Get ready for an extraordinary event! The Safari Guide of the Year (SGOTY) celebration is the most anticipated gathering in the safari guiding and ecotourism industries. It puts 5 of Africa’s best rangers to the test, seeing how well they track down dangerous animals, identify birds, and tell their wildest stories.
It all began in 2011. Mike Karantonis approached the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) with an amazing idea. He suggested hosting a competition to recognize and celebrate the remarkable field guides across southern Africa.
The Safari Guide of the Year competition pays tribute to the hard work, sacrifice, training, skill development, knowledge, and expertise that field guides in southern Africa possess. They go above and beyond to provide ethical, immersive, engaging, and informative safari experiences to guests from around the world. Being a field guide is more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle. It requires passion, commitment, and a deep connection to the natural world, as well as exceptional hosting, hospitality, and professionalism.
The Safari Guide of the Year Competition
We are thrilled to announce that Latest Sightings will be sponsoring this year’s event! None other than Nadav Ossendryver, the founder of LatestSightings.com, will be heading to the event to document it to the community. Prepare to be amazed by his incredible insights and experience in the world of wildlife.
He will be sharing stories, posts, and daily updates on what is happening at the event. So remember to keep a close eye on our various social media accounts to be sure not to miss a minute.
For a long time, people underestimated field guiding as a “real” career path. The realm of post-school education undervalues the skills, qualifications, and knowledge required to become a guide. Many viewed field guiding as a fallback option or a temporary gig while deciding on a “proper” job. However, SGOTY has been challenging this misconception by celebrating guides who have achieved remarkable success in their careers. These guides have pushed the boundaries of their theoretical knowledge, and honed their practical skills through years of experience in the wild.
The event is a thrilling competition that brings together the top five guides from across southern Africa. They are made to compete in a series of safari-related challenges throughout the week. These extraordinary guides need to impress a panel of highly experienced and knowledgeable judges. The judges will then determine the well-deserved winner of the prestigious title of Safari Guide of the Year. Prepare for a week filled with excitement, camaraderie, and thrilling adventures. Guides and guests from all over the world will gather to witness and participate in the eight captivating events that will determine this year’s SGOTY.
These events have been carefully selected to test the top five finalists on a variety of skills. This includes game drives, bushwalks, guided photographic experiences, bird identification and sounds, tracking and signs, advanced rifle handling, storytelling, and hosting and hospitality. It’s the ultimate showcase of their expertise and abilities.
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This year, we have the privilege of having Kapama Private Game Reserve as our host sponsor. Kapama is a luxurious five-star safari destination nestled in the Greater Kruger area. It is home to Africa’s iconic animals, including the majestic Big Five, wild dogs, cheetahs, and many more. The finalists and guests are in for a week of awe-inspiring adventures, unforgettable wildlife sightings, and world-class hospitality at Kapama’s exclusive River Lodge.
We delightfully introduce the exceptionally talented and dedicated finalists for this year’s competition:
Kimberlee le Hanie
Kimberlee le Hanie from the Lion Sands Game Reserve, part of the prestigious MORE Family Collection. She shares, “It’s a chance for like-minded people passionate about the bush to showcase our skills, recognize each other’s dedication, and grow together.”
Pioneer Moyo, a trainer and assessor at Bushwise Field Guides. He emphasizes the importance of the competition in encouraging newly qualified guides to continuously develop and achieve higher qualifications throughout their careers.
Jan Dykema, representing the Eastern Cape and currently guiding at Shamwari Private Game Reserve. He says “I value the opportunity to connect with guides who share the same love for the bush.” He believes the event is a platform to showcase skills, learn from one another, and foster personal growth.
Warren Deyzel, from Imbali Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park, recognizes the competition’s role in dispelling the notion that guiding is merely a hobby. It highlights the knowledge and skills attained through the esteemed FGASA qualifications, presenting guiding as a professional career choice.
Ruan Coetzee, from the host sponsor, Kapama Private Game Reserve, expresses his privilege in being part of this prestigious competition and working alongside influential individuals in the industry. He aims to inspire others, help them reach their goals, and unlock their motivation.
Each finalist has shown unwavering passion and dedication to their field guiding careers. They have achieved remarkable success and earned respect within the industry. This year’s competition promises to be fierce as these exceptional guides bring their unique strengths and characteristics to the event. Let the games begin, and may the best guide win!
To stay updated with all the thrilling SGOTY action, be sure to follow us on social media! Check out the Latest Sightings Instagram account and Facebook page. Interact live, ask questions, post comments, and be part of an epic week filled with fun and camaraderie!