OUR GUIDES

Leading you through our magnificent wilderness with endless knowledge and passion.

SAMSON GAOPELO

Head Ranger

Sam (Kega) grew up in a small village about an hour and half west of Madikwe Game Reserve. His bush-life inspiration comes from him being raised on a farm and he always wanted to become a guide.

Sam started working at Madikwe Hills in 2004 as a butler. After 8 months he became a tracker, and worked his way up to a guide in 2006. He was promoted to Head Ranger in 2016.

In 2008 Sam married Irene, our Front of House Manager, who he met at the Lodge.

Sam has reached his dream and is so passionate about the bush. He says Madikwe Hills is ”home sweet home and will always be around”.


LUCKY NOKANE

Field Guide

Lucky grew up in a rural area, 30 minutes' drive outside Madikwe Game Reserve, He became interested in wildlife at a very young age (12-15 years). On weekends and school holidays, he used to go to the cattle farm and helped his grandfather to look after cattle. During those days, he noticed lots of different animal tracks and became interested in knowing animals such as spotted hyenas and leopards. All the good and scary stories his grandfather told him made him inquisitive and that is where it all started.

Lucky went to the Kruger National Park on a theory course for 3 months and has been guiding full time since May 2011. He is currently on an NQF level 4.

"I love nature, so honestly anything is interesting to me; just being out on the drive brings a big smile to my face as this reminds me of my childhood."


ERNST VAN GRUNING

Field Guide

I was born with a passion for the outdoors and from a young age my interest in camping, fishing, the outdoors and my love for animals were very obvious to my family. This also made me the "odd one out" in the family and I often worked on farms on my school holidays.

I studied Game Ranging and Lodge Management and in 2002 I started my first guiding work that incorporated security work which enhanced my love for animals. I could actively assist in their protection. I had the opportunity to work in Kwazulu Natal, doing drives into Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, St Lucia and Mkuze, which in its own is an amazing Biome. Then I got my first opportunity to experience Madikwe Game Reserve in 2005 and it allowed me to develop another passion of mine, trails/bush walks and photography.

In 2007 I was granted the chance to experience the Sabi Sands and Greater Kruger area. I loved my short time there but my heart longed to come home. In 2008 I was home and I was also able to volunteer in my free time as an Honorary Officer, enabling me to give back to the community and to assist in training of new guides in the park.

It is a privilege to work at Madikwe Hills in Madikwe Game reserve. Madikwe gives us as Guides a freedom that allow us to share the bush in ways that it is meant to, allowing us to go off road and track the animals. I love sharing my passion for the bush with guests and sharing the wonder that is Madikwe.


ALTHI SCHOONWINKLE

Field Guide

I grew up on a small family mine which made it possible for me and my family to travel all over South Africa. At the age of 12 I moved to Sierra Leone (West Africa) where I got to experience the rainforests and also got involved with the rehabilitation of chimpanzees.

In 2010 I studied Zoology and in 2015 I completed my FGASA level 1 training.
I am very passionate about the bush and extremely enthusiastic about what I do.
I excitedly joined the guiding team at Madikwe Hills in 2016.


MARC GROVE

Field Guide

Growing up in the bush I always knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, I wanted to be like my dad: a guide in the best reserves in the country.

All the years growing up in Hazyview, about a 8km drive from the Kruger National Park, allowed me to visit the Kruger on a regular basis, admiring nature and just enjoying the peace. I obtained a lot of my knowledge from my father and reading books and also completed a one year course in Field Guiding. I now know a part of the field that I loved and dreamed of being a part of! What more can you ask for other than being out in the African bush every day!

I would love for every guest that I have, on my vehicle or on my bush walk, to see the real Africa the way it is supposed to be. Madikwe is a reserve like no other - not many places can compete with the sightings and experiences that we witness in this incredible park. I cannot wait to show you my "office".

"If you love your job you will never work a day in your life"


TERTIUS VAN DER WALT

Field Guide

I was born in bustling Johannesburg City but luckily raised on a farm on the outskirts just far enough not to be a city slicker...(phew!)

My Family farmed with a variety of farm animals but mainly cattle. I was very fortunate to grow up on the country side. It gave me a chance to develope a real love and passion for my surroundings, nature and all its beauty.

In the middle of my High school career, after visiting the Southern parts of Botswana and after being fully engrossed by the African bushveld for a few weeks surrounded by nothing but sweet mother nature, nights filled with endless starry skies and the soft crackle of the fire caressing my ears I knew.....

The African Savannah will and shall always be my calling...

From the loud roar of a male lion to the heart-stopping trumpet of a bull elephant to deafening screeches of a million crickets or the harmonious song of a few lonely frogs. This is what keeps my fire burning...

Because waking up to the sounds of the francolins fidgeting outside one’s window before rudely bursting into a raucous song, followed by the distant whooping of the local hyena clan, is a wonderful way to wake up each morning is it not?

Being able to share and teach such experiences with others.
I can not think of a greater honour than being at Madikwe Hills sharing these experiences together.

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