09 Sep A chat with Amanda
We always say that its our people that make Nhongo Safaris what it is, and we are so grateful for the incredible team that we work with. Many of you have mentioned what wonderful safaris you’ve had with Amanda, so we thought we’d have a chat with her and share a bit more about Amanda, with you.
Tell us a bit about your love for Africa and where it came from.
As a child I was always fascinated by animals. My love of Africa was ignited by a TV programme in the 70s called Daktari, a Swahili word meaning ‘doctor’. It was a story about a vet in Kenya who just happened to have a lion called Clarence who was unfortunately cross-eyed! I loved the excitement of all their adventures, and ultimately how they rescued all the animals, so I knew I wanted to be in Africa from an early age. Unbeknownst to me, at the age of 10, that living with Clarence in the African bush wasn’t going to pay bills, or that would give me a career that would enable me to travel to Africa!
Take us through your career.
In 1990 I trained at St.Thomas’s hospital in London, as an operating department practitioner. I loved my job – it was exciting, stressful but ultimately rewarding. Most days I would visualise travelling to Africa and watching the sunset, and imagining how life would be there. I knew I would get there…one day.
1996 was my first visit to the Kruger National Park, and I loved it. My job enabled me, financially, to travel the world and other parks within Africa, but Kruger felt like home to me. It was everything I’d ever imagined it to be and a lot more. It was at this point that I set myself goals to enable me to move to Africa and eventually somehow do my dream job of working in the Kruger. I didn’t know in what capacity; I just knew I had to get there. I completed a BSC in Animal Science in-between work, and then returned to South Africa.
After a lot of waiting I was finally given permanent residence in South Africa in 2000 and this was the time that I knew I could finally live out my dream!
After completing a year’s professional guiding course I was ready to go.
What is your inspiration?
I have always had an intense passion for animals and the environment, and every day I am in the bush I never take it for granted. It was a lot of hard work to get where I am today, but it’s been worth it. I knew I would get here one day, and I did, and the times when I doubted it, I would always repeat a saying to myself: believe in fate, but lean forward where fate can see you.