It's all about the guides, stupid....


Nov 9th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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It's all about the guides, stupid....

This thread features many photographs that may only be viewed by following this link:

In a nutshell, I have determined that the single most important element to a successful safari is having the best possible guides and managing couples.

Also, I mean no bigotry or bias with this statement, but I have found that the guides that have provided me with the best guiding have been white Southern Africans (whether born in Zimbabwe, South Africa or Zambia), as they still have more in common with my wife and I than a local guide from a nearby tribe that has never experienced a similar lifestyle to our own (it seems that most of the white South African guides are well traveled and many have family in Europe).

The only exception to the rule has been a guide at Kulefu, Morad, who has a very outgoing personality (and cockiness), and is royalty (his aunt is the Chief of the Lower Zambezi area, possibly making him feel more on an even level with his guests, rather than subservient to them).

Otherwise, my experience has been that sometimes the black guides act subservient and cannot relate with their guests on many occasions, quickly dismissing themselves from the dinner table, and afraid to joke around with the guests.

Anyway, this is not a matter of racial profiling but rather one of the importance of having a strong rapport with your guides.

For that reason, I have picked an itinerary that was completely foreign to me until this morning, when it finally occurred to me that I need not plan my itinerary around areas that I have not yet visited but rather around areas that I have already visited, with guides that I know and trust.

While I wouldn't hesitate to jump in a canoe again with Morad at Kulefu Tented Camp (he is awesome in a canoe and expertly guided us through walls of hippos), unfortunately the camp is not supported well by Star Of Africa, and therefore, although I will be revisiting the Lower Zambezi, I will switch next time to the lodge shown in the link.

I would have posted the entire post here, but unfortunately this forum does not support photographs and I am not allowed to copy and paste from other sites (a rule that I don't always follow but coupled with the photograph issue, I think this post is best viewed at the link).
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Nov 9th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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(By the way, for the sole purpose of not discriminating against the tracker, it is the policy of my wife and I to tip equal to, or even above, what the guide receives, as opposed to following the guidelines and tipping less. I find that a skilled tracker complements greatly to the safari experience).
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