What makes a top Field Guide!
When a guest is paying top prices for, what he believes will be an unforgettable experience in the bush, the last thing they will want to get is driving around endlessly on game drive with little to no sightings and a boring Field Guide.
- A Field Guide plays a very important role in this experience and they can either make or break the whole adventure!
- Some of the best game drives I have been on has involved no BIG 5 sightings but the guide was so engaging and knowledgeable, offering a wide variety of interesting and unusual facts that they tend leave out of the text books!
What is takes!
- This, one would only gain by a unique way of dealing with people, experience in the field and having a passion for Wildlife! This combination makes for the best Field Guides in the industry.
- Here at Bushwise we try and instill this in each of the students while on the Professional FGASA Field Guide course.
What qualities you need….
Having theory knowledge is one thing but to know how to apply it in the field is quite another. How to read your guests, relate to them and interact with them is a fine skill that cannot always be taught.
- Being a ‘people person’ is definitely a pre-requisite for this job. You will get all kinds of guests from all over the world.
- What they expect is nothing short of learning all they can and seeing everything they see on Animal planet in a few days. They come with high expectations which can easily be brought down to size.
- Top Field Guides need to be versatile and use their initiative and intuition well. They will be expected to host their guests and do various other duties around the lodge.
The little extras….
- Planning your drive for the best viewing times for certain animals is key.
- Many a times have I seen guests on game drives watching sleeping lions in the afternoon or viewing Elephants at night………good luck with that!
- Top Field Guides would rather wait until early evening when they start to wake, groom each other and if males are around no doubt dazzle you with their bone chilling roars before getting on the move for the nights hunt.
The truly amazing experiences count!
Imagine the excitement when the tracker finds leopard tracks and goes on foot with your Field Guide to see where they lead. All the while, leaving the guests on the vehicle to wonder in anticipation of ‘what’s happening’. Getting back to the vehicle and following the tracks off road through the bush, navigating the terrain while at the same time knowing that the leopard could appear at any moment is an experience you wish for. After hours of tracking, finding the leopard is so rewarding and exhilarating that the rest of the game drive seems unimportant.
End results and lasting impressions!
Many guests return to the same lodges over and over again just because of the Field Guide. Getting requested can be a regular occurrence for the best guides and with this comes the added benefit of great tips and amazing guests who make your job that extra bit special. The industry is small, impress your guests and management alike and you will work for the best lodge in the most amazing location and live the life that most can only dream about.