Born and raised in the City of Johannesburg, my heart has always been set on getting away from the city-life hustle and move to the bushveld. In 2014 I completed my training in the Eastern Cape under some incredible mentorship. I started my guiding career in the Pongola Game Reserve in Kwazulu-Natal, situated along the banks of Lake Jozini. Here I did both land and water-based activities. After a few years I decided to move on and complete my Trails Guide qualification in the Lowveld. I immediately fell in love with the Lowveld and started working in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve. Almost 3 years later, I know find myself in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which is a dream for so many guides. I am fortunate to work alongside an amazing team and continue to learn something new every day. I love sharing my knowledge with our guests, as well as learning about their countries and different cultures. I look forward to introducing you to this little piece of heaven, called Elephant Plains.
From a young age, I was fascinated by the amazing diversity of African animals and my first book as a child was a picture book of all the different African animals. I used to leave through it daily. My parents also used to take our family to different National Parks around the country for camping each year. I grew up mainly in a small Karoo town called Oudtshoorn. Although the Karoo brings a lot of tranquillity to the soul, it lacks big game and excitement. Therefore, I decided to do a course at a training facility in the Eastern Cape called Ulovane, in order to get more exposure to the Big 5. My first guiding job was also in the Eastern Cape, at Amakhala Game Reserve, where I started fulfilling my dream of being a guide. Currently, I find myself in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, which is the ultimate safari experience for both guests and guides. I enjoy connecting people with nature, whilst providing an overall informative conservation experience. My hope is to change people’s mindsets, regarding how we treat our planet. I want to teach them that we need to protect the remaining Wilderness areas that we have left, in order to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. I would love to welcome you to Elephant Plains and to not only share my knowledge but also my passion with future guests.
I grew up in Allandale trust, a village near Thulamahashe. That’s where I passed Matric in 1998. I ended up working in the Timbavati Game Reserve, where my parents used to work. My dream was to start guiding guests. I decided to undergo training at Eco training and received my FGASA Level 1 during 2003. I worked as a tracker at Elephant Plains from 2004 to 2006. Thereafter I also worked at Kapama and Madikwe. I did my lead Trails Guide during 2012. While working at Madikwe Game Reserve during 2017, I completed my FGASA Level 2 studies on my own. I enjoy being back at Elephant Plains, as part of this amazing team.
Niël van Deventer
I was born on 12 October and raised in a small town in Mpumalanga called, Piet Retief.
I was only 12 years of age when I did my first bushwalk in a reserve called Shlani, in Swaziland. It was during this vacation with my family when I was standing only 10 meters away from 3 white Rhinos, that I immediately fell in love with the bush. I knew that I wanted to be a field guide.
After obtaining my qualifications, I started my career at Loebies Predator Park, where I worked for two and a half years, conducting tours and taking care of various predators.
I gained valuable experience, but my heart and soul were still set to work in the Lowveld.
In 2018 I completed my Trails Guide course and was offered a guiding position in the southern part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which has always been a dream. I worked on a small property for two years and gained a lot of knowledge about the bush and its animals.
During 2020 my journey started at Elephant Plains Game Lodge. I’m working alongside an incredible team and looking forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for the bush, wildlife, and conservation with our guests, as well as our staff members.
I grew up in a nearby village called Utah, close to the Gowrie Gate of the Sabi Sand. As a young boy I had the responsibility of herding my father’s cattle, however I spent most of the day playing with my friends and then, before dark, would track the cattle before I went home. While tracking the cattle I would see many tracks of animals and this is where I learnt to track. My father was a tracker at Simbambili Game Lodge and during school holidays I would go visit my dad and he taught me how to identify and follow tracks. I have now been tracking for 5 years, spending the last 2 years at Elephant Plains.
I grew up in a village called Thorndale, close to the Manyeleti Reserve. I spent many hours tracking and following my family’s goats and cows. While out looking after the livestock, I passed the time by learning to identify tracks of small antelope, mongoose and other small mammals. When I first joined Elephant Plains, I was part of the maintenance team, but whenever a tracker was sick or on leave, I filled in as a tracker. About a year later I was promoted to be a tracker and have now been tracking at Elephant Plains for the past 5 years.
Growing up in Utah, I would help my father track his cows after school. He would teach me the differences between male and female tracks, the freshness and how the soil type would affect the tracks. He taught me that all tracks should be treated the same and that the only thing that changes is the animal’s footprint.
I started as a General Worker at Mala Mala in 1999 and was promoted to the position of Tracker in 2000. I gained my tracker certification at the Londolozi Tracker academy, and then continued to work at Mala Mala for a further 12 years.
Following my time at Mala Mala I worked as a tracker in Thornybush with our Head Ranger, Darryn. I am now fortunate enough to work in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, where I can continue to pursue my passion.
I look forward to meeting new guests and teaching them some of what I know about tracking.