WildEarth was founded in 2006 by Emily and Graham Wallington. The vision was to create a LIVE wildlife channel that simultaneously broadcast on the Internet and TV. The principle involved taking the LIVE community-driven elements of a wildlife webcam and the high production values of a presenter-led TV series and getting them working together at Djuma Game Reserve in South Africa. Broadcasting began on the 27th of April 2007. Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the percentage of WildEarth’s South African audience has jumped from 5% to 65% due to lockdown. They now have five times more audience in South Africa than in the US with up to 3 million viewers per month. WildEarth is now a 24/7 TV channel on DSTV (channel 183) and many platforms worldwide.
How will you be involved in SGOTY 2021?
WildEarth will be creating the media event for SGOTY 2021. In the past SGOTY has not been able to create any awareness due to its lack of media partners. WildEarth believes it is a very important event for South Africa and wildlife and tourism as a whole and wants to create awareness for this around the country and the rest of the world.
Why have you chosen to align your brand with this event?
WildEarth is about connecting people with nature and that is what a good safari guide does. Professional safari guides are extremely important to achieving this mission and therefore we believe that the men and women who have dedicated their lives to this should be celebrated.
Why do you feel that both the guiding industry as a whole and safari guests have to be made aware of this event?
It’s very important to have a professional and knowledgeable guide because this is the difference between a connection with nature or not. If the guest is to have a memorable experience such that they start to fall in love with nature, this will hopefully encourage them to preserve it. The guide that takes them on safari can make or break this experience. The people who dedicate their lives to nature and tourism and making sure guests have this experience need to be made aware of in the industry.
Any words of encouragement for the contestants?
You are all winners to have got this far. You should be incredibly proud of the fact that you have flown this country’s flag high and enabled so many people from all over the world an opportunity to connect with nature.
BREAKING NEWS: Wild Earth will be covering the Safari Guide of the Year awards evening live later in the year.
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.