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36 Travel Zambia May 2009 Zambia's guides come from various backgrounds and each has a different story to tell. Some of the more experienced have achieved almost legendary status; others are quietly establishing themselves as part of the new generation. But what unites them all is a passion for what they do. Travel Zambia tracked down seven different guides during their off season to fi nd out a little more about them. Manda Chisanga ( BUSHCAMP COMPANY) Has worked in South Luangwa National Park for the last 12 years, for Mfuwe Lodge and the Bushcamp Company. Has also led groups in Lower Zambezi, Kafue National Park and Livingstone. In 2006 won the prestigious international ' Guide of the year' award from Wanderlust magazine in the UK. Early Inspirations: I grew up in very remote parts of Zambia where my grandfather worked in construction. These areas had wildlife in abundance and inspired me to learn more. Likes: Walking safaris, African traditions and communities. Dislikes: When I feel I am not giving enough information to my guests - I like to think they are learning as well as enjoying themselves. Top Tip: Listen carefully to alarm calls. For example, the sharp shrill calls at the end of a vervet monkey alarm generally means that a leopard is in sight. Still to see: Bushbaby droppings. Phil Berry ( KUYENDA CAMP) Has worked for 30 years as a professional guide and safari lodge manager in South Luangwa; previously also for 12 years in the Northern Rhodesia/ Zambian Game Department, and also for four years with Save the Rhino Trust. A renowned authority on Thornicroft's giraffe. Early Inspirations: I fi rst became interested in wildlife when I was growing up in Northern Rhodesia in the 1950s. I learned about wildlife from Game Rangers Frank Ansell and Johnny Uys, and Norman Carr. Likes: Repeat clients who become good friends. And fi nding and photographing a pangolin at Kuyenda Camp in 2007 ( only the second reported sighting in South Luangwa since 1938). Dislikes: People who come to the bush for the wrong reasons, ie not interested in learning about our wildlife. Top tip: Try not to overwhelm guests with too much scientifi c detail; try very hard to make it interesting. Still to see: A zorilla ( striped polecat). Derek Shenton ( SHENTON SAFARIS) Guiding career began in 1987 under Norman Carr. In 1992, won the concession for Kaingo camp ( South Luangwa National Park), where he had camped with his family as a child. Now runs Kaingo and its sister bushcamp, Mwamba. Early Inspirations: Growing up in Kafue. My father, Barry Shenton, was the warden and I lived in the park for three years. Likes: I love exploring the bush around Kaingo and Mwamba, fi nding new wildlife ecosystems, then sharing them with guests. Creating special hides where you can sit and watch - private windows onto nature - is probably my greatest thrill. Dislikes: trophy hunting - especially the hunting of big game. Top tip: Stop and turn off the engine. Be quiet: look, listen and feel the bush around you. Still to see: A crocodile carrying her newly- hatched young to the water in her mouth. Grant Cumings ( CHIAWA CAMP AND OLD MONDORO BUSHCAMP) Has lived at Chiawa Camp in the Lower Zambezi since establishing it in 1989, and was instrumental in setting up Conservation Lower Zambezi. Early Inspirations: My Dad's photo albums. He was a mineral prospector in Tanganyika. We took numerous trips into Zambia's vast protected areas. Likes: Guests who appreciate the bush; the awesome splendour and sanctity of any unspoiled wilderness; playing an active role in conserving these areas and training new guides to do the same. Dislikes: Anyone who doesn't respect the wilderness, crocs close to my canoe, hippos under my canoe, and - horror of all horrors - a warm G& T! Top tip: Use all your senses and you will see everything you could wish for on safari. Still to see: A year without poachers ( but I am working on it!); a pangolin and an aardvark on the same night drive. IN THEIR OWN WORDS Left: Levy Farao, of Old Mondoro Camp, explains how a buffalo met its demise. OLD MONDORO MIKE UNWIN SHENTON SAFARIS ANNA DEVEREUX BAKER CHIAWA CAMP

May 2009 Travel Zambia 37 Lodge life Nick Aslin ( NORMAN CARR SAFARIS) Originally from the UK, was based at Kapani Lodge, South Luangwa, for 16 years. Now lives in Lusaka, but returns to the bush often. Early Inspirations: The legendary Norman Carr: his empathy for the bush was quite infectious. Likes: The changing of the seasons. Dislikes: Guests who are more interested in seeing what they thought they were going to see, rather than enjoying the new and unexpected things that the African bush throws at you every minute, however small or seemingly insignifi cant. Top tip: Always investigate the alarm calls of squirrels: it's a noise you'll hear frequently and could easily overlook. Could be a warning of a leopard or something less menacing; either way, it's always worth stopping to check. Still to see: A pangolin would be nice, but I never tire of the same stuff again and again; no two days in the bush are ever the same. Zebron Chirwa ( ROBIN POPE SAFARIS) Has worked in South Luangwa for 14 years: the last eight at Robin Pope Safaris, and previously with Star of Africa, Mfuwe Lodge and Wildlife Camp. Early Inspirations: I once worked for National Parks as an enumerator under Monitoring and Evaluation, which meant going out into the bush regularly. It was easy to become a guide, as the interest for the wild just grew. Likes: Walking in the bush with clients who want to learn more about it. Dislikes: Guiding clients who are demanding and claim to know everything. Top tip: A drag mark across the road, which could mean a leopard or lion kill in the nearby bush. Still to see: Any species that don't occur in South Luangwa - but I'm still happy with what we have here. Leonard Kalio ( BAINES' RIVER CAMP) Started in 1991 with Sobek Safaris as a canoe and white water rafting guide, and progressed to managing the Sobek Canoeing company. Also trained with the Field Guides Associations of Southern Africa. Now working at Baines' River Camp as head guide and as examiner for the Lower Zambezi Safari Guides examinations. Early Inspirations: Growing up in the local villages, plus meeting Shawn Diggib who introduced me to the world of nature guiding. Likes: Meeting new people and making friends. Canoeing the beautiful channels of the Zambezi River. Dislikes: It breaks my heart to see the carcasses of innocent elephants that have lost their lives to sheer human greed. Top tip: While in the wild, all your senses must be sharp. In unexpected circumstances never panic, never run and always listen to your guide. Still to see: Mating porcupines. Becoming a safari guide in Zambia takes years of hard work and study. There are two levels of guiding: Grade Two, which qualifi es guides to take guests out in a vehicle, and Grade One, which is a step up for those who wish to be walking guides. Successful trainees must demonstrate not only that they know everything about the bush, but also that they can ensure the safety of their guests at all times. The guiding exams, traditionally held in May, last for two days, and include written papers on everything from history, geology and ecology to fi rst aid, safety ( including fi rearms training) and mechanics. They also include a demanding practical exam, during which senior guides act as the guests. Only the very best are awarded a coveted guide's licence. MAKING THE GRADE Safari guiding has traditionally been a job for the boys. But times are changing. Rose Jere, the fi rst Zambian woman to qualify as a guide, has blazed a trail for a new generation of female guides. Brought up in the Luangwa Valley, Rose fi rst became a mechanic before she set her sights on guiding. Working at Kapani Lodge, she passed her Grade Two exams with fl ying colours ( including a perfect 100% in her mechanics paper). " I wanted to be in the bush just like the men did," says Rose. " Someone had to change the statistics and of course I had to be the one." Her achievements have already proved an inspiration to other young women - such as Stephanie Phiri ( pictured), who describes herself as Rose's protégé and is studying for the exams. Meanwhile the experienced Debs Tittle, who leads walking safaris for Robin Pope Safaris, has taken things a step further and spends her off- season training new guides. A WOMAN'S PLACE? ANNA DEVEREUX BAKER MIKE UNWIN NORRMAN CARR SAFARIS ANNA DEVEREUX BAKER