May 2021

A passion to preserve Africa’s wildlife: the story of Coman Mnisi

in People of Singita

A passion to preserve Africa’s wildlife: the story of Coman Mnisi

Ever since he fell in love with the bush at a very young age, Coman Mnisi has always known that he wanted to become a Field Guide, and driven by this deep-seated passion, his journey to get there has seen him rising from humble beginnings and weathering numerous challenges along the way.

With his dad, Coleman, being one of the veteran guides at Singita Sabi Sand, Coman practically grew up in the bush and it’s also where he spent many of his school holidays – surrounded by the wildlife and wilderness that’s so close to his heart. But the road ahead was not easy, and he remembers how he had to push himself and work really hard to get the qualifications he needed to get where he is today. 'It was a very long journey for me, from where things started. There were challenges along the way – including financial difficulties. But I tried so hard, and things did work out,' he says.

Driven by a deep and lifelong love of the bush, Coman Mnisi's ambition to become a Field Guide has been realised through hard work

'I can’t see myself doing any other job. Guiding gives me the opportunity to play a role in conservation – and to make sure that our children and grandchildren get to experience the same things that we experienced in our time.' Coman Mnisi

Pursuing his passion

After finishing school, Coman first studied mechanical engineering due to family pressures to follow an alternative career. But since he was born to be a guide, it didn’t resonate with him at all, and almost two years later he found himself drawn back to his true calling. 

Willing to do whatever it took, he says that some of the best advice he’s ever received was that 'a guide who’s been a tracker first is a very skillful guide'. Taking it to heart, he successfully completed a tracking course, worked as a casual tracker and then took up an opportunity to move to Singita’s world-renowned concession in the Kruger National Park. Supported and encouraged by Head Guides Mark Broodryk and Chantelle Venter, he beams as he recalls how it set him on a path that’s seen him come closer to his childhood dream every day. 

Coman's desire to share the love he has for conservation with others informed his goal to become a Field Guide

With an unwavering belief in his abilities, Chantelle recognised his interests, skills and immense potential to thrive, and encouraged him every step of the way. Coman was also one of the first trainees accepted in to Singita’s Guide Mentorship Programme, which was established in 2018 to provide additional support to learner guides.

With limitless passion, a hunger to learn and a heart that’s always belonged in the bush, Coman then turned the considerable odds of the past year into an opportunity to rise through the ranks – focusing on his studies and fast-tracking his training to join Singita’s certified guide team in record time.

Coman was inspired to become a Field Guide by his father Coleman, a veteran guide at Singita Sabi Sand, and his role model

A lifelong commitment to conservation

Dedicated to shifting perspectives within the local communities and educating friends and families on the value of conservation when he visits home, Coman emphasises the benefit for communities to live more sustainable lives, and also highlights how it’s enriched his own life. 

'When I look back at the olden days, before wildlife was protected, we would not have had the opportunity to become guides and meet people from all over the world. It’s our turn now to keep the wilderness protected and make sure that our children – and their children – get to see it as well,' he says. Driven by this calling and a steadfast belief in the ability of Africa’s natural wilderness to flourish and thrive, Coman’s journey may just be beginning, but it’s already an intrinsic part of the Singita story, and the hope, inspiration and passion at the heart of it.  

Our lodges located in the iconic landscape of Singita Kruger National Park offer superb game viewing and once-in-a-lifetime experiences

After recent rains, the lush landscapes of Singita Kruger National Park – where Coman spends his days connecting guests with the magic of the bush – are bursting with life and offer unsurpassed game-viewing opportunities. Here, our two striking lodges immersed in the landscape welcome the wilderness inside. Singita Lebombo Lodge embraces its dramatic cliffside setting with contemporary glass-walled suites that seem to float between river and sky, and Singita Sweni Lodge is a hidden jewel among towering trees on a shaded riverbank. Enquire about a safari to Singita Kruger National Park now >

By Julia Freemantle

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