(Issue 69, Winter 2014)
Legendary Safari Guides
By Susie Cazenove (Bookstorm, Paperback, 352 pp, ISBN: 978-1-920434-94-6)
As editor of Travel Africa, readers often ask me for ideas to help them plan their safari. One can have a lot of fun discussing the various options, but I always have one standard piece of advice: make sure you secure a good guide when you are there. This is more important than your choice of accommodation or the duration of your visit. An experienced guide will open your eyes and mind to the world around you, showing you things you would never otherwise have noticed or found interesting. They bring Africa to life.
I’ve yet to meet a guide who hasn’t oozed at least some charisma (usually it’s a lot!) – enough to make me more than envious of their fascinating and seemingly carefree existence. Susie Cazenove spent over twenty years organising safaris, and in that time got to know a great many of Africa’s best. She has spent many hours interviewing them and has assembled their stories in this wonderful book, an updated version of her earlier Licensed to Guide (2005).
Included in Legendary Safari Guides are several of Africa’s most experienced practitioners – Robin Pope, Garth Thompson, Calvin Cottar and others – plus some of the rising stars – Benson Siyawareva, Anthony Kaschula, Betty Maitai and more.
Each has a fascinating story, often involving some personal sacrifice or heartache, but always unfolding a tale of dedication, humility and a fascination with the natural world. What you are left with is a sense of their shared, deep-rooted passion for Africa’s wildlife and wilderness. It’s easy to relate to, because this why we love going on safari. And we do that because at some point a guide will have shown us something truly remarkable and got us hooked forever.
Reviewed by Craig Rix