Field Guide

Through The Eyes Of An NJ More Field Guide Student.

The time I spent at NJ More Field Guide College was amazing. We got to see and learn a lot of interesting things out here in the bush and learn from the best trainer and mentor, Phillip Wessels.

I had the privilege of getting a placement at Marataba Safari Lodge with some of my great friends from the course. It has been an experience of a lifetime.

The mentorship and guidance from the senior guides are priceless. The work we do together has made me realise the importance of guiding alongside a good team and how important it is to be in sync with the others to be able to successfully guide and track wildlife. I have also learned that all of the departments are essential to the lodge’s success and have a lot of respect for seeing how everyone comes together to deliver the best guest experience possible.

As part of my placement, a large part of my time is spent out in the bush observing and helping in areas that I would be doing here as a guide. For example, I do the set up for the Miss Mara boat safari and then join the guides on the boat trips. During these rides, we often see wildlife from the river so it is a very enjoyable way to spend a morning or afternoon.

During our placement, we have also had the opportunity to guide guests. This has been one of the most interesting and valuable parts of our placement because, at the end of the day, this is what we are here to do.

I can honestly say that no time was wasted when I chose to go to NJ More.

Field Guide

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NJ MORE Field Guide College student Jasmin Stäheli managed to capture this beautiful picture of two hippos surfacing at Fish Eagle Dam at just the right moment.

The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa
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You'll often see Kudu out on the reserve, but it's always a special treat when a Gemsbok makes an appearance, as it is one of the rarer antelope species we see at Marataba

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Enjoy the freedom of the bush and gain invaluable knowledge of the natural world with our 60-Day Apprentice Field Guide Course. We're offering 20% off our July intake to the first 4 people who apply, so book your spot now! T&Cs apply. The course starts on the 10th of July.
Email francois@more.co.za to make a booking.

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Nothing quite compares to an orange-hued African sunset...

📸 : Field Guide Student Jasmin Stäheli

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A letter to the editor of the Sunday Times ZA, by Robert More.

"There is a limit. A limit to how long businesses that have had no revenue and people who have had no income for 80 days of lockdown can survive.

That statement, made by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announcing adjustments to the Level 3 lockdown, brought a small, but short-lived sigh of relief from the Tourism Sector; hope that sense would prevail and amended regulations would pave the way for a meaningful reopening so that businesses and jobs could be saved.

This pandemic, which has seen a global health and economic crisis of ever-increasing proportion, has hit Tourism especially hard. One of the first economic sectors, and certainly the one earmarked for reopening last, the Tourism Sector was affected long before the 27 March lockdown date was announced.

Feeling that pain with us have been the communities, associated sectors and informal businesses who rely on an active Tourism Sector for their livelihoods.

At present, the Level 3 regulations allow hotels, lodges, B&Bs, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses to host business travellers and remaining tourists, as well as provide accommodation for quarantine and isolation purposes. Travel for leisure purposes has not been allowed explicitly, whether that is across provincial borders or not.

On paper, the accommodation sector seems open, albeit for certain categories of guests only. In reality, many accommodation establishments only serve leisure markets, or a mix of leisure and business. Their survival depends on leisure tourism reopening, and while the gradual reopening of domestic business travel, including inter-provincial business travel, is welcome, it alone will not sustain the thousands of small and large accommodation providers whose businesses are inextricably linked to leisure tourism.

Statistics South Africa indicates that as much as 90% of the domestic accommodation market is leisure, and that 60% of all domestic overnight trips are across provincial borders – in the case of Gauteng, that percentage is higher, 70%. Many accommodation businesses in surrounding provinces rely entirely on Gauteng’s outbound domestic leisure business.

We have seen extraordinary inconsistencies in the gradual reopening of South Africa’s economy. The welcome further relaxing of restrictions on accommodation establishments, as announced by President Ramaphosa, will be well and truly meaningless – yet another inconsistency – if domestic leisure tourists are still barred from travelling, inter-provincial travel remains in lockdown and businesses are unable to trade due to lack of demand.

Travel is happening. Whether it is across provincial borders for business, for study, for funerals or to care for vulnerable family members. These travellers can travel safely because of the stringent health and safety protocols that have been put in place by the tourism and hospitality sector to curb the spread of the pandemic, for all travel. And if these can travel safely, why can’t leisure travellers?

We remain hopeful that, as our regulations are being drafted, our pledge to safeguard our guests and staff through these robust health and safety protocols and the nature of how our Tourism Sector operates will ensure the President’s encouraging announcement will result in the meaningful easing our industry needs right now to survive.

Yours in Tourism,
Robert More
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