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Elewana Collection invests in training our Guides to the highest standards

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In the February Newsletter Elewana Collection published a feature on its commitment to training the best Guides, in our continued efforts to ensure guests have a superior experience when they stay at an Elewana property. We want to improve the standard of guiding across the industry and we are passionate about the people who work for us, ensuring we invest continuously in their development and the community around us.

This month we will cover the ongoing training that our Elewana Guides receive to ensure they are at the top of their field. Mid-February we sent Alex and Elly, the first two of our Walking Guides to South Africa for six weeks, to further their skills from leading professionals in the Industry at Royal Malewane. They were followed in mid-March by Stanford and Moses and then the last two, Baraka and John who went down at the beginning of May, each having six weeks of intense training in the field. All six Walking Guides have returned exceeding our expectation, not only in their personal development but also professionally as Elewana Walking Guides.

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It is the first time that our Elewana Walking Guides have travelled outside of East Africa, to a very unfamiliar country. They were collected by one of the team members from Royal Malewane and transferred to Thornybush Private Game Reserve, 450kms north east of Limpopo province, where the training would take place. Leading the training was Juan Pinto, who is the former Head Ranger at Royal Malewane but now a director at Royal Malewane, which allows him to concentrate on the broader wildlife experience as well as critical conservation efforts. He is one of the most qualified guides in the business. Juan has a unique set of formal guiding qualifications, including FGASA Level III Professional Guide with SKS-Dangerous Game and was the first active guide to be awarded the honorary title of Scout by FGASA, in recognition of achieving the highest qualifications as a guide and as a tracker. Juan has a passion for the African bush and is dedicated to ensuring that all the rangers and trackers strive to be the best guiding team in Africa, echoing our own ethos.

Ryan Jack who is the Head Ranger at Royal Malewane assisted Juan in training our Guides. He was born in Zimbabwe and started working in the guiding industry in 1999. He completed a Diploma in Game Ranch Management before he started guiding. Ryan also has a passion for photography and holds a Diploma in Photography together with a FGASA Level III Professional Guide with SKS-Dangerous Game and SKS Birding. He is also a Level III Tracker.

It is of utmost importance to us that only the best train our Guides, starting with our Head of Guide Training Craig McFarlane, who has selected only those that have the highest FGASA qualifications and advanced rifle handling to conduct advanced training with our walking Guides. This is essential to our ultimate goal that Guests have an exceptional and safe experience with our Guides.

Some of the activities that the Elewana Walking guides participated in and what they took away with them included aspects such as when tracking and identifying signs, in many parts of Africa the ancient survival skills of tracking wild animals has disappeared at alarming rate, alarming because without these skills, humanity's connection to the earth is significantly reduced. The age old skill of animals tracking taught us to live in harmony with an appreciation and respect for the natural world. With urbanization and technology, much of this profound ecological intelligence is being lost at a time when it is most important to our long term survival.

Each of the Walking Guides learnt more than expected, had new experiences never to be forgotten and come away with so much more then when they left their home country. The Elewana Walking Guides all came back with an advanced knowledge of Tracks and sign identification, further understanding of dangerous animal encounters and developing their shooting skills to the highest level.

In the coming months, Rudi and Nik who are leading Guides from Royal Malewane will travel to East Africa to continue the training with our Walking Guides. We will update you on their progress once complete and share with you some of the experiences they took away.

We would like to thank the entire guiding team at Royal Malewane, especially Juan, Ryan, Rudi and Nik for their passion and commitment to raising the standard of guiding across the continent and training our Elewana Guides to the highest standards.