Stepping out in style. Sapmok at Safari Guide of the Year 2021

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"Words of encouragement for the contestants? - Be Dangerous"! Werner Winterboer, owner of Sapmok.

 

 

This was waiting for me in my tent when I opened the flap at Safari Guide of the Year recently. What an unexpected surprise and from a brand that I have admired for a while. This is, in the words of the owner/founder of Sapmok, Werner Winterboer, a ‘stripped down’ version. No steel toe caps, no bells and whistles, just the original vellie as it should be. I, together with the others who had found a box waiting for them, could not wait to put them on and try them out.

 

 

By the time I arrived at the NJ MORE Field Guide College, where the event was held, the finalists had already arrived and were wearing theirs with pride. The comments varied from “fits like a glove” and  “almost feels that you are not wearing shoes” to “one of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn”.

 

 

 

Animal or vellie tracks?

 

 

TJ, one of the finalists getting down and dusty while on the Track and Sign component of the competition. And he was looking sharp in his Sapmok shoes.

 

 

I really liked this version of the shoe. There were two of the judges sporting these, one male and one female and both looked so cool that I think that this will be my next purchase.

 

 

These seemed to stay dust-free longer than the pair that I was wearing. But the owners of these could have just been more conscious of keeping their shoes clean than me.

 

 

Time to kick back and relax while out on an assessment drive. All work and no play…

 

 

Sapmok does not shy away from walking through the bush on an assessment trail walk.

 

 

Adding a splash of colour to stand out in a crowd?

 

 

Another finalist and another pair of Sapmok being put to the test.

 

 

A stick and a strong shoe that is purpose-made. What more could a guide want.

 

 

At present the largest size that Sapmok makes is a size 14 for men…so I am certain that this pachyderm will not be able to order a pair.

Travel & Things spoke to the owner of Sapmok about his involvement in Safari Guide of the Year. Werner Winterboer shared the following:

I always wanted to start my own outdoor brand so Sapmok was born (Sapmok is Kompas written backwards) and we sold our first pair of shoes in 2015.

Our association with SGOTY and FGASA started back at the 2019 event.

I believe guides are today’s wildlife heroes and we at Sapmok like to sponsor guides in general, so what’s better than SGOTY?
We sponsored all the finalists, judges and some guests with a pair of our vellies.

The aims of FGASA.
  • Provide educational opportunities to promote the conservation and rehabilitation of the cultural and natural heritage of southern Africa.
  • To maintain and serve a professional association of highly-trained tourist guides, tour operators and hospitality institutes.
  • To promote a culture of professional guiding based on a strong ethical, well-informed, safety-conscious approach that provides the visitor to southern Africa with a pleasant and memorable experience.
  • To fully commit to the development and implementation of the national qualifications, promoting the development of all tourist guides including historically disadvantaged individuals, as a part of the South African transformation process.
  • To promote the development of guides through the use of training programmes that conform to high standards of learner development.
  • To promote the highest standards of guide assessment by appointing fully qualified and experienced assessors.

 

 

“Cherish times like these. They are very special and the opportunity for guides to compete for themselves does not come around very often. Make this a week to remember and one that you can look back on in years to come as a very special time where knowledge was shared and bonds were formed. Just be you.” Mike Karantonis, Co-Owner at Africa Direct and founder of Safari Guide of the Year.

 

 

 

 

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