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Training World-Class Safari Guides

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The best safaris have three things in common: remote, wildlife-rich settings, luxurious accommodation, and - most importantly - outstanding guides.

Guide training is essential to ensuring our guests have the best safari experience possible. After all, it is their knowledge and expertise that delivers out-of-this-world sightings, such as our recently spotted one week old cheetah cubs at Sanctuary Kusini.

Getting the balance right between safety, ethics, and delivering exactly what the client wants can be challenging, so our guides undertake regular training sessions where they can learn from each other, as well as discovering new techniques in tracking, reading animal behaviour and natural history. The idea behind our training programme is to create world-class safari guides, rather than simply drivers. The aim is for our guides to have the ability to deliver an experience tailored around each guest’s specific interests, using well thought out and communicated plans in order to help deliver a better, more realistic experience.

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As each guest is different - whether they're a safari newbie with no preferences, or an seasoned veteran with a precise species or event they want to see - our guides have the ability to understand their specific interests and offer a tailored, personalised experience, and one that will hopefully tick off everything on their list!

As part of their training, our guides take it in turns to spend several hours in the “hot seat”, putting new techniques and ideas into practice on game drives. This allows the guides to learn from one another and discuss the pros and cons of their approaches in a balanced and thoughtful exercise. We also encourage debate among the guides and trainers, so that each individual comes to their own conclusions, rather than simply being told how to do something – they must believe why certain techniques work while others do not.

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Getting out of the vehicle is also important as it gives a completely different perspective and allows the guides to really understanding the wilderness. During these exercises, guides have the ability to learn more about tracking wildlife, such as identifying and aging tell-tale signs of life, as well as understanding animal’s “personal zones” and sensitivities. While not all of our guides will lead walking safaris, this on-foot training has a positive effect on their vehicle guiding.

Our guides also undertake knowledge exams to test their naturalist expertise, including the ability to identify different birds from their song.

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Skills can be trained and knowledge gained, but character and personality cannot and this is something our current guiding team has mountains of. But if you don’t believe us, just read what some of our past guests have to say about them:

“Emanuel had an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the animal and birdlife of the Serengeti and of the ecology of the whole area. He had an inexplicable and probably innate skill in spotting animals and birds at amazingly long distances. I particularly wanted to see cheetah and, over the 5 days, Emanuel came up trumps. We had 14 sightings of individuals and groups. It was almost unbelievable!”Sanctuary Kusini guest

“Lena our guide was absolutely the best guide we ever had in our 5 trips in Africa.”Sanctuary Baines’ Camp guest

“Sammy, our guide was wonderful, he was always striving for the best and found us some incredible sights. He is a lovely young man full of energy, knowledge and took care of us all so well!”Sanctuary Swala guest

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Contact our reservations team to plan a safari with our world-class guides, and if you stay longer with us, you can save up to 40%.