September 2021

Our Guide & Tracker teams connect guests with the wild

in People of Singita

Our Guide & Tracker teams connect guests with the wild

Beyond the astounding beauty of the African bush and the remote locations of Singita’s lodges and camps, it’s the warmth and passion of the people behind this singular brand who transform every personalised safari into a life-changing experience. Seamlessly achieving the holy grail of intuitive, luxury travel, they ensure that every guest experience is meaningful and informative, inspiring and restorative. 

Forming the heartbeat of every safari, twice-daily game drives and guided bush walks allow guests a multitude of opportunities to discover and explore the wildlife and wilderness of each iconic location. At all of Sigita’s destinations, a dedicated Field Guide allocated to guests for the duration of their stay ensures a personalised safari that seamlessly takes their interests and preferences into account, and at our South African and Zimbabwean lodges, they benefit from the combined wealth of knowledge and experience offered by dedicated Field Guide and Tracker teams. 

WATCH Field Guide Tovhowani Mudau and Tracker David Maluleke in action

Experts at reading and interpreting the signs, sounds and signals left behind by bird and animal life, Trackers assist and support Field Guides, resulting in richly layered wildlife encounters while the secrets of the bush beautifully unfold. Offering complementary skills and working alongside each other with congenial ease, their partnerships are built on sincerity and respect, and it resonates profoundly with guests as they share unforgettable moments in nature.

It all comes down to a relationship that grows naturally, and transcends a traditional approach to dedicated roles. In the words of Coman Mnisi, Field Guide at Singita Kruger National Park: “Guides and trackers need to get along, but more importantly, they need to trust one another.” 

Tracker Musa Mayindi and Field Guide Coman Mnisi share a deep-seated passion for the bush, and for protecting the precious wilderness areas we share

Complementary roles 

While dedicated roles exist, these dynamic partnerships evolve according to each individual’s strengths. Traditionally though, Field Guide are more guest-facing, and they foster relationships with guests while steering the direction of safaris and ensuring the safety of each group. 

Trackers play a crucial supporting role as they help Field Guides to achieve rewarding experiences. Because they usually have had longer histories in specific wilderness areas – and often longer careers too – their considerable wildlife experience makes for even more meaningful connections with nature. The synergy is invaluable: a Field Guide can, for example, discuss physical features relating to the age of a lion, while the Tracker might well have exact knowledge of the history of the lion or pride in question. 

Musa Mayindi, who has been with Singita Sabi Sand for five years, and a Tracker for 20, describes the nuances. “Trackers need to be able to identify tracks, locate animals guests would like to see, and judge the distance and direction of animals when they vocalise – as well as the age and freshness of tracks. They also need intuition, the ability to think like the animal, and patience, focus and persistence. Guides, on the other hand, need good interpersonal, communication and interpretive skills. And they should be good storytellers,” he says. 

Complementary skills and mutual respect form the basis of the relationship between a Field Guide and Tracker - here Sydwell Mgiba and Damin Dallas - and elevate the guest experience of the wild

Passion & purpose

Apart from their respective technical skills and qualifications, good Field Guides and Trackers require certain fundamental character traits. These include being ‘humble, patient, focused, willing to learn and calm under pressure’, according to Monika Malewski, a Field Guide at Singita Kruger National Park – adding that the ability to multitask and a good sense of humour are also key. 

According to Singita Kruger National Park Field Guide Tovhowani Mudau, whose teammate of the last year and a half has been Tracker David Maluleke, passion is the most important quality. “A passionate Tracker or Guide will respect their environment – and all the plants and animals in it.“ She also says that they’ll truly engage when they speak about the things they love. 

Field Guide Tovhowani Mudau has worked with Tracker David Maluleke for the last year and a half and is constantly inspired by his incredible skill

Ever-strengthening bonds 

As with any relationship, longevity strengthens its effectiveness. At Singita Kruger National Park, the longest-standing current partnership is that of Tracker Glass Marimane and Head Guide Chantelle Venter. They’ve worked as a team for six years, but have known each other since they both started their careers at neighbouring lodges some 25 years ago. 

When so much time is spent together, strong bonds are formed. “We trust each other, learn from each other, share with each other,” says Musa. Tovhowani is equally inspired by her partner’s expertise: “David is passionate about his work and watching him track an animal from just seeing a single toe print in the grass is like watching an artist begin their work on a blank canvas."

To meet our guiding and tracking teams, click here >

Game drives and guided bush walks give guests the opportunity to discover the wilderness and the knowledge and expertise of our Field Guides and Trackers is instrumental in creating an unforgettable experience



Julia Freemantle
By Julia Freemantle

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