Rassie Jacobs, Kapama River Lodge ranger, believes that choosing to be a ranger as a profession is not just about driving around and showing guests South Africa’s wildlife, but rather more about providing a fun filled, exciting and educational experience.
Kapama welcomes guests from all over the world with different cultures and languages, because of this, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the South African bushveld to guests with a language barrier. It is therefore very important for a guide to use different forms of communication – from talking English to drawing pictures in the sand. For Rassie being a guide is a calling: “Many may see the footprint. Some may identify it. But for a select few it is an amazing story with a past, a present and a future. A ranger is not just a person with a weapon walking in the African bushveld. We as guides don’t only see a tree, animal or a mark in the sand…we see a story unfolding.”
On a game drive, guests may see a beautiful Marula tree, but their guides may well be thinking:
– How old is this tree?
– How many elephants have eaten the fruit from this tree?
– How many leopards have used this tree as a resting place?
– How many sunsets and sunrises have passed over this tree?
– How many insects, snakes, and birds or even ants and termites have called this tree home?
Rassie believes a ranger is a special kind of person. One with honour, compassion and knowledge gained over time through mentoring and experience gained. A humble and brave custodian of Africa’s last wild places.
For Kapama their guides are the link between nature and the guests. A guide needs to know what the little flower is on the side of the road to why the rhino’s tail curls up. It is this passion for their craft which Kapama rangers have, which ensures incredible animal sightings for our guests. Kapama is very fortunate to have many dedicated rangers who continue to share their knowledge and experience with guests who visit Kapama. What the rangers do is not a job and has no job title attached to it. It is a passion and a fire within all of them. They strive to give every guest that climbs on board our vehicle, memories and stories that will last a lifetime.
Written by: Rassie Jacobs
Kapama River Lodge