The awards ceremony for the Safari Guide of the Year was held at The Farmery in Hoedspruit as a fitting finale to the 10th annual event, hosted at NJ MORE Field Guide College.
Powered by The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), the Safari Guide of the Year’s goal is to recognize exceptional guides and showcase excellence within the guiding industry. The finalists were all highly qualified FGASA guides from within the tourism industry, nominated by leading lodges and training providers within Southern Africa.
NJ MORE Field Guide College, in the Marataba Section of the Marakele National Park, was the setting for the actual event and presented many challenges to all the finalists for whom the area was relatively unknown.
The five finalists:
Togara Charingira, representing Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge, Wayne Howarth from Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, Mike Medlinger from the More Family Collection, Civilized Ngwenya from Tanda Tula and Shaun D’Araujo from Londolozi attended this week-long intensive assessment comprising of advanced rifle handling, guided walking, game drive experience, storytelling, track & sign, phorography, birding and hospitality. The week was packed with exciting interactions, fun, nervous moments, outstanding stories around the fire.
“We want to give something back to all safari guides who work so hard and are great ambassadors for our country. Field guides are professionals and deserve recognition for their hard work and contribution to the tourism industry. We want the younger guides to hopefully be here one day, and give them an incentive to increase their longevity of a career that is normally quite short-lived”, said Mike Karantonis from Africa Direct, co-founder of Safari Guide of the Year,
Game Drive Experience: Shaun D’Aranjo from Londolozi.
Big 5 Guided Walk: Mike Medlinger from the More Family Collection.
Birding: Mike Medlinger from the More Family Collection.
Storytelling: Civilized Ngwenya from Tanda Tula.
Photography Award: Togara Charingira(T.J), Royal Madikwe Luxury Game Lodge.
Judges Award: Wayne Howarth, from Kariega Game Reserve.
Track & Sign: Togara Charingira(T.J), Royal Madikwe Luxury Game Lodge.
Advanced Rifle Handling: Shaun D’Aranjou from Londolozi
Hospitality and Professionalism: Togara Charingira(T.J), Royal Madikwe Luxury Game Lodge.
Safari Guide of the Year 2021 Runner up was Shaun D’Aranjou from Londolozi.
The Overall Winner of Safari Guide of the Year 2021 was Togara Charingira(T.J), representing Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge.
Michelle Du Plessis, FGASA Managing Director had this to say.
“This, our 10th anniversary event, was the most exceptional experience, shared with the most outstanding, professional guides, judges, guests and sponsors”.
“Our sincere thanks to our sponsors and the professional judging panel consisting of Lukas Mathonsi, Anthony Collett, Juan Pinto, Mike Karantonis, James Steyn and Alan Yeowart. Without their vast knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm, this event would not have been the success that it was”.
NJ MORE Field Guide College, WildEarth TV, Canon, Accident Angels, Ruggedwear clothing, Sapmok, Drifters, Essentology, Kruger 2 Canyon News and Rack n Road, Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).