A long and windy road. Safari Guide of the Year 2019. Day 2

These three sponsors have also come on board…
Lalalala Wilderness: Track and sign winner
Livingstones Supply Company: Guided walk winner
Anderson Wildlife Properties: Game drive winner
As part of the Safari Guide of the Year 2019,
each nominee has to participate in both a game drive
as well as a bush walk.


I went out with a group that was under the watchful eye and expertise of
Julius Mkhize.
In order to make the playing fields level,
none of the participants are from this area and
 they are therefore not as familiar
with it as they would be of the reserves that they work in.
It is not an easy task to walk in a BIG 5 reserve without prior knowledge.
However, the judges that were on foot with us know the property,
so the group was not in any danger of getting lost.
Hi-ho, Hi-ho and is off we go.
Single file, behind the rifles and keeping as quiet as possible


Cradled in Julius’s arms.
This .375 is what would keep us safe just
in case there was an incident.


We saw an ENORMOUS quantity of Rhino dung.
Both old and very fresh…
We discovered middens, many of which had been recently utilized.
We were shown tracks of both Black and White Rhino,
coming and going in many directions.
 But not a single sighting
But walks are not all about the large game.
It is about finding what you miss out on when driving in a vehicle.
Like this breast feather from a Natal Spurfowl
that is designed to keep the bird warm.


Not an easy area to traverse…
Lots of thorn trees that grabbed at clothing and hats
 as our group tried to circumvent them.
On several occasions, we had to find different routes
when the path chosen became overgrown and impenetrable.


Civet poop.
Not something I have seen in the wild before.
While in Vietnam several years ago, I did try Civet poop coffee.
Meant to be one of the most expensive brands worldwide,
I was left relatively unimpressed.
Back-lit spiderwebs are one of my favourite ‘finds’ when in the bush.
And during this walk, I was able to photograph several.
One of the MOST elusive animals on my bucket list is the Aardvark.
These are its tracks.
And to date, this is the closest I have got to these creatures.
Interestingly enough, Samara Private Game Reserve, where Julius works,
is well known for its Aardvark population.


Making certain that all is safe as the group
 strode briskly along a well-used game path.


It is amazing the lengths that cameramen will go to
 in order to ‘that‘ shot.
This is James from Wild Earth.Tv who was is part of the
media contingent covering this event.
A final track just before we got back to our vehicle.
And one that we were not expecting to find in the cold weather.
This was made by a Puffadder!
With tons of poop and numerous tracks in the area that we walked,
we did not find any large game.
However, five minutes into our drive back to the college,
this fellow stepped into the road.
But, as is said in many television adverts,
“That’s not all”…
The evening ended off with another of the tasks
 that the nominees have to complete…
 Rassie Jacobs started the ball rolling.
Not an easy task to keep a peer group enthralled
when they too have many stories.
But he did! And in style…
I shall never look at false teeth in the same light again.
Not an easy task to be the first, but he acquitted himself well.


Anthony Collett.
The most experienced guide in the group of nominees.
A master at the long pause, his story was evocative
 of his beginnings as a guide.
When there was very little training and guides
 had to think on their feet in any given set of circumstances.
Well done Anthony.


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