A safari guide is a person who leads you when on safari. Most safari guides are passionate about wildlife and nature, making a career out of their passion.
Knowledge of the local culture, natural elements, and attractive destinations are essential attributes of a successful safari guide. Besides this, a safari guide must know how to interpret animal behavior keeping the guests safe in the middle of the wild.
However, is that all it takes for one to be a successful safari guide in Kenya? Let’s look at more additional skills.
1. Be Passionate About Nature
Safari guides are passionate about nature and respectful to the environment. They make it their ambition to help protect and preserve natural resources to keep the wildlife secure.
As much as it is a job, it must come from the heart. Safari guides relate closely with the guests and are committed to managing the client’s expectations to avoid disappointments.
2. Cultivate Exceptional Interpersonal Skills
Besides the formal training, you need to have outstanding interpersonal skills to work well with your workmates and clients.
Exceptional communication skills, teamwork, good listening, and negotiation skills are critical. Have the ability to handle guests and make them feel at home.
3. Be an Excellent Driver
Above all else, you must be an excellent driver because you will chauffeur your clients from one destination to another, including going for game drives in the wild.
The most commonly used vehicles in the Kenya safari industry include customized versions of Toyota land-cruiser, Toyota Hiace, or the Mazda Bongo. Of course, these cars are customized to accommodate enough people.
These tough manual heavy cars require professional driving, especially in the wet season where you can quickly be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
You must be a pro to manage both the vehicle and your guests while delivering a fulfilling safari.
4. Know your Destinations Well
A professional safari guide knows their way around all the game reserves and parks like the back of their hand. Not just the paths to drive through but flora and fauna available in different destinations.
You must distinguish each destination with what exactly makes it unique or sets it apart from the others. This knowledge is paramount when you are giving information or making itineraries for your clients on where to find a specific game or the ideal time of the year to visit.
A professional safari guide thinks and plans ahead in case of unexpected game eludes. Always plan for alternative fun activities nearby to make up for that.
In short, understand your client’s needs and try as best as you can to meet them. Remember, do not overpromise, exaggerate, or oversell a destination; simply be honest.
5. Understand Safety
Even if it’s rare to hear of attacks in the wild, driving through these parks is a dangerous affair. You get to meet the world’s most dangerous cats, elephants, rhinos, etc.
A safari guide understands the danger within and takes caution. Generally, wild animals do not attack tour vehicles, but that should not make you throw caution to the wind.
Remain vigilant and calm around animals and advise your clients on how to behave when around the same. Take them through the do’s and don’ts of the wild and the proper way to take pictures before starting a game drive.
Have some survival skills up your sleeve on how to ward off the animals. Overall, be able to sense when an animal is angry, hungry or in a foul mood and avoid a nasty encounter. Always have a well-stocked first aid kit and first aid skills that you can use in case of any accidents or injury in the wild.
Safari guides are the custodians of the natural environment, acting as a link between nature and the guests.
Want to become a successful safari guide in Kenya? Become the best version of yourself. This job requires you to deal with people all round the clock, and there is no way you can afford to give less than the best.
Develop excellent communication skills, know your safari destinations perfectly, and be vigilant when in the wild. Finally, aim at fulfilling the safari desires of all your clients, whether local or international