Life as a Game Ranger
For most people going on Safari it means doing a Game Drive or Bush-walk with their Game Ranger.
The word “Game Ranger” is often used incorrectly. A Game Ranger more correctly is a person that works very hands on in the environment doing either game capture, game counts, anti-poaching or environmental analysis and has very little to do with tourists.
A Field Guide on the other hand is more involved in the Tourism Industry. To be a Field Guide is an awesome, but it isn’t as glitzy and glamorous as everyone else thinks. You get to drive a 4x4 in the wild in pursuit of the “Big 5”, and what really makes it cool is you get to walk around with a big-ass rifle while looking for dangerous game like Lion and Elephant. You’re a “Hero” in your guests’ eyes.This is all great but there are a few cons that go along with this all.
During the Summer time you need to wake up very early (4:30) to go game drive, not so cool if you’re not a morning person.
At most Lodges you host your guests at dinner. You go to bed when all the guests have gone to bed. Some guests won’t go on the early morning drive and instead party the night away, so you join the party and then do the Game drive the next morning.
The telephone is the worst invention ever. At 1 o’clock in the morning you get a phone call from one of the guests: “There’s a frog in our bathroom”. So you get up, get dressed then go remove the killer frog from their bathroom.
At 2 o’clock in the morning, next phone call, “Can we have some more milk in our mini bar please” or “What time is the wake-up call tomorrow?”
You are a Jack of all trades. You’re a plumber specializing in fixing broken or blocked toilets. You fix air-conditioners or at least try to. You learn how to work quite well with a spade when you repair the dirt roads in the reserve. You’re a Barman and a waiter and sometimes the housekeeper. Last but not least, you’re also a receptionist.
So there’s a lot to do as a Field Guide other than Game Drives and Bush-walks. But at the end of the day the pros by far out-weigh the cons and to me if you love the wild, it’s the best career ever.
Posted by David Meisel