Below is a piece written by a good friend of mine and South African Ranger, Calvin DuPlessis. He lives and works in South Africa and is very passionate about the nature and wildlife of the country.
‘I was born in South Africa and grew up in Pretoria (the capital). For some ignorant people, they may think that wild animals are found around the whole of South Africa including all the big cities but that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Real Africa is found in what we local people call ‘the bush’. These are the protected wilderness areas where all those extraordinary antelopes that one hears of occur, the majestic giraffe wonders from Acacia Tree to Acacia Tree, your prehistoric rhino grazes through the open plains, the large breeding herds of elephants move from one water hole to the next feeding constantly and your king of all beasts, the lion, roars to proclaim his territory. These are but a few of the mighty and unique animals that make up Africa.
My job as a ranger is to take visitors from all parts of the world to come and experience what we are so privileged to see and have in our land. This usually consists of morning and afternoon game drives in open vehicles and guided bush walks. During the safaris I always try and remind the guests that this is no zoo, and to always go out there with and open mind as no two days are ever the same.
I suppose that’s why so many people do what I do as it’s not a routine job and you really get the chance to ‘experience Africa”.
I haven’t yet had the chance to go out and visit Calvin in ‘the bush’, but I look forward to the day I will… because when he describes it, it really does sound truley magical. It’s amazing how two people that were once living in the same ‘world’ (being London!), can now be, what seems like, a universe apart.
Best of luck to Calvin in his career as a Game Park Ranger.