His noble arrival grew more gripping with each stride as he calmly moved towards the group. We happened to be positioned directly between him and the spring. Although he was still unaware of our presence, it became clear that interaction would be unavoidable.
There was no uncertainty. I had to kill or be killed. Assisted by a surge of adrenalin and muscle memory I prepared my rifle, placed it in my shoulder and took aim. My sights neatly lined up with the Buffalo’s brain as I confidently squeezed the trigger with less than five paces between us.
The gnarled, exposed roots of two large Apple-leaf trees provided us with a suitable bench. Recent tracks of Buffalo and Elephant at their base further suggested that the misshapen trees were well used scratching posts. We were having lunch beside Mabandi spring on the Lonely Bull Backpack Trail in Kruger […]
Ask any Trails Guide about the weather conditions they least enjoy, and the majority of answers will involve wind. Firstly, animals seem to vanish, seeking out dense cover and thick bush to avoid the blustery conditions. Most importantly though, our sense of hearing disappears, as the constant background noise of […]
Aboriginal Australians have developed, and are bound by, highly complex belief systems that interconnects the land, spirituality, law, social life and care of the environment.
In 1854, the President of the United States in Washington (the “Great White Chief”) made a purchase offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a ‘reservation’ for the Indian people. Chief Seattle’s reply has been described as one of the most profound statement of modern environmental matters.
“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?” -Chief Si’ahl
George B. Shaw summed up the current status of the Trail Guides’ Brief when he said; “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. This greatly neglected, yet critical discussion between the Lead and Back-Up Trail Guides before a walking safari should include standard operational procedures (SOP’s) or ‘golden commands’ for a sudden situation or dangerous encounter.
There they stood, four tons of energy, locked together by tusk-filled gapes. The goliaths took up a substantial amount of space and I was terrified. I feared for the safety of our guests that lay trapped in their tents and the very real possibility of them being trampled.
Being able to tell stories is an invaluable skill for all Trails Guides. It’s how you create a connection with your guests and facilitate their reconnection with Nature. Like any skill, it needs to be learnt and practiced.
Somewhere between measurement and metaphor, your guests will find meaning. Creating moments of enlightenment on Trail is the challenge of Wilderness guiding. It is the challenge of not being confronted by the limitation of language.