This is the third blog post in the Wildlife Conservation series by South African safari ranger/guide Pierre Mouton. Learn more about Pierre in his first post for us, and check out his thoughts on conservancy here. See some of Pierre’s wildlife photos on his Facebook page.
Don’t we all have daily duties or “chores” to do? For me as a guide/ranger, I can say: “I don’t have either!” My daily tasts form part of a lifestyle that chose me and I LOVE it!
But for the sake of creating awareness about what it’s like to be a safari guide, we’ll call them “duties” for now.
The day starts off at the crack of dawn. In summer (which also happens to be the Rainy season), the season that we are in now, sunrise is at 04:50 am. Guests are woken up at 05:00 am. So your guide has to be at his post at 04:45, to prepare coffee, to “wake up the mind” just before we go out on the morning safari.
Game drive unfolds in its own dynamic and unique way, each time different from the last. I always tell my guests how “planning a drive” NEVER turns out as planned. Five minutes into the drive, the plan WILL change. We have to remind ourselves, these animals don’t read the “memos” (lol) . They mostly have home ranges or territories, which are areas they prefer or have dedicated their lives to protect against intruders, in which they will move around freely.
Usually halfway through the safari the guide stops somewhere at a scenic spot for a morning coffee break. Here a lovely setup is prepared next to the vehicle, where everyone gets out to stretch those sleepy muscles.
Back at the Lodge, breakfast is ready at about 08:30.
After filling those bellies with bacon and eggs, a bush walk helps burn some calories. This involves going out on a guided walk with your ranger. He/she will be armed with knowledge, enthusiasm and rifle. Bushwalk is a way of experiencing the bush in a way different to driving. Here touching, smelling, hearing and feeling the bush is the focus. The walk is where the Safari experience is chained to your heart and soul, to captivate you forever.
At 16:00 pm, the heat of the African sun brings us all together once more for the sunset safari of a lifetime!
On safari, a ranger and his tracker (the person sitting on the front of the vehicle, who looks for animal tracks) will work together to produce sightings that will blow your mind. This team works together in the vehicle and on foot to find you the Notorious Big 5!
Back on the vehicle, the sun says goodbye to another day and the secretive night arrives. On the way back to the lodge the Tracker holds a strong spotlight and finds nocturnal animals by the reflection of their eyes. These little creatures have eyes that adjust faster to changes in light, which enables them to move at night. The spotlight, therefore, does not affect them visually at this time.
This entry reflects the authors’ personal judgments and does not represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State.