Louis Van Wyk Liversage ■
■ Thomas Elvis Ubisi
I was born on the 28th of March
1988 in my hometown Ladysmith, where my family
still lives. I completed Grade 12 at Ladysmith
High School in 2006. Since I was little, I
wanted to be a ranger. We had a holiday house
just outside the Kruger National Park and we
spent every school holiday visiting the park.
This is where I fell in love with the bush and
the animals. I did my FGASA (Field Guide
Association of SA) qualification at Bush Academy
in Thabazimbi during 2007. After completing the
course I worked on a hunting farm in the
Ellisras area where I also did my PH course.
I started working at Elephant Plains Game
Lodge on the 16th of February 2008. I was
not yet 21 and could not take guests out on game
drives because I did not have my PDP (public
drive permit). During this time I worked on the
web cam, did general maintenance and spent time
learning the inns and outs of the game lodge
industry. I went on game drives and bush walks
with the qualified guides and in this way picked
up on invaluable experience.
When I turned 21 I did my PDP. I still worked as
a general lodge assistant at Elephant Plains.
Later that year Chitwa Chitwa Game Lodge needed
a temporary guide and I helped them out for
about two weeks. This was a great experience as
I realised that I really needed to be out in the
bush fulltime. Not long after that a ranger’s
position opened up at Elephant Plains. I
was on leave when Etienne and Marlet phoned and
offered me the position.
That was the happiest day of my life!
Favourite Animal : Pangolin
I was born on the 27th of February 1973 at Lillydale Village in Mpumalanga Province. I started my first school day at the age of 7, attending Rhandzekile Primary school.
I matriculated at Hlomani Secondary School. My first place of employment was in 1998 at Honeyguide Tented Safari Lodge, where I was training and gaining experience to become a tracker. I have worked at several different lodges and game reserves since then, all in the Lowveld area. These include Impodime Game Lodge, Marukuma, Kapama Southern Camp and Madikwe Safari Lodge.
Now I am working at Elephant Plains Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. I enjoy my work and have a passion for animals and their movements and behavior.
Favourite Animal : Giraffe
Jonathan Vogel ■
■ Vusi Nkosi
I was born on 29 July 1988 in the North West Province, close to my home town called Mooinooi. I completed my senior year in 2006 at Wagpos High School. After my senior year at school I worked at various places to save up money to pay for my course in field guiding. In 2008 I went to Limpopo Field Guide Academy in the Waterberg region to study and gain some qualifications in my lifelong passion.
During the training I completed my FGASA field guide level 1 qualification, as well as advanced rifle handling. After my training I was offered a guiding position at Mabula Game Reserve in the Waterberg region. I worked there for two years and wanted to experience a different region. I worked at Pilanesberg National Park just short of two years. And again in an urge to see a new area, I went to Madikwe Game Reserve close to the Botswana border, where I spent 6 months working as a guide. Close to the end of 2013 I moved to the Lowveld where I worked as a guide in a reserve very close to Hoedspruit called Moditlo Game Reserve.
It has been a lifelong dream to work in one of the best game reserves in the country. I applied for a guiding position at Elephant Plains Game lodge, what a wild place! It is an extreme privilege to be here. This reserve serves as a great area to see animals as well as birding, which is one of my passions. I love fishing, camping and being in nature.
Animal : African Wild Dog
I was born on the 24th of November 1982 in Nelspruit and grew up in a village called Luphisi. I attended Lepesi Primary School and matriculated during 2002 at S’Dungeni Secondary School. I got interested in the bush at the age of 12 because one of the lodges close to the village where I grew up used to bring their guests for cultural village trips. I was also looking after my grandparents’ cows and during this time I found a lot of different birds making different calls in the veld.
When I matriculated I did not go to any of the institutions, but called the closest lodge to find out if I could get a job as a tracker. They did not have a job available but offered to train me as a barman. I could not let this opportunity go down the drain and started training for 6 months. After my shift, I would take the opportunity to go out with the safari guys and started learning more about tracks and signs that I did not already know from tending to the cows.
I was moved to the safari department after a year of bartending.
Later, at Pinda Mountain Lodge I did some more training and worked for another two years. I then moved to Kapama Game Reserve in August 2010. I worked very hard as the terrain differed from what I was used to. I easily adapted and was fortunate enough to be evaluated by Collins Patrick, according to the standard set by Louis Liebenberg in The Art of Tracking. I received Level lll for all the certificates including Trailing, Tracks & Signs and Tracking. I also did my Firearm Competency, Theta and First Aid.
The time for a new challenge came and I joined Elephant Plains Game Lodge during September 2013.
Favourite Animal : Elephant
Derrick Munyuku Mthabini ■
■ Morné Pierre Fouché
I was born on the 2nd of February 1970 in Acornhoek. I attended Shiviti Primary School and Munghena High School.
I worked at Ngala as a tracker for 11 years. I also worked at Kwamadwala Game Lodge, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and Kapama for six years in total. That gives me a total of 17 years’ experience as a tracker.
I started working at Elephant Plains Game Lodge on the 28th of September 2011 and I am looking forward to finding many animals here.
Favourite Animal : Leopard
I was born on the 1st of February
1983 in a very small town, in the Free State
province, called Bothaville. I started primary
school in January 1990 at Eben Dönges Primary
School and also completed my Grade 12 in
Bothaville High School. I grew up on a farm
with wide open spaces to play and a big river to
go fishing and swimming whenever I wanted to.
After high school I went to Naboomspruit in the
Limpopo Province and completed my Field Guide
course at Inkwazi. Once finished, I started
working at Kapama Private Game Reserve in
Hoedspruit. It was really unbelievable to
finally work in the bush and I was aiming on
getting all the experience I possibly could.
I worked at Kapama as a guide for about 3 years
and then came to Elephant Plains in
December 2006. I have been here ever since and
still enjoying every day’s new, exciting and
sometimes, unexpected happenings in the bush.
Favourite Animal : Elephant
Thully Mahanuke ■
■ Dawie Jacobs
I grew up in a village called Seville, not far from the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. I went to school at Munyamona Primary School and completed Grade 12 at Dayimani High School in 2002. I am 29 years old.
I learned a lot about tracking from my father. He worked as a senior tracker and also trained a lot of other trackers. I am well qualified to work in the bush. I have worked in a few different lodges before starting at Elephant Plains. These included Thornybush Game Reserve as well as Kapama Karula Lodge.
My purpose to work in the bush is to share the experience with people. I enjoy my work as I love nature.
Favourite Animal : Giraffe
I was born on the 24th of July 1991 in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng. I went to school in Meyerton, which is also my hometown. I completed grade 12 in 2009 at Hoërskool Dr. Malan. As a kid my family and I spent a lot of time outdoors. I love photography and there’s no better place to practice it than out in the bush. I’ve always enjoyed spending time in the bush, but never as a kid did I think that I would be a guide.
Late 2009 I made a spontaneous decision not to study engineering, as planned, but rather to do a guiding course. What a great decision.
In January 2010 I started a field guide training course at EcoTraining. During my training I got placed at Elephant Plains Game Lodge to do my practical.
After completing my 6 months practical at the lodge I got offered a permanent position as a junior ranger. I’ve permanently been working at Elephant Plains since June 2010 and during this time I gained much needed knowledge and experience in the tourism industry. In 2011 I turned 21 and was able to do my PDP and soon after I could start with game drives. I helped out whenever one of our permanent guides were sick or took extra days off. In the beginning of March 2013 I got offered a full guiding position at the lodge. What a privilege! I have been enjoying every moment since I started.
Favourite Animal : Cheetah