Today’s guide is Dux Majera, who guides in Botswana with Kwando Safaris. Read on to find out where he wants to visit next in Africa!
How and why did you become a guide?
I was naturally inspired, having been born in the environment where natural resources were highly valuable to our livelihood, and much more depended on them for our survival. That included gathering and subsistence hunting. I’ve learnt and adapted living around wild animals, despite the conflicts we use to have over livestock and field crops. Guiding was introduced to us when early photographic companies employed my uncles who looked after our family during my school times.
I did my studying at Botswana Wildlife Training Institute in Maun where I attained my guiding qualification in 2005, and since then I’ve been actively guiding until now.
Do you have a specialism? What are you most interested in?
My major interest is in birding and botany (plants study, grasses in particular) although I do cover a wide range of kingdoms while on field including astronomy, ecology etc.
I have spent most of my guiding within and around the Okavango Delta, but now falling in love with the Kalahari Desert experience.
What has been your favourite sighting to date?
NO 1: The Pale Chanting Goshwark had a great success over the Guinea fowls (huge flock) but one afternoon it became a sweet revenge when they turned around to help their fellow victim and trampled and smashed it, using their toes and wings, until the Goshwark could barely move. Finally the Goshwark was left lying down, but the next morning it was not at the site. (Guineas can be killers too).
NO 2: Witnessing the cheetahs hunting tsessebe in July 2010 at Linyanti (Kwando concession) was amazingly unbelievable, the way the cheetah brothers (coalition of 3), coordinated the hunt to their success. The fastest land mammal in Africa vs the second fastest proved not to be an easy game. These magnificent hunters were thrown to the ground few times, landing on top of the prey, one after the other within a distance close to 2 hundred metres in favourable open grassland, a typical hunting habitat for the cheetahs. Finally the poor tsessebe was brought down.
What’s your favourite activity?
Green season, birding in the Kalahari desert and winter, walking in Linyanti are my most favourable activities. Generally I do deliver the best experience out of ecology with my surroundings at any time of the year.
If you could go to any other country to see its wildlife, where would you choose?
Well, I have been in Kenya’s Masai Mara for three weeks and it was great seeing animals in such large numbers and easily finding most wanted “predators” as a result of those endless plains. I would choose to go to Tanzania if an opportunity arises, so as to see their side operations since it is one of the world’s famous tourists’ safari dream place.
What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to become a guide?
If I have to advise those who consider guiding as a potential career, I believe one needs a determined and focused mind set. It is not as easy as it may sound, but requires full time commitments as well as patience to study. There is no such guide who has reached a stage of “stop learning”. Guiding curriculums are often updated and everyone should be aiming to be highly competent, so continuously as a guide you are a learner.
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There is a world of difference between one of our tailormade safaris and most package holidays printed in a brochure. Package holidays are usually designed to be as cheap as possible and of course involve large numbers of people doing the same thing. Our safaris use small, more exclusive and remote camps usually with guests flying in, and often virtually everything is included in the price. The experience is completely different.
Many of these small lodges and camps have broadly similar prices, and it is possible to arrange a superb two week safari for between £4,000 to £7,000 per person ($7,000 – $11,000) season dependant, all inclusive. Realistically it is difficult to reduce that figure, and by including Botswana in peak season, chartering a private plane, disappearing to some magical desert island, or flying at the front of the plane it’s easy to substantially increase that figure!