Most people think that the biggest part of being a safari guide is everything animal related.
This is certainly not the case, although all guides i'm sure, wish it was. Yes, the wildlife that surrounds
us is the reason we chose to do what we do, but we are there for the people who pay huge sums
money to come and experience the wilderness. Making sure that their hard earned cash is not
wasted, and that their once is a life time trip to deepest darkest Africa is everything they expected
It is people that can also bring the most satisfaction to what you do as a guide and for me the part of
the job that brings me the greatest personal reward is seeing peoples faces when you meet or even
exceed their expectations. To see the face of someone who is laying eyes on a lion ,leopard or
elephant for the first time in their life and knowing you helped their dreams come true is a feeling
like no other and makes up for the long hours and the more challenging guest...
One of my favourite things to do when in the bush is sit and watch the sun go down with an ice cold gin
and tonic and a good book, that is when I am not entertaining guests on a game drive as drinking
whilst on the job would be highly irresponsible and something that I would never do……EVER………ok
On this particular evening Charlie(My wife) and I found ourselves at another camp as we had a few
days off from the rigors of camp life. This particular camp is one of our favourite places to go and
recharge during our time off and is beautifully situated along the banks of the Luangwa River and has
a lovely swimming pool shaded by the ever green Natal Mahogany tress that surround it. As well as
being a lovely camp it is run by our good friends so we are always well looked after and get a chance
to catch up on the local gossip.
Having spent most of the day by the pool we retired to our tent and true to form I became restless,
as I usual...
Catching a glimpse of one of Africa’s most endangered predators is a privilege in itself, to spend time with them during a prolonged period of time is a dream come true.
Due to a loss of habitat the African Wild Dog is becoming increasingly threatened. This combined with their extensive home ranges makes it very difficult for them to avoid human settlements which unfortunately results in persecution from farmers and rural populations. So, when these guys pop up in the same area as you it certainly generates some excitement.
As it happened my Dad was visiting me in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, where I was guiding at the time. It was October, the rains were starting to build and fortunately I had no other guests in camp so the two of us headed out in search of whatever we could find.
On the final evening of his stay we were following one of the many leopards we had found over his stay, when a call from camp came in over the radio.
“Matt come in for Henry"
When you work in an area for a prolonged period of time, you become very aware to the goings on of the animals within your specific area, especially the territorial creatures such as lion and leopard. It almost becomes like watching a soap opera or reality TV show, with each game drive turning into an episode of pure unscripted drama.
Like any TV show you start to become attached to certain characters and become involved in their story, in my case the Lion Pride known as the Hollywood’s quickly became my favourite and their story line always captivated me.
I think one of the reasons I fell in love with this pride was down to the fact that they made my job as a guide very easy, never being more than a few km from camp at any given moment, I could always count on them to get me out of a hole if I ever had a quiet game drive, although to be honest, in the South Luangwa that is a very rare thing indeed.
Another reason, and probably the main factor as to why I followed thei...
It was coming to the end of a long, hot and very dry season in the Luangwa valley. With only a few weeks left of the season, Charlie my wife had decided to save up her leave and go home early and leave me to close up camp and deal with the last remaining guests.
We knew there were Wild Dogs very close to camp, (as mentioned in a previous story http://www.roarintoafrica.com/stories/part-of-the-pack) so on her last evening we decided to take a few drinks and go and spend some time with the dogs.
We arrived to find them exactly where I had left them, in the dry, sandy bed of the Mwamba River. We parked up, I fixed Charlie a G&T, cracked opened my beer and sat back and enjoyed the warmth from the last rays of the late October sun before it began to set.
No sooner had I moved out of the driver’s seat and onto the front bench in the back of my cruiser, the pack sprung into life and were off. I jumped back into the driver’s seat and sped off in pursuit of the pack, befo...
One afternoon late in the month of August, on the banks of the Mwamba river very close to camp, I came across the resident Mwamba pride.
At the time they were doing what Lions do best, relaxing in the late afternoon light. I decided to sit and wait for a while as it was starting to cool down and dusk was beginning to set in. It is at this time of day lions begin to wake up.
A lone Hippo, who had decided it was now cool enough to begin his evening search for a meal started to wander along the dry river towards the pride. At first none of the pride seemed interested, but curiosity got the better of one young Lion.
Shortly after the first Lion had approached the Hippo, the rest of the youngsters in the pride decided to follow and a chase ensued which saw the Hippo crash through a number of bushes with young Lions hot on his heels.
The efforts of the pride were half-hearted at best, until the Hippo stumbled and crashed down the steep river bank, falling at least four meters,...
All guides will tell you that they mean to find every animal that they discover for their guests (myself included) through masterful tracking and interpretation of the surrounding flora and fauna.
However, on this occasion I could find no way in which to describe the finding of this particular animal other than sheer dumb luck.
It was early in the season and I was heading out with my first guests of the year. In early June the vegetation is relatively healthy, the leaves are still green and the grass very long, making it slightly more of a challenge to find the more secretive animals.
I was taking my guests north from the camp with the plan to stop at a favourite sundowner spot and to make our way back to camp under the cover of darkness with the hope of finding the lions beginning to stir.
About an hour into the drive I entered an area of tall grass between two dry lagoons when I noticed a Marshal Eagle land in a Winter Thorn Tree with a freshly caught Guinea Fowl c...