Leading you through our magnificent wilderness with endless knowledge and passion.
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”.
— FGASA level 3 B
— Lead Trails level 2 first rifle
— Track and Sign level 3
— Regional Birding Specialist (Limpopo and North West)
— Survival Training and Bush Craft
Growing up was always about farming and mischievous activities as all boys inherited as second nature.
By age 18 I did my first game drive in the Kruger National Park for Royal Kruger Lodge, situated in the south of the park. I obtained my FGASA level 1 in 2001 and by 2003 I was offered a position in the Welgevonden to gain more experience as a field guide. In 2006 I left the Waterberg towards the foothills of the Waterberg at Mabula Game Reserve to attempt the intermediate training programme that was well known for producing the best field guides in South Africa. With all my previous experience I was able to complete the training with a given deadline of only 6 months and earned my stripes as an intermediate (semi professional) ranger.
After that I officially obtained my trails guide qualification and level 2 FGASA certificate.
In 2009 after Mabula and Limpopo Field Guiding Academy, I obtained level 3 b and level 3 Tracker/Track and Sign components through the Louis Liebenberg art of tracking unit standards and I left for the Madikwe Game Reserve.
My passion for the guiding fraternity is unsurpassed and I have never yet had a regret for conserving and presenting my contribution for future generations to yield a sustained benefit. I love photography, trails, geology, entomology, ornithology, archaeology and ethology, which are also my specialist trademarks in guiding industries.
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."
Francois is a recent addition (June 2015) to the Madikwe hills family, but no stranger to the park or the industry.
After leaving school in 1992 he embarked on a life of adventure, guiding throughout Southern Africa, and alternating his love of the bush with adventures such as commercial diving, crewing on yachts and rope access work in the construction and film industry, adventures which took him all over the world. He is a qualified trails guide and believes that the best way to experience the bush is on foot. He is also a keen birder and amateur astronomer.
The Madikwe Game Reserve is his favourite area to guide in for its geological and ecological diversity, which he studies on an ongoing basis.
ERNST VAN GRUNING
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.