It’s not just about the Big Five

It’s not just about the Big Five

BY: Nico Brits

This blog was written by Nico, one of our trainers. Here, Nico shares his experiences with guests, and why it’s important that field guides point out finer details in the bush.

It can feel like a lot of pressure, having to deliver on all of your guest’s expectations as a field guide. More often than not, when guests are asked what they would like to see, they’ll say “the Big Five”. This can be a big ask, since they aren’t all located at one spot in the reserve!

 

Bushwise students learning to become great field guides.

This image was taken pre-COVID-19. 

 

As guides, we do everything in our power to deliver on guests’ expectations. We can get so focused on finding the Big Five that we drive past a lot of the smaller things that make it possible for these sought-after animals to survive. 

We are very quick to race out of the lodge in the mornings, on our first game drives for the day, to see if we can tick all the boxes for a perfect guided experience as quickly as possible. And yes, for guests that visit Africa for the first time, seeing the Big Five on a morning drive is great, but the experience is so much more incredible when guides take the time to show guests how everything is connected.

 

As a field guide, you can create an unforgettable experience for your guests.

Photo by: Ben Klunder

 

Creating an unforgettable experience is what we should be trying to achieve. Watching two vervet monkeys playing in a tree can be more memorable than two lions sleeping in the shade. 

That’s why, a good tip for any guide when leading a tour, is to spend some time driving around, pointing out details that might be easy for your guests to overlook. 

For example, mention elephant-feeding signs, or trees that have been pushed over by elephants. Then, when you eventually see the incredible giants during your tour, they could be feeding on the same species of tree that you pointed out. This goes a long way to enhance your guests’ experience.

 

An elephant eating leaves from a tree.

Photo by: Ben Klunder

 

As guides and guests alike, we can get lost in the hype of the Big Five and miss other amazing interactions taking place around us. 

But when you slow things down, you start to appreciate the finer details. Something as small as termites fixing their mound, after it was broken up by an aardvark, can create a memorable moment. 

Ready to become a field guide? Head to the Bushwise website to see what our courses have to offer.