June 2021

Guided by nature – Evidence Nkuna’s journey

in People of Singita

Guided by nature – Evidence Nkuna’s journey

Radiating his lifelong love for the bush, Evidence Nkuna’s eyes light up when he talks about growing up surrounded by the wilderness – and the joy of a journey that allows him to learn from nature every single day. What’s more, bringing his childhood dream to work in this iconic location – the Kruger National Park – to life has also seen Evidence emerge as an inspiring ambassador for Singita’s 100-year purpose to protect Africa’s wildlife and wilderness for future generations. 

Evidence's love of the bush and desire to become a Field Guide was instilled at a young age, and his hard work and hunger for knowledge ensured he achieved his goals quickly

Growing up on the outskirts of South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park, Evidence and his classmates often enjoyed day trips to the park, where the rangers opened his eyes to the wonders of the wilderness. Inspiring him with their wealth of knowledge – and the freedom to work in nature every day – they planted the seeds for him to follow in their footsteps.

His path to become a qualified guide took Evidence on many twists and turns – including a brief city stint as a student – before starting out as a night and then day porter at Singita Lebombo Lodge. Knowing that these were merely temporary steps in his career, and longing for more interaction with guests, the chance to move to Singita’s airstrip to welcome them on arrival came at just the right time. “I didn’t hesitate to take it!” he says, adding that in between departures and arrivals, he pulled out all the stops to study for his FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) qualifications.

Watch the video to hear how Evidence's desire to teach, and continuously learn, fuels his journey as a Field Guide

Unlocking the doors of opportunity

When months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that Singita’s South African lodges couldn’t welcome guests for some time, it incidentally coincided with a pivotal juncture in Evidence’s training to become a Field Guide. Recognising that amid the considerable challenges of 2020 there were also profound opportunities for those willing to work hard, he jumped at the chance to fast-track the practical requirements for the course.

Chantelle Venter – Head Guide at Singita Kruger National Park – took him under her wing and ensured that he spent more time in the bush, shadowed other trackers and guides, and kept hitting the books until he passed his exams with flying colours. "She was always right behind me,” says Evidence, recounting his reaction when she said he’d need to complete 210 practical hours for his training. “I didn’t know how I’d ever get to that!”

While challenging in many ways, the COVID-forced lockdown allowed Evidence the time to log the many hours needed to meet the requirements of a Field Guide

Making the hours count

Ramping up the hours he spent working in the bush and accumulating hundreds of hours, Evidence significantly increased his hands-on experience, which forms an essential part of the FGASA requirements to become a fully-fledged guide. With only a few more hours required and the necessary theoretical exams already under his belt, this inspiring man is staying true to his calling – and fulfilling his purpose to work in one of the most beautiful and well-protected wilderness areas in the world.

Stepping boldly into this brand-new chapter where it all began as a boyhood dream, he is determined to not only be part of the safekeeping of this vast wilderness, but to also play a vital role in instilling similar values in young hearts and minds. Realising the immense potential to inspire and educate the youth to become part of the solution, Evidence points out: “We can change the minds of the generation that’s growing up now.”

Singita Kruger National Park's dramatic scenery, and magnificent game viewing make it an iconic safari destination

Discover, learn & explore

Singita Kruger National Park is home to two award-winning lodges: Singita Lebombo Lodge, with its dramatic cliffside setting and contemporary glass-walled suites that seem to float between river and sky; and Singita Sweni Lodge, cocooned in the vegetation flanking the riverbank, a hidden jewel among the trees. Offering guests a front-row seat to some of the continent’s most iconic wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes, it’s the ultimate natural sanctuary and springboard for transformative experiences in the bush. Book your safari at Singita Kruger National Park - enquire now >

By Julia Freemantle

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