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The Beauty of Birds


Soukous
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There are two key factors that make the difference between a good game drive and a great one, or, equally importantly, a good game drive and a poor one.


The first is obvious – it’s the animals. Without animals it’s just a drive.


The second is the guide.


If the animals are there, flaunting themselves in front of your lens then the guide is almost irrelevant. You may occasionally ask him for information about a particular species’ gestation period, or perhaps urge him to get even closer, but with plenty to keep your shutter finger busy he is pretty much relegated to the role of driver.


But what happens if the animals are not there? What if your game drive has become just a drive – a drive in hot dusty conditions over bumpy dirt roads? (Click here to read the full article)

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Maybe we need some recommendations for good birding guides? I am constantly surprised at how few of the guides in kruger give birds any attention, especially when you have declared a keen interest in them. But some guides just don't know the birds beyond the most showy ones. It's a real shame. .

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Come on Pangolin, don't be picky - you know what I mean :D

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  • 4 months later...

I totally agree with you, and I'd even take it a step further and say that it is very seldom that the guide really becomes irrelevant to the experience. As a guide you should be very aware of the need to set the scene as you start out your game drive. This involves giving your guests a bit of a context to the experience.

 

This means bringing in birds and a bit of ecology, it involves a careful balance. I think a guide who is just rattling off horn length and gestation periods without using that to wrap up the story becomes boring. So a good guide has to do this with some skill - enough so that when you see that leopard you not only have a nice photograph, but a story that goes with it.

 

When I'm guiding on the road, hosting guests and staying at lodges I'm always hoping that the lodge guides will do this, but find it's rarely the case. I hate taking over from the guide when we're doing a drive, but find that often I just have to, otherwise we're just hot tailing it after some lion sighting.

 

I think a good guide sets out every day with the objective to get his guests to say "Wow!" (or some equivalent :) ) on every outing - awesome game, birds, wind, rain, whatever!

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Absolutely @@Namibnat , every game drive should have at least one 'special moment', either real or manufactured that will enable clients to distinguish it and remember it.

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I think the whole ecosystem needs to be seen together not just the animals, but the soil, trees, grasses, fungi, insects. I am happy when a guide stops to show us a flower but I realise not everyone likes this.

 

I loved Chris Packham's TV series `Secrets of our Living Planet'. The Savannah episode has several examples from Africa.

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  • 1 year later...

I think the whole ecosystem needs to be seen together not just the animals, but the soil, trees, grasses, fungi, insects. I am happy when a guide stops to show us a flower but I realise not everyone likes this.

 

I loved Chris Packham's TV series `Secrets of our Living Planet'. The Savannah episode has several examples from Africa.

 

~ @@JohnR

 

What you've written above is EXACTLY how I feel.

Were it somehow possible to have you along on one of my Kenya safaris, what you've expressed above would be the status quo.

When I read your words a large grin came on my face, in recognition of a shared outlook.

Thank you SO MUCH, @@JohnR, for eloquently expressing my own inchoate feelings.

Tom K.

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