News update: 6th May
In January this year, four prospective rangers joined the Sabi Sabi team in the hopes of making it through the tough selection and training process that all potential guides undergo at the reserve. An additional candidate joined more recently; and all five are now being put through their paces under the watchful eye of Sabi Sabi’s head ranger.
Three of the group are the last guides who will undergo their training under the existing system – an intensive course at Sabi Sabi’s famous Nkombe Camp, followed by three months of “apprenticeship” under the guidance of qualified rangers – at the end of which those selected will join the ranger team. In the future, all new recruits will first undergo three rigorous months of in- the-field instruction, after which there will be a selection process. The successful candidates will then complete their training with the demanding courses at Nkombe Camp.
Meet the new recruits:
Matthew Brennan, 23, successfully completed his Nkombe Camp course in January. Three months down the line, Matthew still speaks highly of his camp experience, especially the detail of the curriculum. He values the knowledge he gained during that course and in the months since. Growing up in KwaZulu Natal, he spent his early years exploring the Wild Coast where he still enjoys fishing. He loves the Drakensberg for its hikes and occasional glimpses of the endangered Lammergeyer (Bearded Vulture) only seen in that part of Southern Africa. His love for birds which started in Natal, inspired him to expand his knowledge into the Lowveld, a birders paradise. His passion for bird-watching increases daily.
Richard de Gouvier, 27, is a born and bred city-boy from Johannesburg, who spent some of his school career in the Lowveld and areas surrounding Sabi Sabi. He has friends and family who owned various game reserves around the country, so visits to the bushveld were commonplace to him from an early age. His love of the bush and everything it represents, led him to environmental studies and a five year job as an Environmental Consultant for a government utility. However his passion for wildlife was so intense that he changed his career path. He decided to train as a game guide in order to learn as much as he could and to then have the ability to educate others about everything that the bush has to offer. He is the first ranger training under the new system and will soon tackle Nkombe Camp.
Joost Besjin, 22, was born and raised in the Netherlands. He studied Wildlife Management in the Netherlands for four years prior to attending January’s Nkombe Camp. His decision to study the African Civet for his final thesis spurred him to come to South Africa. He speaks excellent English, and is also fluent in French, and Dutch. These extra languages will be a tremendous asset in hosting our visitors from Europe. Joost brings a new dimension to the Sabi Sabi guiding team, the vast majority of whom are South African.
Arthur Delport, 24, another January Nkombe Camp attendee, grew up in Durban. His passion for the outdoors started at a young age with regular trips to the bush. For many years before a knee injury brought a premature end to his rugby career, he was a dedicated sportsman and team player, playing Provincial rugby for the Sharks under 18’s and under 21’s. He spent much of his recovery time in game reserves, birding and taking part in bush survival courses with his brothers – and these experiences renewed his love of the bushveld. He soon realised that although his rugby career was over, a new bush career had just begun. Sabi Sabi is Arthur’s first introduction into the safari industry, but his easy going nature and high level of knowledge garnered through self study have made the transition an easy one. Arthur has completed his probation period ahead of schedule.