African Bush Camps Guide Gathering
We held a training workshop, bringing all of our guides together to learn and share together
In order to consistently increase and refresh the knowledge, passion and experiences of our Guiding Teams, African Bush Camps has undertaken an Annual Guides Gathering, bringing together the Professional and Learner Guides from our Portfolio of camps in Botswana and Zimbabwe, to undergo an intensive weeks training course covering a variety of topics relevant to their guiding field, Tourism and Conservation. February 2016 saw the first of our planned annual gatherings, as the full compliment of 20 resident guides across our portfolio came from different corners of Botswana and Zimbabwe to attend the workshop constructed by Nic Polenakis, Brand Ambassador and Head of Guides at African Bush Camps. From 14th – 23rd February, we closed all of our camps and invested in bringing our guiding teams from Khwai Tented Camp and our Linyanti Concession in Botswana, as well as our guiding teams from our camps in Mana Pools National Park to the Somalisa Concession in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now, bring everyone together in one place. The interaction, sharing and learning that is going on is incredibly valuable” – Nic Polenakis, Head of Guide Training
With some of the best guides in the industry hailing from Botswana & Zimbabwe (having the most stringent qualification process of all Southern African countries), and with the essence of African Bush Camps firmly rooted in a passion for guiding (our founder & CEO a qualified professional guide himself), it is no surprise that a huge amount of time, effort and funds are dedicated to ensuring the continuous development and nurturing of our guides. This was the first workshop of its kind, and was aimed at ensuring the highest standards of guiding practices throughout the African Bush Camps Portfolio of properties. Specialist speakers were brought it, including Paul Hubbard a highly renowned guide, lecturer and archaeologist in Zimbabwe, Shaun McMinn a talented wildlife photographer and film-maker, Richard Hoare our very own Conservation Manager, a team from our African Bush Camps Foundation and various other specialists from within African Bush Camps Management.
The days consisted of 5 am early morning wake up calls, with game drives, walking and rifle handling activities being conducted throughout the day. Meal Times were set aside for sharing of area specific knowledge, insights into different aspects of Tourism, Conservation and Guiding, and of course sharing of stories and experiences. The afternoons were dedicated to presentations by specialists, ranging from topics like the history of human existence and the geological history and make-up of sub Saharan Africa by Paul Hubbard, to human/wildlife conflict and the importance of supporting conservation projects in the areas in which we operate in conducted by Richard Hoare, the impact and plan of projects run by The African Bush Camps Foundation, guest expectations and marketing communications before they arrive, as well as photography definitions and techniques by Shaun McMinn. The enthusiasm and dedication from each of the guides was clearly evident, with guides arranging to meet up in their spare time, to discuss the various presentations and days events, and in the evenings to discuss astrology and star gazing. “Tonight Calvet is teaching us about how light travels at 300,000km/second and how it takes 8.3 minutes to reach earth from the sun”, said one of the junior guides, excitedly.
It was the time that the guides got to interact, share and compare notes that was truly valued by all. ‘Its a time for sharing experiences and knowledge, a time for learning’, said Cloud from Kanga Camp Zimbabwe. Another Senior Guide, Peter Gava went on to say, ‘The most powerful part of the training has been that revival of the spirit of being a guide and forming bonds with the rest of the team across the African Bush Camps Portfolio. When you don’t get to meet, and do workshops and training, sometimes you become like a sleeping river … so when people meet, you tend to see quite a lot of potential within different individuals and when you put it together, then it really sparks up a fire. So this kind of training has really rekindled that fire for each and every one of us.”
We are confident that the recent guides training will have outstanding effects on the quality of our guiding in the camps and that at the end of the day, the ultimate benefit will be for our guests and the incredible guided experiences they have across the African Bush Camps Portfolio of Camps.