You’re a guide – why?

On my last trip Professor Garry Marvin was trying to get out of me the reasons why people become guides – his social anthropology gene had obviously kicked into overdrive. I really couldn’t assist him very much but have been think about this for quite some time now.

For me, having worked in conservation for most of my life, I think it is a way of getting back into nature without the normal bureaucratic nonsense that comes with large organisations? (Having said this there is still a LOT involved to register as a guide). I like people and especially people who have an interest in wildlife and conservation. I constantly get asked whether I get bored doing the same trips time after time. I don’t. The long drives in between places are sometimes a bore but usually we have first time visitors to South Africa so they are interested in the surrounds. The venues may be the same, and the food the same, but you never know what you will see. Game viewing is unpredictable but after a while you learn which areas are NORMALLY good for which animals.
2013-08-01_0002.jpgWhen I was bird guiding my greatest pleasure was showing people new birds – it invigorated me. My current job is a bit different as everything the students see is new so the ‘pleasure’ factor gets diluted somewhat. It is still great, don’t get me wrong, especially when it is something ‘special’ like a huge elephant right next to you – but, the greatest part is listening to the comments after the ‘encounter’.


Below is a quote from Matt Cowell, a freelance guide for African Insight who sums up why we guide pretty well!I guide with the hope that my guests’ time in Africa will enrich their lives forever”.

Essentially then I suppose that we guide because we enjoy people, like to share our knowledge about nature, love being out in the bush and being in a position to teach and convey a conservation message, even if it’s a small one, and finally to learn from our guests.

Nigel Anderson
Guide for African Insight


Photographs: Nigel Anderson

About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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