FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) is proud to have hosted another hugely successful Safari Guide of the Year competition. Thank you to all of our guests, esteemed judges, sponsors, media partners, and a special thanks to Kapama Private Game Reserve as our Host Sponsor. 

Kapama is a premium, five-star luxury safari destination based in the greater Kruger area. To the Kapama staff, your hosting and professionalism falls within the elite of the safari tourism industry. The food blew us away and your attention to detail is impeccable. There are few Thank Yous we’d like to extend to the management and guiding teams at Kapama. Your efforts behind the scenes and your tremendous support and belief in the event made the Safari Guide of the Year 2023 event possible and has set a new bar for the Safari Guide of the Year competition going forward. A very special thanks goes to:

Christiaan Basson

General Manager of Tourism for Kapama Private Game Reserve

Liezel Holmes

Safari Manager for Kapama River Lodge 

Rassie Jacobs

Senior Guide at Kapama River Lodge

Trichia Jacobs

Kapama CSI Officer, HR Admin, and Events Co-Ordinator

Mari-Lize Du Plessis

Food and Beverage Manager at Kapama River Lodge

Nicole Walker

Brand Manager for Kapama Private Game Reserve

Kapama River Lodge’s remarkable Guiding Team

To our generous sponsors, thank you again for making this event possible. Without your input and belief in the importance of safari guides as ambassadors for our country, custodians of the natural world, and representatives of world-class professionalism we would not be able to fully give thanks to the incredible guides that work so hard to ensure that every guest to our country leaves richer for the experience. We would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to: 

Canon South Africa, prize sponsors of the Guided Photo Graphic Experience, and Birding Slide and Sound event categories and of course, the R25,000.00 cash prize given to the Safari Guide of the Year winner. 

David Preston

Managing Director of Canon South Africa

Roger Machin

Product Marketing Manager of Canon South Africa and Safari Guide of the Year Judge

Ruggedwear, apparel sponsor for the event and prize sponsor for the Advanced Rifle Handling category, a special thanks goes to: 

Howard Rogerson

Owner and CEO of Ruggedwear

Lyzell Chaffey

Sales and Marketing Manager of Ruggedwear

Sapmok, footwear sponsor and prize sponsor for the Guided Walk category. Special thanks goes to: 

Werner Winterboer

Founder and Owner of Sapmok

FreeGo Canvas and Upholstery, prize sponsor for the Guided Game Drive Experience category, a special thanks to:

Mark Fraser

Owner and Founder of FreeGo Canvas and Upholstery

Kruger2Canyon News, prize sponsor for the Storytelling Category, special thanks to:

Mark Bishop

Founder and Editor of the Kruger2Canyon Newspaper

The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), prize sponsors for the Track and Sign, and Hospitality and Professionalism categories and the organisers of the event, special thanks to: 

Michelle du Plessis

Managing Director of FGASA

Bernice Kelly

Standards and Operations Manager for FGASA

Lorenz Penkler

Online Systems Manager or FGASA

Ashleigh Heasman

Administration and Project Assistant for FGASA

Hermia Malugane

CATHSSETA Liaison and Certificates for FGASA

Joyce Mushaka

Qualifications Certificates for FGASA

Chad May

Accounts and Finances for FGASA

Louise Pavid

Marketing and Communications Manager

Pretty Ramatlhape

FGASA Bookshop Administrator

Kgomotso Ramatlhape

Training Delivery Partner Liaison for FGASA

Women in Safari Excellence (WISE), prize sponsor for the Safari Guide of the Year Runner-Up. WISE is a recently founded NGO with the specific aim of providing support, mentorship and inspiration to women who have dedicated their lives to showcasing excellence in the Safari Tourism and Conservation industries, a special thanks to: 

Jody Cole

Founder and Board Chair of WISE

MORE Family Collection, a Field Guide Training Course prize sponsor for the winner of Safari Guide of the Year to gift to a passionate young person as dedicated to wildlife as they are. The course is valued at R88,000.00 and includes a three-month training experience at the MORE Field Guide College at Marataba facilitated by some of the industry’s best field guide trainers. Special thanks to: 

Robert More

Custodian and CEO of the MORE Family Collection

Candice Grover

Operations Manager at the MORE Field Guide College

We would also like to extend our deepest appreciation to various private sponsors who have given of their money and time to ensure the success of the competition and to make sure that the amazing guides who put their hands up to compete felt the love and appreciation of the entire Safari Guide of the Year contingent, their employers and their colleagues, a very special thanks goes to: 

Ashley Hill

Safari Guide of the Year Sponsor and Guest

James and Elizabeth Osman

Safari Guide of the Year Sponsors and Guests

Our humble thanks is also extended to Ulrike Berth as well as Sam and Barbara Jampolis who all gave generously to ensure that Safari Guide of the Year 2023 was a success.

To the media partners who brought the event to life and shared beautiful stories of the experience through their eloquent words, astounding imagery and cinematic film expertise. You are the ones that brought Safari Guide of the Year to the world, and we could not be more grateful to have such a dedicated and professional team working tirelessly behind the scenes to celebrate the journey of Safari Guide of the Year, the finalists, guests and judges, a special thanks goes to: 

Kyle Cresswell

Co-Founder of Armadillo Media and Professional Filmmaker

Nicolene Cresswell

Co-Founder of Armadillo Media and Professional Photographer

Ryan Ferreira

Professional Videographer and Media Tech

Charl Brecher

Media Specialist and Technical Setup

Hendrik Smit

Assistant Videographer and Photographer

Walter Van Zyl

Assistant Videographer and Photographer

Julian De Jager

Assistant Videographer and Photographer

From Getaway Magazine, a special thanks to:

Lauren Dold

Photojournalist at Getaway Magazine

From Latest Sightings – Kruger, a special thanks to: 

Nadav Ossendryver

Founder and Owner of Latest Sightings Kruger

Christopher Tosi from the Smile Foundation South Africa

Christopher Tosi

Social Media Influencer and Digital Media Expert

And of course, Pamela Buckle, a marketing and digital media expert, has supported the team and taken great care to ensure that all our sponsors are recognised and appreciated for their incredible generosity and support.

Pamela Buckle

Digital Media Expert

To our esteemed Judges, this event would not be possible without the value your experience and expertise brings to the safari tourism industry. All of you generously and freely give of your time to participate and apply your combined centuries of experience to what must certainly be some very difficult decisions. We cannot express enough how privileged we are to have your support and belief in the event. Many of you have been instrumental in building the safari guiding industry, setting standards of education, safety, ethics, and professionalism. It is your input and dedication to your careers that has brought the gold-standards of field guiding to where it is today, your commitment has served as inspiration for many of the guides who have competed in the event as well as countless others who genuinely believe in standing as ambassadors for wildlife, for tourism, and for our continent.  

Our deepest gratitude goes to the following industry legends:

Mike Karantonis

Co-Founder of Safari Guide of the Year and Tintswalo Group Head Guide

Juan Pinto

Master Tracker, FGASA Scout and Director at Royal Malewane

James Steyn

FGASA Scout and General Manager at Senalala Safari Lodge

Gawie Grobler

Professional Field Guide, FGASA Assessor and General Manager at Gondwana Private Game Reserve

Lucas Mathonsi

Master Tracker and FGASA Senior Tracker at Royal Malewane

Alan Yeowart

FGASA Scout and Assessor

Michelle du Plessis

Managing Director of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa, Safari Guide of the Year Event Organiser

Roger Machin

Product Marketing Manager of Canon South Africa

Andrew Aveley

Field Guide and Professional Photographer, Canon Ambassador and Guest Judge

Mark Bishop

Founder and Editor of the Kruger2Canyon Newspaper

If there is one thing that everyone can take away from Safari Guide of the Year, it is that it takes all of us to bring the impossible into reality. It is the combined efforts of each individual to bring thanks and recognition to the faces of tourism in southern Africa. It is a privilege to be surrounded by raw natural beauty, to be immersed in the environment and to be able to share these with others from around this pale blue dot we call planet Earth. There are very few words that can capture the depths of the gratitude and appreciation that goes to every person named above. We thank you for going above and beyond, for giving your all to an industry where often little thanks is received. We hope that each one of you is filled with the love, passion and dedication it takes to make something greater than the sum of its parts. We hope that Safari Guide of the Year 2023 has sparked a new flame of motivation to continue to push beyond the boundaries of excellence, dedication, and professionalism.  

From all of us at FGASA, may your vellies always find their footing, may your sights always be on target, may your ears bring the delight of the wild’s orchestra, and may the tapestry of nature always challenge you in the pursuit of knowledge.