There was high excitement on the Jock concession last month as former Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, Ike Mkansi put away his Food and Beverage files in readiness to step into the bush as a newly qualified Field Guide.


Having joined Jock in January 2014, Ike began his career as a Barman after which he was promoted to Food and Beverage Supervisor.  Last year, during his current position as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, it was evident that the call of the bush had become too loud for Ike and so he joined the ECO RANGER ACADEMY to complete his National Certificate in Tourism Guiding.  Fast forward one year later and he is now a fully qualified Field Guide.



Often referred to as a Nature Guide, Field Guide or Ranger [Game Ranger], he or she focusses on ecology and nature and will be employed in a particular natural area where wild animals roam, most often a game reserve. Not only confined to walking trails, the Field Guide is able to guide guests into the bush via vehicle, on horseback or on rivers and lakes.


A Tourist Guide on the other hand guides tourists through vast areas of the entire country for example, city walks, visits to museum and battlefields and places of interest, with emphasis on the historical or man-made environment.


During his course he successfully completed:

Nature Guiding, Field Ranger – Law Enforcement and Customer Service L4, as well as Firearm Training and First Aid Level One.


During Eco Ranger training Ike also trained in Animal Tracking, Anti-poaching Operations, Bush craft & Survival as well as Wildlife Photography.


Now that he is qualified, he is currently ‘riding shotgun’ with some of our experienced guides so as to allow him time to acclimatize to his new position away from the lodge and all tasks Food and Beverage related.  To further hone his bush hospitality skills, he is also assisting with guest road transfers to and from Skukuza airport to Main Jock lodge.

Once he is comfortable and has been fully assessed by our Ranger Manager, he will begin to take guests out on his own.


Well Done Ike, we’re all incredibly proud of your achievement and we look forward to many exciting stories around the camp fire and to seeing the bush through your eyes.  And if you have booked a Jock safari adventure in early 2020, keep an eye out for Ike as he may well be the first welcoming smile you see at the airport.


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The Eco Ranger Academy is located between Orpen (Kruger Park) and Hoedspruit on a private Game in close proximity to the Kruger National Park. Because the area offers so much – unique fauna and flora, big game/Big 5, predators and around 350 bird varieties, it is the perfect training ground for a future ‘Eco Warrior’.


The Eco Ranger Academy sets a very high standard on its Eco-tourism, conservation and wildlife programmes and expects only the best from its participants.  “Once enrolled, students are immersed in education and training that will challenge their assumptions, disrupt their ordinary ways of living, and introduce them to new and unexpected ways of thinking. By participating, they will prepare for the next steps in their careers and lives demonstrating leadership at the Academy, in their classes and among their peers. Most important, they will return to their own communities with fresh ideas, new skills, and a greater capacity for addressing the environmental challenges faced in Africa states the Eco Academy.

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