It’s a highly competitive event with top guides all ranking closely and, naturally, with the chance to win a trip for 2 to Madagaskar – it becomes a very intense competition. This year the winner (by 0.7 points only) was Chantal! Well Done!
She won a lovely trip for 2 to Madagaskar, staying in one of our favourite places – Sakatia Towers! The competition and scores were so close that we almost had to give out 5 prizes!
To find out more about Chantal please read on – she wrote a little profile about her experience as a guide over the past few years.
It all started for me many years ago, hiking in the Free State Province in Südafrika when I was 5 years old. We had an amazing guide, I was constantly up front with him and sometimes even leading the troupe. My parents took us all over South Africa, from Kruger Nationalpark to the beaches on the Wild coast and everything in between. I was always the kid who made friends immediately no matter where we were and quickly got everyone organised as to what we should be doing.
When I got a little older, Wilbur Smith broadened my education into Africa and adventure. I have travelled the entire continent on the wings of his words. Hunted elephants and fought on historical battlefields.
After I finished high school I went into the hospitality industry and spent many good years working as a waitress and bar lady. Great life lessons were learned in these years, especially about people and customer service.
In 2000 I left the continent for the first time and travelled to Israel. I spent eight months working on a kibbutz. I milked 340 cows every day, thankfully it was all electronically done, sometimes at 4h00 in the morning and other days finishing at 22h30. I had a lot of fun and met an array of people from all over the world. I travelled to Egypt for a visit to the pyramids at Giza before returning to Südafrika.
It was on my return that I decided to try and get into tourism. My first idea was to get a job on one
of the private game reserves in the north east of the country, near Kruger Park. My expectations were exceeded when I managed to get a job as a ranger on one of the elite properties in the area, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. They trained me extensively for three months in subjects like 4×4 driving, rifle shooting, tracking, fauna and flora and many more. It was during this time that I obtained my Level 1 FGASA qualification. We were also trained in First Aid, specifically aimed at treating people in isolated areas such as the African bush. The time I spent there were some of the best moments of my life. The things we saw on a daily basis were breathtaking. I will never forget the first leopard I tracked and found on my own. It is difficult to describe that feeling. I left Sabi in 2003 and went to Kapstadt.
I was unsure where to head next but had heard about something called overlanding. It sounded like a wonderful way to spend ones time. After searching high and low (I had some qualifications but no experience in this field) I was given the opportunity by Garth Jenman to go on a tour through Namibia and Botswana with a group of American teenagers. We had a blast and were even charged by a lioness in the Okovango delta. That was April 2004, which is 7 years ago and I have never looked back. The people I have met, the things I have seen and the challenges I have faced have been amazing. I look forward to doing it for many years to come.
Over the years I have learned many things, about cooking, animals, birds, people, driving, etc. I learn more every time I go out on a tour. I have become more specialised in some areas. Namibia is definitely one of my favourites and I have learned a lot about its people and places. Birds have become a great love of mine, there is always one of them around, even when the other animals are hiding. I have a lot of knowledge on mammals, especially after the time spent at Sabi Sabi.
For the last four years I have done Jenman’s South African familiarisation tours for travel agents. We do these so they can see firsthand what we are all about and how our tours run. I have also done a trip especially for off-road bikers from Victoria falls to Windhoek, always sticking to the more challenging roads. This was certainly one to remember. In October 2010 I did a specialist tour for a group of Americans with an intense interest in Botany and specifically in South Africa’s botanical gardens. In March of this year I received the award for Führer of the year. I am very proud of it and will do my best to achieve this again.
FGASA level 1 (Field guide association of South Africa)
First Aid level 1
Professional drivers permit
Western Cape cultural guiding certificate
Wine Course Certificate
Countries worked in:
I look forward to expanding and adding to these in the future and I am very grateful for the privilege I have of taking travellers to our most beautiful destinations. See you soon.
* Chantels tours are almost all fully booked but there are a few places left on the Great Trans African Lodge Safari (15 April departure) and then World in One Country (27 November departure). To book your seat please contact us on email@example.com