Every day another challenge. Two white rhinoceros sleeping in the road and you can’t get past; elephants that approach to investigate the game drive vehicle; or the most real-life zebra crossing you could ever find. All these situations we as rangers are trained to handle without any problems. For me, however, having (very) young children in the back of the vehicle for the first time, was a unique challenge!
Usually we have an age restriction of children having to be 7 years old to join a game drive, but on some occasions, with privately booked game drives, we do make exceptions. Guiding with kids demand a completely different style, and it was certainly something I had to get used to before I learnt to fire away with favourite questions such as ‘Who can spot the first big grey bum in the bush?’ or ‘Whose dung is that?’ I love the giggles and surprised faces every time I pick up the dung to tell them something about it!
Sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle to keep things organised around small children. For example, when we were watching baboons climbing trees and I felt the vehicle move from the back, to find out that the children in the last row were reconstructing what we had just seen…
But the best questions always come from children: ‘Why are elephants grey?’, ‘What is the bobble underneath the giraffes belly?’ and ‘How does a lion roar?’ They are not afraid to ask those questions which adults would perhaps think may be silly. Here in the bush there are no stupid questions, especially from creative young minds who think ‘outside the box’.
So yes, kids can be a challenge on a game drive, but here at Mhondoro we make a plan that works for everyone. For me the animals we come across are easier to handle than our little ones, but those little ones sure make for some interesting drives!