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Ever since Norman Carr set up his first safari camp in South Luangwa nearly 50 years ago, Zambia's guides have been building their reputation as among the very best in Africa. Highly trained, expert in the ways of the wild and passionate about their work, these guides introduce thousands of visitors every year to a different world. Anna Devereux Baker of Expert Africa investigates. 34 Travel Zambia May 2009 Guide lines

oing to the zoo as a child, you just look at the animals," commented Anne- Marie Harris after her fi rst safari in Zambia. " But our guide taught us how to really watch the animals and - I know this sounds strange - how to feel them." For travellers such as Anne- Marie, many enjoying their fi rst trip to Africa, the guide is pivotal to the experience. Acting the role of both chaperone and interpreter, he can turn a simple safari into a potentially life- changing experience. Under his tutelage - whether on foot, in a vehicle or a canoe - the guests see the bush through new eyes, learning its secrets and understanding its timeless rhythms. A great guide will tell his guests a story by reading the signs left in the bush overnight. He might reveal the direction taken by a passing family of elephants by pointing out the scuffed indentations that mark the front of their footprints; or show how deeper hoof marks reveal the spot where impala sensed danger and took fl ight. He - or she, as an increasing number of female guides are now following the calling - will educate, inform and entertain, and will encourage the guests to get stuck in: perhaps measuring their own stride against the tracks of a giraffe or listening for alarm calls that might indicate a lurking predator. And, as night falls, the guide will join the guests to swap tales of the bush in the glow of the campfi re. Many fi rst time safari- goers are concerned about safety, especially on walking safaris. But Zambia's guides know exactly how to look after their guests in the presence of potentially dangerous wildlife, judging carefully how to optimise the experience while eliminating any element of risk. The Zambian Wildlife Authority enforces a rigid code inside national parks: an armed ZAWA scout accompanies every game drive or walk. In the event of a close encounter the scout deals with the animal, while your guide looks after you. But your guide's experience and expertise ensures that such encounters are extremely rare. May 2009 Travel Zambia 35 Lodge life NORMAN CONQUEST Norman Carr is often described as the father of walking safaris. Of British descent, but born and raised in Africa, he started his career in Zambia's Luangwa Valley as Elephant Control Offi cer. ' Control' soon turned to conservation, and the valley remained Carr's home until his death in 1997. Carr was instrumental in inspiring the local community's involvement in conservation, and built his fi rst camp for adventurous guests in 1950. A legendary guide, he is also famous for the two orphaned lion cubs, Big Boy and Little Boy, that he fostered and returned to the wild - as related in his book Return to the Wild. Carr's legacy lives on in the form of Norman Carr Safaris, which operates fi ve camps in South Luangwa, and in the many top guides who learned their trade at his side. A memorial to Carr stands close to the main gate in South Luangwa National Park. Robin Pope, one of Zambia's most respected guides, introduces his guests to the Luangwa Valley. ROBIN POPE SAFARIS NORMAN CARR SAFARIS X 2