailor activities to guests needs and interests and remain responsive, high communication skills are required. Without the ability to communicate all other skills are meaningless.

African Bush Camps recognise that their guides are the golden thread at the pinnacle point of achieving the company's values; to share and conserve Africa together. 

Click on the image below to watch a video featuring the African Bush Camps Guides Training  

Within the Zambezi region of Zimbabwe, you can enjoy the mastery of African Bush Camps' guides at the following properties:-

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge (Lake Kariba)

African Bush Camps Properties in Mana Pools: Kanga Camp, Zambezi Expeditions, Nyamatusi Camp and Nyamatusi Mahogany


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