Senior Field Guide and Mentor Guide at Lion Sands Game Reserve Tovhowani (Tovhi) Mudau is an NJ MORE Field Guide College graduate.
Here she tells us more about her time at Lion Sands, as well as what her first few weeks as an NJ MORE placement were like.
“My time at Lion Sands Game Reserve has been an amazing journey.
I arrived at Lion Sands from NJ MORE Field Guide College, where the instructors had transformed a city girl with little knowledge of the bush, into a nature guide able to take long walks in a Big 5 reserve without the constant fear of being eaten alive!
Having come from the college, and moving on to the more practical aspect of guiding and guest interactions, I believed I had reached the end of my “learning” journey, which was far from the truth. What I have learnt and love about this industry is that even if you dedicate a lifetime to studying nature, there are still aspects of it you can still discover.
In my first week at Lion Sands, a fellow NJ MORE student and I were assigned our own mentors to help us transition from qualified students to phenomenal guides. The mentors are senior guides at the lodge with years of experience, who took us under their wings.
Some activities that myself and my mentor took part in were walks where I learnt more about the trees in the Lowveld area, game drives, and some beginner birding, as well as how to be my own support and guidance structure.
At the beginning of our placement we spent a few weeks being introduced the lodge environment, which saw us working alongside chefs, receptionists, butlers, laundry ladies, barmen, the maintenance team, the ecologist and housekeeping.
This proved to be an essential part of our stay because we got to view the reserve holistically, and we were able to see how all the different parts of this well-oiled machine worked cohesively to reach their objectives.
We were then inducted into the field, where we began going on drives with the other guides, hosting guests, backing up on walks and tracking with the amazing trackers.
Being out in the field has taught me various guiding techniques, like how to practically manage, and try to exceed, guest expectations throughout their whole stay, as well as learning the history and culture of this guiding area.
My time here has and continues to be such an incredible experience, working alongside talented guides who always offer their time to share knowledge and offer guidance.”