Kaizer Malapane has long since been a part of the EP family. Firstly, years ago as a Tracker, and since 2020 a part of our Ranger team. Anyone who has come across Kaiz, would know that he is one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. With his impeccable manners, he was always willing to lend a hand. His knowledge of the bush also astonished many guests during game drives. Therefore, it’s always quite sad to bid such a unique individual farewell. This Wednesday blogpost is dedicated to Kaizer Malapane.
During a guide’s lifetime, we often meet some amazing people, with whom we get the opportunity to do life with. These people are not only co-workers. They become the people you live with, share with, and see every single day, for up to 64 days at a time. They become part of your life, your everyday family. It is so special to sit around a fire after work, laughing and sharing our days, but also sometimes having serious conversations about life. I really enjoyed getting to know Kaizer when I joined the EP team.
As often as we get to say hello and welcome to a newly appointed guide, we also sometimes have to say goodbye to another fellow guide. Kaizer re-joined the EP team on the 1st of December 2020. Suffice to say, once again he just fitted right in. I had the opportunity to sit down and ask Kaizer a few questions about his time at Elephant Plains Game Lodge.
Q: How did it feel when you first came to Elephant Plains?
A: It felt like I was home.
Q: What was one sighting that really stood out for you?
A: One sighting that really stood out and that I will never forget was when two wild dogs made a kill and Tiyani’s cub snuck in and stole a piece of the kill. She took it up a tree and just after that, three hyenas came along and stole the kill from the cub. Getting to see three different predator species, interacting in that way, was incredible and something I have never seen before. I will never forget that moment.
Q: What was one sighting that made you sad?
A: One sighting that really made me sad was watching a female lion kill a wild dog. Seeing something like that is never nice, but at the end of the day nature can be very brutal and sad at times.
Q: Which leopard was your favourite and why?
A: Hosanna. He was a very easy leopard to track, because his territory wasn’t so big, and he was a very famous leopard in the Sabi Sand. Everyone loved him. Hosanna will always be on my mind.
Q: What was one life lesson you learnt here at Elephant Plains?
A: One lesson I learnt here at Elephants Plains was that working as a team isn’t just about being part of the guiding team. All the staff at the lodge are part of the same team and no staff member is worth any more or any less than the next one. We are all equal and if we don’t work as a team, we will not be successful. We are not only a team, but also a family.
Q: Name one staff member here at Elephant Plains that has always made you smile?
A: Lucas! Lucas (the bartender) is always very friendly and never says no to helping someone when they’re in need of help. He is always on top of drink orders, he’s always happy and never says no to anyone.
Q: What will be the hardest thing to say goodbye to?
A: The hardest thing to say goodbye to will be the family I have made here at Elephant Plains. It is never easy saying goodbye to the people you work and live with as a team.
Q: What does the future hold for you?
A: Right now I am working on my Level 3 FGASA qualification. Once I have completed that, I would like to become as successful as possible during my guiding career. In the future I would also love to be a mentor to young, future guides. Hopefully one day I will become a FGASA Instructor myself. This would allow me to help young students become the best possible guides they could be and to teach them everything I’ve learnt over my 16 plus years of guiding. Who knows? Maybe I can also work my way up into a management role one day.
Working alongside Kaizer for a time, has been an amazing experience for me. I am grateful that I got to work alongside a man, who was not just always friendly, but also very helpful at any time of the day. No matter what. I am sure that anyone who gets to work alongside Kaizer in the future, will share my same sentiment. It is certain that Kaizer will become a great mentor one day!
Good teammates never say goodbye, but simply, see you soon!
Keep an eye out for our weekly blog posts. We have insightful and interesting topics to keep you busy, while planning your next safari adventure! Hope to see you out on game drive soon!