Every few months we are fortunate to have James Varden, Professional Guide and owner of Ride Zimbabwe, come through to do training with our guiding team.
With the infinite amount to be learnt about the natural world around us, continual professional development is essential for our guides and trackers. Focused training sessions also give them an opportunity for team bonding, and stimulates their passion for the flora and fauna around them.
The week always starts off with at least one exam, for example a Habit and Habitat paper set by the National Parks and Wildlife Authority to assess individual’s knowledge in this area. The exams are done by all guides and trackers and gives them all a good indication of where they are at with their knowledge in the specific areas.
Over the course of the week, James and the team spend time between the lodge, the Zambezi River line and of course the vast Matetsi Private Game Reserve – this 136 000 acre wilderness concession, with 9 miles of river frontage, is possibly the best classroom in the world!
These training sessions have a strong emphasis on safety, as this is the number one priority. There is also always a recap regarding hygiene, as well as First Aid training, and sessions on weapon handling (N.B. weapons are only carried for protection on Matetsi Private Game Reserve, which is a photographic concession).
Other focus areas this time were Bird Identification (with a whole day dedicated to this as it happened to be the eBird Global Big Day while James was here), Spoor Identification and Communication. The team also shared interesting tips with each other, for example, how to measure an elephant front foot track in order to estimate that animal’s shoulder height.
Many thanks to James Varden for his time spent with our team on property, and for the photographs and updates during the course of the week. We look forward to welcoming you back. If you love seeing what we get up to in this corner of the world, connect with us on Instagram: