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Our Guides

Leading You Through Our Magnificent Wilderness with Endless Knowledge and Passion

SAMSON GAOPELO - Head Guide

Sam (Kega) grew up in a small village about an hour and half west of Madikwe Game Reserve. His bush-life inspiration comes from him being raised on a farm and he always wanted to become a guide. Sam started working at Madikwe Hills in 2004 as a butler. After 8 months he became a tracker, and worked his way up to a guide in 2006. In 2008 Sam married Irene, our Front of House Manager, who he met at the Lodge. Sam has reached his dream and is so passionate about the bush. He says Madikwe Hills is ”home sweet home and will always be around”.

WAYNE JONES – Field Guide

Wayne was born in the capital city, Pretoria. From a young age he was fascinated by animals. He had almost every pet imaginable. He started going to Kruger National Park from the age of 8years old and absolutely adored it. On one of his trips, he remembers seeing a game ranger riding his bicycle through the reserve and decided then and there, that is what he wanted to do.

He started guiding on small farms and reserves and eventually moved onto Pilanesberg, Kruger National Park, greater Kruger and a bit of work in Pongola game reserve in KwaZulu Natal. Wayne is interested in animal behaviour (ethology), interactions and cultural history of an area. He loves walking safaris, spending time looking at the tracks and signs animals leave behind.

BENSON MABASO - Field Guide

Benson Mabaso grew up on a farm very close to Great Zimbabwe, the stone ruins of an ancient city near modern day Masvingo, Zimbabwe. During his secondary education, his dream was to become a geologist. Unfortunately this was not possible due to financial difficulties. In 1998 Benson moved to South Africa and settled in Thabazimbi. South African National Parks (SANParks) appointed Benson as a general worker at Marakele National Park in 2003. That same year Benson was sent to the Kruger National Park for Field Ranger Paramilitary Training. During those two months of training in the bush, Benson encountered some of the Big 5 on foot and had the opportunity to go on game drive. This was it! He fell in love with nature.

A year later, Benson was assigned as a full-time field ranger. 2007 marked the year that Benson qualified as field guide and although he was conducting both patrols and game drives for SANParks, his heart was into safaris and introducing people to wildlife. His passion was the driving force to pursue a career as a field guide and led him to Madikwe in 2010. Benson joined the Madikwe Hills team in February 2022. He enjoys tracking and doing bush walks. His favourite animal is an elephant: “Imagine this big animal spending 80 % of the day feeding. I never get bored watching elephants.”

DAN ROBERTS - Field Guide

Dan was born and raised in Johannesburg. His love and passion for the bush started at a very young age when they went on family holidays to the bush. He remembers sitting next to the guides on the drives, always fascinated by what they were doing. It was from this young age that he knew he wanted to work with wildlife and after leaving school he went and obtained all the necessary qualifications needed to start his life in the bush.

His guiding career started in Limpopo and after five years he decided to spread his wings and move on to a new area; Madikwe. He is passionate about all creatures great and small and loves doing walking safaris. He also loves photography and videography and specialises in photographic safaris and content creation for lodges. “I love being able to capture moments in nature through the lens of a camera. For me any time spent in the bush is time well spent.”

MEGAN SMITH - Field Guide

Megan’s family calls her ‘Nina die boskind” referring to a young girl from the Afrikaans novel called “Kringe in ‘n bos” written by Daleen Matthee. From a young age she adored nature. Right after High School she obtained her guiding qualifications and loved the adventure.

During Covid she worked with an Entomologist on research projects. She learnt so much during that time and has some great stories to tell. She longed to share her love of the bush with people and was excited to sit back in the guiding seat. She worked most of her career in the Lowveld (Limpopo province). She wanted to expand her knowledge and experience of what South Africa has to offer.

Megan joined the Madikwe Hills team in September 2023. She enjoys capturing a moment whether it’s a photo or video and she loves being ‘Nina die boskind” everyday!

BRIAN DANN - Field Guide

Brian was born and raised in the city of Johannesburg. He has always had an interest in the outdoors and much preferred being in the fresh air than being cooped up in a city. He went on 1 game drive as a teen and was just fascinated with how the guide could interpret what was going on in the bushveld, “He became my inspiration and mentor”. That’s when Brian knew this was something that he wanted to do for a career. After 4 years of working in completely different fields, Brian found his spot in the bush and began studying.

He worked in various locations, Northern KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and the Greater Kruger region, but settled down in Madikwe and this is now his home for the past 4 years. “My interests include everything big and small, I have been called a bird nerd by some,” he said. Brian joined the Madikwe Hills Team in June 2023.

REVIEW

5 stars!

Truly the best authentic African safari in existence. Staff are welcoming and go above and beyond to ensure you have the best experience possible. We stayed 4 nights and saw all big five game as well as wild dogs, hyenas and so much more. Our guide and our tracker were very knowledgeable and we cannot commend them enough. Breathtaking. 5 stars!

Daniel Curran, (October 2021)