Securing the Best Safari Guides
In all of the regions we work in throughout the world, securing the most inspiring guides is our highest priority. These are the people who will introduce you to the country, the ones who allow you to see the real soul of the place you are visiting. Nowhere is this more important than on safari, where the guides we choose not only inspire you with their vast knowledge and thrilling stories but through their highly-skilled and intricate tracking, can tell you exactly when a leopard was nearby and even communicate with the animals you encounter. Quite simply, the guide makes or breaks a safari, and through Henrietta Loyd’s extensive experience in Africa, we can call the very best guides our friends.
For a truly extraordinary and exclusive experience, we can arrange for a private guide, who will accompany you from the start of your trip to the finish and through a series of countries if you so wish. The incredibly skilled private guides that we work with are rare beasts, who are totally attuned to the wildlife and land you are exploring and will lead you to some extraordinary sights in a safe and secure way. The experience is incredibly personal, as your private guide will learn exactly what you’re interested in seeing and you’ll find a great continuity in your experience, with guides being able to reference wildlife you spoke about days before and put everything you see into fantastic context. There is no way to feel more connected with Africa than exploring it with someone whose life has been dedicated to unlocking the best of the continent.
However, a private guide accompanying you throughout a trip is an expensive luxury. Usually, it is about lining clients up with lodge-based guides. This is why we work predominantly with owner-run lodges and with camps run by seasonal guides. Lodges and camps can look great on a website or in a brochure, however, the culture of great guiding is part of the DNA we look for in building an itinerary that brings a place to life.
Below we have highlighted just three guides, who we have known for years and who embody the qualities we look for when choosing a guide for our clients.
RALPH BOUSFIELD, BOTSWANA
One of our all-time favourite camps, Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi Pans, was set up by Ralph Bousfield, in memory of his crocodile hunter and intrepid safari specialist father, Jack. Over time, Ralph has become quite the safari celebrity, but more important to us is his encyclopaedic knowledge of Africa. We can arrange for Ralph to be your private guide whilst staying at either Jack’s Camp or San Camp and for something even more memorable, if requested far in advance, we can arrange for Ralph to accompany our clients across Africa through a series of countries. Ralph set up Jack’s around the same time that Henrietta Loyd founded cazenove+loyd and we have remained close ever since. We last travelled with Ralph in 2016 and confirm that he still lives up to the hype, providing an unrivalled and extraordinary insight into Botswana and beyond.
ANT KASCHULA, ZIMBABWE
Ant Kaschula is one of the most exciting and accomplished private guides working in Africa right now. Based in Zimbabwe, which is thankfully now firmly back in business, Ant is something of a prodigy, having qualified to be a fully licensed guide in the record time of 18 months. This is particularly impressive given that Zimbabwean guides are among the best in the world, with a strict 5% pass rate. Ant’s traditional mobile-tented camp, Gonarezhou Bush Camp, is an incredible option for those wanting genuine wilderness. He knows exactly where to set up and when and his enthusiasm for the land and creatures is infectious, just wait until you see him communicate with the elephants through a series of clicks and sounds, as journalist Laurie Werner did last year. You will leave knowing you have had one of the most authentic safari experiences possible.
CLIVE STOCKIL, ZIMBABWE
We have chosen two Zimbabwean guides, as due to their rigorous training they are the best in the region and many now work throughout Africa. Legendary conservationist and guide, Clive Stockil founded Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge in Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe’s second largest National Park, which is off the tourist trail and totally unspoilt. Claire, Head of our Africa team, remembers as if yesterday a morning a few years ago spent driving around Clive’s “backyard”, listening to his incredible film-worthy experiences in the ‘land of the elephants’. The work that he has done to help reintroduce and protect animals here is groundbreaking and he won the inaugural Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa in 2013. A true philanthropist, Clive has also set up a programme called Campfire (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) to help the local community, and a highlight of Henrietta Loyd’s 2016 trip to Zimbabwe was watching 12 Shangaan people from the nearby village of Mahenye appear out of the bush and put on a fantastic display of local dance.
There are so many incredible guides in Africa right now and many new ones coming up through the ranks. One of Henrietta Loyd’s favourite guides in recent years has been Jackson Looseyia in Kenya, who enthralled the children on a family trip with stories of his life growing up as a Masai. The children learnt how to work a traditional bow and arrow, met with Jackson’s family and slept in their tents at night surrounded by wildebeest.
We match guides to clients based on their interests, from conservation to birdlife, and with families choose guides according to which are most exciting for children. Others are much more suited to the low-key intimacy of guiding couples. The guiding is one of the most crucial parts of a safari experience, and when travelling with cazenove+loyd we work harder than anyone else to ensure that your guide will be the perfect fit…
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