Posts Tagged ‘game ranger’

World Ranger Day

July 26th, 2011, posted in Educating You

31 July 2011 is World Ranger Day and we’ll be taking time to honour our Field Rangers on the reserve.

Rangers have pledged their lives to their environment, rangers spend days and nights learning from nature and many choose to share their findings with the world. Rangers also put their lives on the line when they choose to protect animals, plants and soil.

Every month we read reports of rangers who have died in their struggle against poachers, plant collectors, witchdoctors, loggers and other harvesters of marine life.

Our rangers on Grietjie have done a great job of finding snares which has resulted in the arrest of two suspects within a month. We salute all the rangers of the world and thank you all for dedicating your time to looking after our wildlife and their homes!

A career as a game ranger

April 26th, 2010, posted in Educating You, Uncategorized

Would you like to become a game ranger? Do you know what it takes to be a field guide? Do you have the confidence to lead people into the wild as a Trails guide? Do you simply want to study to become a game ranger, or do you want to learn more about wild animals and the environment for a month, 6 months or year?

I could give you a thousand reasons why you should become a game ranger, a hundred more reasons to become a field guide and a few others to become a Trails guide; however you have chosen this site because this is where your interest lies and I have selected some of the best places to fulfil your dream.

Bhejane Nature Training
– KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Nature Guide Training – Limpopo, South Africa


Limpopo Field Guiding Academy

What is FGASA – The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa
FGASA represents individual Tourist Guides, Nature, Culture and Adventure guides, Trackers and organisations involved in offering professional guiding services to members of the public.

FGASA is an accredited provider with the Tourism Hospitality and Sport, Education and Training Authority (THETA). The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa has set guiding standards for many years and continues to maintain the highest standards within the guiding industry. In conjunction with THETA within the new National Qualifications Framework, FGASA promotes the standards for guiding throughout Southern Africa in the form of:
• A standard outcomes-based training syllabus
• A code of ethics and a set of guiding principles
• An assessment system based on high standards of competence
• A effective training course endorsement system
• A valid recognised First Aid Certificate requirement
FGASA aims to promote a culture of professional guiding based on a strong ethical well-informed, safety conscious approach to provide the visitor to the African bush and environs with a pleasant and memorable experience.
FGASA is fully committed to the development and implementation of the national qualifications, promoting the development of all tourist guides, including previously disadvantaged individuals as guides, trackers, trainers and assessors as part of the South Africa’s transformation process.
FGASA promotes the training of guides through the endorsement of training providers who conform to the FGASA and National training standards. The Association also promotes the highest standards of guide assessment by appointing and registering fully qualified and experienced assessors to carry out practical evaluations at all levels for all the guiding qualifications.
FGASA’s philosophy is one of promoting the guide and tracker on the ground in terms of skills development, recognition of existing skills and creation of job opportunities within the tourism industry.

re-uniting a cheetah cub with its mother

December 30th, 2009, posted in Wildlife

We are actualy a hands-off family, but we are also human and some times we are blessed by the impulsive decisions we make, this bushtrail post is about the eventful afternoon we shared with a baby cheetah…

cheetah and cubs

female cheetah with 3 of her cubs

Our story starts with an explanation of how the cheetah cub got lost. We live in a Nyala-breeding camp adjacent to the game reserve. The warthogs had dug under the fence and the very hungry cheetah thought it best to crawl under and take her cubs to a place where she could find food for her also very hungry, meat-eating cubs.

When the game ranger found her, she had killed one of the female Nyala. A vet was called to dart the cheetah family and take them back home, (we weren’t home at the time we went birding at Nylsvley). We are told one of the cubs made a dash before the vet could dart it, only the minimum amount of drug was used so they had to quickly transport them back into the reserve. They found the little cub but, by the time they took her to the others it was dark. We guess she did not locate her mother and walked back to the last place they had been together as a family – the nyala breeding camp…

Meanwhile, the next day, Pieter was helping me to set up the irrigation system to water our vegetable garden when he heard a cry, I was singing at the time and he asked me to listen, that’s when we heard the call of a creature coming from the Nyala-breeding camp. Pieter looked towards the sound and spotted the cub, only then did I see it!

Pieter ran into the house and grabbed a blanket and I took two towels, we set off to try and catch this little wild cat. As we approached her she ran down the hill and Pieter followed closely behind – I was amazed at the acceleration of the cheetah cub even at such a young age! Fortunately she chose a relatively open area and tired. Although cheetahs are the fastest animals on earth, they do not have the stamina to keep up a pro-longed chase, and this is why Pieter was able to catch up to her!

He threw the blanket over her and carefully wrapped her up in it, making sure no claws or teeth could lash out at him. We placed her into the back of our bakkie and took her back to the game reserve. When we got within 20 metres of the cheetah mother, Pieter took the towels and lifted the rather timid-looking little cub. Well, it growled and hissed and tried to bite and scratch Pieter, proving to be rather ferocious.

The Scene it made and loud alarm screams called its mother to attention, and when Pieter released the cub, the mother was only about 10 metres away – at that moment she called out to the cub, it stopped running turned and responded to her call. The young cheetah cub was calmed by her mothers gentle licking and was now re-united with its mother, brothers and sister.

Pieter checked on the family today and they all seem relaxed and happy!

So, even though we do not like fences and human contact with animals, this time, our intervention helped a lost cub find its way home.

cheetah cubs

cheetah, witwater game reserve

cheetah and her cubs

Four cubs and their mother

Accommodation options on this reserve are at Witwater Safari Lodge or self-catering Chalets

up-and-coming game ranger

December 11th, 2009, posted in Uncategorized

Is Joshua an up-and-coming game ranger?

The clever people say a child will grow up in the way of the parents… mmmm, I as a mother think Joshua is a great athlete, mountain biking 5km with ease, running, swimming, rock climbing etc etc. But, it is his “Bush-wise” comments that interest adults and perhaps it’s because we are always around him that we don’t always appreciate this.

Although I am still convinced that Pieter is one of the best field guides in South Africa, based on the knowledge and way he is able to communicate with guests giving them an overall excellent safari experience, he has some competition!

Our 5yr old son proved his ability to spot animals on our holiday to the Kruger Park last week! (Yes we live in a game reserve and choose to holiday in a game reserve!!!) Anyway, Pieter and I were looking at birds, when Joshua casually said, “There’s a spotted hyena”, not ‘I see an animal’, or ‘a hyena’, no; he goes on to name the species! It was not a clear, animal-crossing-the-road sighting either! The Hyena was behind the bushes walking with a mission, so we only had a short sighting in the open patches along his path before he moved into thicker bush.

All in all, it was special!

No picture was taken, our hands were filled with our binoculars, so here are some black and white shots of a hyena I took a few years ago for those of you who have not yet seen a spotted hyena.

spotted hyena

spotted hyena

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, kruger national park

spotted hyena, kruger national park

Bush eyes? How Game Rangers spot animals:

November 25th, 2009, posted in Educating You

Visitors to the bush know it takes a while before you start spotting wild animals through thick bush, in long grass or across the valley on the opposite hill.  Somehow spotting animals in the wild come naturally to game rangers and I can only think it’s because they must have Bush eyes!

Take this simple test for example: Look at picture 1 what do you see?  Now look at picture 2 and see if that was more difficult or not?



When I asked Pieter how he spots these animals at such a far distance he simply says,” …when it twitched its ear, my eye caught the movement and I looked more carefully.” or “Did you see that flick of a tail?” Ok, so the flick of the tail can be seen, because I saw it, but the twitch of an ear? I was looking in the same direction and I knew what I was looking for and still, I could not see it!!  He also said, “… that wasn’t a rock, a log or leaves, it ‘s an animal”.

Pieter finds small creatures like caterpillars and chameleons at night with ease so it’s not just the larger creatures!  I’m convinced he has a sixth sense when it comes to seeing things in the wild!

The following pictures were taken after the initial sighting, proving that patience can deliver!

leopard, Zululand

leopard, Zululand

leopard, AmaZulu Game Reserve

leopard, AmaZulu Game Reserve

young leopard sighting

young leopard sighting

Enjoying a safari I usually organise

November 19th, 2009, posted in Uncategorized

Planning other people’s safari is what I do best. Why? Because I want them to have the best experience possible. I choose the best venues to suite their budget and interest and then send them on their way. I’m passionate about wildlife safaris, but rock art and wilderness safaris come in tie for second spot!

Anyway, everyday of my life is dedicated to helping someone somewhere take a safari in Africa, but the best project I run is the Bush Therapy project. We find that when people are in a place of serenity, with awesome scenery, the sounds of running water or simply watching animals out in the open, they tend to discern a stirring that takes place within their soul.

Pieter; my Trails guide, game ranger, field guide and husband; told me at breakfast yesterday that we were going to have some Bush Therapy as a family! We spent the whole day together! We took a slow drive, watching birds, finding insects, taking pictures of animals, soaking up the sights and sounds of the game reserve and ending it off with a picnic! By dusk we had a hippo keeping an eye on us in the dam in front of us and rhinoceros grazing behind us, toads croaking, birds tweeting their good night song and our souls became saturated with that warm fuzzy feeling!