starting off

It is close to a year ago now since I first arrived at Sabi Sabi to start my career as a guide. On the first evening so much uncertainty lay ahead but the whooping of a lone hyena combing the night reminded me of what I was here for, my love of the African bush.

lion cub while on sabi sabi safari

Even though I was now ready to get out on the road, time in the bush was still just a dream, there was a vast amount of training to get through before getting behind the wheel of a Land Rover with guests of my own.

lion on a kill while on safari night drive at Sabi Sabi private Game Reserve

Two weeks were spent around the lodge with a few days in each department, everything from operating the phones in reception to the workshop’s wheel spanners. A good way to see how your actions as a ranger could have an impact on the rest of the lodge. Once done in the lodge it was time to get into the bush for some hands on training.

ground hornbill while on sabi sabi safari

Early morning collection walks looking for the different grass and tree species that are so important to the success and density of our famous Big 5 were the perfect way to start the day. A quick breakfast saw a Land Rover disappearing pursued by a cloud of dust, off to go and learn the roads which was more of a case of getting lost and trying to find your way home. Getting back just in time to have a quick shower and pull on our evening uniform to go and host dinner. The day ending with a crash just to wake up with the sun to do it all again.


Eventually the training ended with the handing over of a pair of chocolate brown epaulettes. Two short words and one of Africa’s most iconic animals embroided on these shoulder pieces represented my freedom on this amazing reserve, Sabi Sabi my new home. Waking up to the dawn’s chorus of birds, itching to get onto the road and see what every new day has in store for us. Paired up with some of the most experienced trackers in the Kruger region there is a wealth of knowledge to learn from and enjoy. Interpreting the bush is my passion, my lifestyle, my privilege.

safari game drive sunset at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

by: Simon Smit (Bush Lodge ranger)

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