The romance of the bush often has people wanting to embark on a journey into a new career whether it be as a Game Ranger or as a Safari Guide.
I suppose the draw of the bush, the lure of the wilderness and the excitement of adventure brings people to Africa and the bush, from all walks of life.
The difference between a Game Ranger and a Safari Guide?
When I worked as a Safari Guide, we were often referred to in marketing material and brochures, as ‘Rangers‘. Although this has undeniable ‘badass!’ appeal, it was technically incorrect.
A Game Ranger is concerned mostly with the conservation of an area, behind the scenes maintenance of a wildlife sanctuary or protection of the natural resources held within. Sometimes they may take on an education role, but primarily, they are focused on keeping an area safe and protected, allowing biodiversity to thrive.
This means generally long and arduous days of patrolling the fence lines of reserves and territories of endangered species. Sleeping rough, eating quick, and working tough are the norm.
These are unsung heroes who serve and protect the wild spaces. A task that is often thankless but absolutely necessary for the safety and security of these wilderness areas that house the most precious resources on our planet. It’s very own biodiversity.
To become a Game Ranger means hardcore training, military boot camp style, drills, patrols, fitness, combat and rifle training, the works. It’s hard, and it’s gruelling. The drop out rate is high but so are the rewards. These rangers are in the front line in the fight against a war against the extinction of species, and a war it is.
Now, what is a Safari Guide?
A Safari or Field Guide is something else completely. They are the bridge between that wilderness, being protected, and the guests who want so desperately to experience it, before it might be too late.
They guide and enhance the experience so that when that guest goes home, they are changed, they are more. They now know that we are all a part of this vast ecosystem, with everything working in an endless balancing cycle, constantly seeking equilibrium.
The Safari Guide is an absolute jack of all trades. They are an educator, a protector, a host, a first aid responder, a barman, an advanced 4×4 driver, unwavering in their ethical approach to the safety of all involved. The guests and the wildlife. They are an entertainer, an expert naturalist as well as, with the right training, an expert trails guide, that can lead a group of people safely through potentially dangerous animal encounters, all the while, revelling in the beauty of nature, and whisking the guests on an adventure they will never forget!
This seems rather unfair doesn’t it, a Guide sits down to a 5-star meal and a sumptuous glass of wine while recounting a day’s adventures with exciting and interesting people from all over the world. And gets paid to do it? Yup.
Without the services of Field Guides showcasing the best that the bush has to offer, in the most ethical way possible, the extinction event that is sweeping the globe would be exponentially increased.
The money brought in by the guests who will come back time and time because of the tireless positive attitude of their fantastic guide will help to sustain and expand the protected wildlife areas that will buffer our future from catastrophe.
To become a Safari Guide can be accomplished in many ways, most rewarding of all meaning joining a training organization like EcoTraining, on one of their qualification courses, from a 55-day Apprentice Field Guide Course to a 1-Year Professional Field Guide Course, covering over 17 different modules ranging from Geology to the History of Human Habitation, from Botany to Ecology and Animal Behaviour.
Hands-on experience and expert trainers guiding you every step of the way, as well as a dedicated team of support professionals in the head office, will help you set up a future that will see you as the next generation of Guides and Guardians.
Whatever direction you choose, be it Field Guiding or enrolling in a Game Ranger course… I hope to see you in the bush soon!