Jenman African Safaris held its second “Guide training course” from 22nd to 26th February 2010 at Llandudno’s Apostle-battery near Cape Town. 22 more or less experienced Tour Guides – most of them from Zimbabwe – gathered at one of the most scenic spots at the Cape Peninsula but not for sunbathing at the beach! The next 5 days at the former Navy-camp was packed with information about the internal workings at Jenman Safaris as well as astronomy lessons (and star gazing) and 4×4 driving tests in the coastal dunes near Atlantis. This was my first time joining the undaunted tour-leaders, bush chefs and gravel & mud-road hero’s!!!
Most of the Zimbabwean guys had their stories to tell about the changing political and economical situation in their home country. But in the evenings – after preparing our dinner all together – they suddenly also had some almost “unbelievable” stories about their time in the bush. Most of them had met a lion or even a leopard on a simple bushwalk already – and how they had survived this spectacular encounter! I am sure these stories will get stunned reactions and responses from tourists on safari… Thula talked about commercial poaching and how they used traps, slings and fire-arms & he spoke about the dealers who are behind the scenes and are responsible for the reckless hunting and deaths of numerous elephant and rhinos! The number of rhino declined in the last years tremendously. The poachers go for the horns and tusks (ivory) and sell them on the Asian market… Thula also spoke about how strict and successful the Zimbabwean Game Ranger are fighting this poachers today!
Despite the fact that English is now the official language in Namibia the tribes still go back to their different parts of the territory and speak their original languages. And German – after Namibia being a German colony for many years – is still very popular and well-used throughout all areas of Namibia. David – of course born in Livingstone/Zambia – contributed his experience while hunting antelopes with people from his village. And he told us one fact I was really astonished about… To attract a bock they use a bugle – similarly shaped like the Vuvuzela South African soccer-fans are using in the stadium. They toot the bugle and make a sound similar to a female antelope. Similar hunting strategies are used in Canada and Scandinavia when they are following the moose or elk in the forests.
After guiding for just one year I can’t compare with the experience of most of my colleagues. But maybe in 2011 (for the next guide training) I can come up with a few stories about my time with our clients on the wild side.
Written by: Andree Merbt