Through the eyes of a Trails Guide student


The alarm goes off at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am and diligently pulls me out of my slumber. I drift in and out for another 15 minutes, interrupted by the cooing of the Red Eye Dove and the screeching of the Natal Spurfowl right outside my tent, surrounded by the lush green that creates a wall along the windy dirt pathway.

It’s time to roll out of my ‘jim jams’ and into my trekking gear as I prepare for a Trails walk. The air is welcome and cool, and I close my eyes briefly as I commit the feeling to memory before it turns into a searing, burning, barely moving breath in an hour or so.

Time to pop a malaria pill and wash it down with a Rooibos tea and a rusk, as I will need my energy for the 4-hour walk ahead of me. As people begin to mill around the dining table in camp (which is the only one I have ever seen with a killer open view of the Motloutse River), conversation and coffee stir our minds out of their weariness, and soon, everyone is making their way to the entrance of the camp.

As we head out, the mood blue and mauve sky begins to blaze into a fiery orange-red, and I am reminded how spectacular Mother Nature is in all Her glory. As we walk, any troubled thoughts and visions dancing around in my head dissipate and are replaced by a sense of peace and tranquillity as a troop of baboons spring around in the grass.

Impala stands upright and graceful in the morning light, ears pricked and tails swishing, as they watch us watching them. Elephants make tracks in the long grass as they sweep slowly across the green carpet that is the savannah, and the light reflects the sandy brown dust on their backs.

The birds are already flitting and chirping in chorus, and white butterflies float around as we snake our way in a line towards the horizon.

My alarm woke me from my dreamscape. But it was Mother Nature who awoke my spirit this morning as only she can.”

About the Author:
Picture of Annemi Zaaiman

Annemi Zaaiman

Explore more

bee on lavendar plant

Why Bees are Important?

Daily we hear about animals whose population numbers are in decline, but did you know that the humble Bees numbers are also in decline and they too are at risk of extinction?

Read more
arrow-marked babbler

The Magic of the Morning Chorus

Imagine yourself early in the morning in the middle of the South African bush; the sun is just about to rise, and the wildlife begins to wake up. You close your eyes and listen. What can you hear?

Read more
in the driver seat

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to sleep in a tent in the middle of the African bushveld, falling asleep to the sound of a lion roaring in the far, some jackals playing, hyenas laughing? Have you ever asked yourself if you are “made” for a life out there? Well, I did! Doing the 28-day course in Mashatu was more than just a break from everyday life. It was a deep dive into the core of life itself.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.