Day 3 of the workshop was to be spent re-introducing all of the guides to all of the managers of the various departments in JAS. Each manager had a presentation for the guides and explained in detail how their department fits into the company and the role that they play in creating successful tours. We had Angela Bryant from HR, Wiebke Priilaid from our Product Department, Bettina Wiederkehr from Sales, Katja Quasdorf from Marketing – who had everybody laughing with her definitions of different marketing strategies – and Rebecca Marshall from the Madagascar and Angola Product Department who had everyone enthralled with the different Angolan and Malagasy destinations. The guides gained valuable insight into how the tours are crafted and molded from start to finish, and the high standards Jenman African Safaris require from all their guides, equipment, departments and staff. One of our Guides, Will Jansen then took the floor and gave a very interesting and informative lecture on Photography, and how to maximize the guests’ chances of capturing and recording the best possible photographs whilst on safari.
The fourth day of the workshop was to be spent going over the technical aspects of the vehicles and equipment. There are many factors that need to be considered in terms of safety and proper use, so that our vehicles and equipment are well looked after and maintained. The guides also each had to complete an exercise involving reversing a heavy vehicle and trailer up a long steep incline and into a fairly tight space. Martin, one of our German guides took it upon himself to offer directions and advice throughout the exercise and did so with gusto! He looked like an orchestra conductor the way he was waving his arms about!
After lunch we had two 4×4 driving instructors come in and present a lecture to the guides on the different aspects of 4×4 driving. The idea of the lecture was to properly prepare the guides for the following day’s practical 4×4 driving exercises. The afternoon was then spent covering ‘Bush – Mechanics’ and maintenance of vehicles.
The last dinner that was to be made for the workshop was a delicious meal of lamb in a sweet red wine sauce with various vegetables and salad. After everyone had eaten their fill we had a captivating evening of Astronomy with Kechil Kirkham. Kechil covered a great deal in just one evening and her talk was truly interesting and informative. Everybody was totally enthralled, and it was only in the early hours of the morning that we eventually called it a night.
Many of the guides had been looking forward to the last day of the tour as it was to be spent on the practical side of 4×4 driving. After an early breakfast we headed out to a 4×4 track out at Melkbos Strand which is situated about an hour North of Cape Town. Every guide had the opportunity to drive the specialized JAS custom-built 4×4 Landcruisers and be instructed in the correct way of driving in thick, sandy conditions. Even the most experienced guides were visibly impressed with the performance of our Cruisers and how the vehicles handled the tougher sections of the course. Guides often underestimate the capabilities of the cruisers. After the deep sand driving we made our way to Franschoek where we put the guides and vehicles through their paces up a steep, rocky 4×4 only mountain trail that overlooked the whole Berg River Dam. The view from so high up was beautiful and it was the first time that many of us had seen the newly completed dam. By late afternoon all of the guides had completed the mountain trail and were really pleased that they had managed to conquer the mountain! Wayne and Candice from JAS Operations assembled the group and expressed on behalf of everyone at JAS, our appreciation to the guides for having taken the time to attend our workshop and for all the enthusiasm that they had shown through the duration of the course.