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Ulusaba

Ulusaba safari news: A day in the Life of a Ulusaba Ranger

At 4.15am I wake up and get ready for work.Over the years of guiding in the African bush I have mastered the art of getting dressed in the dark so I don't wake my wife. I get to the lodge at 5.00am to prepare tea and coffee for the guests before having a cup of tea with the other guides and chatting about the routes we are going to drive or what animals we are looking for.

Most of the time there is good banter between the guides before the guests come through for tea and coffee. We leave for game drive at 5.45am which is always very exciting with the anticipation of what you are going to find or experience on the day.

During the first part of the game drive we are checking for fresh tracks and signs as well as listening for sounds that that might lead us to finding an animal.

When we find a fresh track my tracker Sam will interpret the age of the track and which animal it is before he starts to follow; this is great for the guests to experience because for me tracking is like having a sixth sense, and to see the skill of the tracker is a mind blowing experience that the guests love!

The guides are also in radio contact with each other to pass on information about animal whereabouts or tracks, so there is constant team work to find animals. I get back from game drive at 9.00am and have breakfast with my guests, and normally there is fun banter about what they saw on drive, and especially if their guide got stuck in the river.

Normally between 9.00am and 11.00am we do guest activities like safari walks, transfers to and from the airstrip and any Cub's Club activities for the little ones.

At 11.30am I get back to the office to check emails and to sort out logistics for my team regarding guest allocations, transfers, equipment, bush work and if there are any meetings to attend. After most of the admin is done I try and catch up with the other guides to make sure they are all sorted with their guests and that their preparations are all made. At 1.00pm if I have no check-ins or check-outs I try to spend a bit of time with my son Tristan which is a big highlight of my day. Then I either go to the gym or have an afternoon rest. I meet my Tracker Sam at 3.45pm to prepare a cool box for the afternoon game drive and to make sure my vehicle is ready.

From 4.00pm we have afternoon tea with guests. If I have new guests I chat to them to find about if they have been on safari before to gauge their previous experiences and explain a bit about what they are about to experience.

Later on there is always excitement when it gets dark as the trackers bring out the spotlights to try to find the more shy, nocturnal creatures like servals (also known as tiger forest cats) or chameleons.

Sometimes if we are really lucky we might find a pride of lions on the move or an elusive leopard hunting. 7.30pm: We return from drive and the guests have some time to freshen up and then come through to the bar for pre-dinner drinks. After having drinks with my guests and the chef has come out to explain the dinner menu I head home at 8.30pm to have dinner with my wife Tasmin and try get an early night.