August 17, 2012


Gemsbok (Oryx gazella) is Namibia's national animal and one of the true desert species, being completely water independent.  It has a white belly to reflect the heat back off the ground and has a specially adapted nasal system, which cools the blood to their brain. They can heat the surface of their skin to over 50 degrees centigrade resulting in their core body temperature remaining cool.

The excitement just keeps on coming for the group of students currently attending the EcoTraining FGASA Level One (28 day) field guide course in the Erindi Game Reserve in Namibia. As part of our commitment to guiding excellence all through Africa, we have struck up various partnerships to improve the skills and knowledge of field guides. Bernardus Guibeb, assistant manager at Grootberg Lodge in Kuene South, is one of those guides. This is his diary from Erindi:

I am mainly dealing with guides and trackers and also take game drives when necessary at Grootberg.  I was notified by my manager about the field guiding course and as I am eager to learn more about guiding and tracking it was for me the right opportunity to come and get first-hand knowledge. 

My first morning drive here in Erindi was a great experience!  Driving in the thick bush and sandy soil was a challenge.  We managed to track an elephant bull and also had some other nice sightings of giraffe, oryx (gemsbok), waterbuck and crocodile.

The afternoon drive was also promising as we came along many antelope and a honey badger that was frantically digging around a termite mound.  We also timed it right to see hippos out of the water at one of the dams.

There were many lessons learnt from the drive which I will apply once I am back at work.

Guiding is exciting work where you are actively interacting with nature and it is my wish to reach the top level of guiding to help grow knowledge and the tourism industry in Namibia.

(Thanks Bernardus for your diary, Gift Inambao for the beautiful photo of the gemsbok and instructor Ralph Kirsten for the interesting info on the gemsbok!)
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