The Wildlife Whisperer
Bens Marimane 1

Bens Marimane


"I’ve seen amazing things. Sometimes I look back and see tears of joy falling down guests’ faces"

"I’ve seen amazing things. Sometimes I look back and see tears of joy falling down guests’ faces"

What’s it like to work as a field guide in Greater Kruger?

It’s all about wildlife. It’s all about game viewing. We have people from all over the world coming to South Africa to share this piece of paradise with us, and my favourite thing about the job is meeting them and sharing these wildlife experiences. Working here at MalaMala in Sabi Sands private game reserve in Greater Kruger, I’ve seen amazing things. Sometimes I look back and see tears falling down guests’ faces, from joy.

What happens on a game drive?

A game drive is all about game viewing, but it’s also like playing a game because we don’t know what we’re going to find out there in the bush. The most important thing is to trust your guide. Before we take our guests out on safari, we do a vehicle orientation. We tell them they’re not allowed to stand up: if we stand up, we break the shape of the vehicle and the animals might recognise us as humans, and they could be disturbed or attack out of fear.

All the animals here grew up with Land Rovers around that’s how we’re able to do such close game viewings, even if an animal is feeding. The morning drive ends with a cooked breakfast back at camp, and during the evening drive we have sundowner drinks out in the bush. Some of the animals are becoming active at this time, so maybe we’ll hear some lions or leopards roar.

What type of animals do you see in this area?

We have the The Big Five, which are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. And lots more; we don’t have any fence between Kruger and our reserve. Here in MalaMala it’s almost everyday we see the cats. For leopard viewings, there’s nowhere better. Down in the river, during the dry season, all of the animals come to drink, so if it’s a sunny day in the late afternoon all you have to do is drive along the riverbed and you’ll find the lions and leopards waiting for the prey species. We feel very lucky to have this river here. The river is part of what makes MalaMala so great for game viewing.

Read the Meet Your South Africa magazine here

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