“My name is Sean Harris, I am 23 years old and doing my Professional Field guide course through EcoTraining. We are currently at the stage of our year-long course where we have been placed for 6 months at lodges all over southern Africa! To say that I’ve had an amazing time thus far (2 months) on my lodge placement is the understatement of the century!
We have had the privilege of working with the guiding team at Singita Kruger National Park, as well as the rest of the team that helps the company to be the top in southern Africa! The head guide Chantelle Venter is absolutely incredible, and just when you think, “surely there’s no more that they can or want to do to help us”, there’s another course or helping hand waiting for you! She has handed us a gift on a silver platter and both Callan and myself are doing our best to take the opportunity with both hands as to not let anything in the duration of the placement go to waste!
We have had the privilege of going on an array of courses, two of which were a snake handling course with the author of the Snakes of Southern Africa books, Mr Johan Marais, and a birding course with the incredibly renowned birder, Mr Allister Kilpin! It was an honour to meet both of these incredible men who have done so much for the industry respectively. We have also been signed up with the company’s membership to Lobster ink, which is a program designed to better the skills of personnel working within the hospitality environment.
It is the first time I have ever witnessed anything like Singita, it may sound like I’m trying to promote the company, but in my honest opinion, it is by far the most professional and amazing place out there! We have yet to meet a single unfriendly person there, as well as any inefficiency whatsoever. They always seem to be on top of everything! It has also been amazing that we have been given the opportunity to interact with guests on a regular occasions. We have met guests from all over the world, America, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, Australia and many other places too!
We are doing transfers every single week, meaning that we are picking up guests from the Satara airstrip and transferring them back to the lodge where we would leave them in the capable hands of the front of the house. This is a particular favourite of mine due to the fact that for a lot of guests that come through, it is their first time ever in Africa, and definitely the first time they are seeing the beautiful fauna and flora that we have to offer. I absolutely love this because, to a large extent, we are giving them their first impression of not only Singita but our country too! It is incredible to have people who are practically doing back-flips over the sight of something as ordinary and substantial as an Impala!
We are also allowed out into the concession as often as we have time to do so, in order to learn roads and to do link-outs for the guides. With this comes some of the most incredible sightings which most people will never get to experience in their lifetime, and we are witnessing these kinds of things on a weekly basis.
I recently heard something said by an instructor of ours, Mr Bruce Lawson, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. At the time, I thought understood what he was talking about, but only since I have been exposed to the pleasures and downfalls of the industry, have I actually come to terms with exactly what he meant by that! Whether it be doing transfers with first-timers to the continent, or rock-packing roads to prevent erosion, it is all worth every second of the day. The long hours that come with it, if one goes about it in the correct way, is basically one massive learning curve, and an opportunity to fill your mind and heart with the beauty that surrounds us!
Thank you EcoTraining for affording us this opportunity, and thank you to the Singita team for welcoming us with open arms, and showing us around our home and very own backyard! For this, I am eternally grateful!”