With Tayla and Scott recently leaving our ranks, we’ve been busy scouring the land for bright, talented wildlife fanatics to join the team as presenters. And boy, did we strike gold! Our search has brought us not one or two, but THREE new faces who are currently with us as trainee guides. Better yet? We welcome back our beloved diveLIVE presenters Pat and Lauren who have swapped sand and surf for the bushveld and closed shoes as they return to the screen in the coming months as presenters for safariLIVE.
Let’s meet the new crew!
Jackie is a true melting pot of interests, talents and abilities and her background is no different. Raised between South Africa and Belgium, Jackie joins the team after years of experience in game ranging, lodge management and in the pharmaceutical industry. Her passion for wildlife bloomed while spending time at her parent’s game farm as a child and developed into a passion, in particular, for botany (for which she has a degree). Jackie has an incredible talent and passion for languages, music and traditional medicine and dreams of bringing the medicinal use of plants into the limelight.
She loves safariLIVE for its ability to broadcast the wilderness to anyone, anywhere in the world in a way no other programme can. Her biggest dream at safariLIVE? That in educating people about the African wildlife and the environment, people (in particular the youth) will be encouraged to support the conservation of our natural world.
Xoli was born an raised in Siyabuswa, a small village in Mpumalanga, and is a proud member of the colourful Ndebele people. Having grown up in and around the bush, a career in guiding seemed like a no-brainer. Xoli got his wildlife ranger chops at the South Africa Wildlife College and had a stint as a ranger of the Sabi Sands, amidst hosting bush walks and environmental talks in schools around Hoedspruit. He joins our team with an insatiable passion for anything nature-related and has a particular interest in birding. Xoli dreams of opening up his own wildlife sanctuary one day and bringing “the wild” to underprivileged people in rural areas.
safariLIVE is the next chapter in his wildlife career, something he is incredibly excited about as safariLIVE is unique in its ability to let viewers feel as if they are sitting comfortably at the back of the game drive vehicle. Xoli aims to continually strive to be the best he can be during his time at safariLIVE hoping that his infectious love of nature and wildlife can be carried through to a global audience.
Trish may be pint-sized, but she is a force to be reckoned with! Raised between Durban and Melbourne, Australia, Trish’s insatiable passion for wildlife has gone from the depths of the ocean to the dry grasslands of the bushveld and beyond. With a degree in environmental science, Trish has spent most of her career with the “Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board” of Durban, researching shark anatomy and behaviour. She specialises in dissecting shark tissue that is sent all over the world and has published papers on shark attacks. She joins us in the bush armed with a keen interest in insects, geology and natural ecosystems. She also has a hidden talent for belly dancing and is a professional belly dancer in her spare time.
Forever curious, Trish starts a new chapter at safariLIVE, looking forward to bringing the wild to viewers that may never get a chance to go on safari. She believes that being live and answering questions in real-time are huge components of creating authenticity in the show. At safariLIVE she will endeavour to be an excellent guide that can bring the science of plants and animals to the audience and is looking forward to becoming as familiar with the terrestrial environment as she is with the sea.
Next, we welcome back a familiar face at safariLIVE, Lauren Arthur, our spritely diveLIVE presenter who joins us from the Caribbean coasts to present live from the bush! Originally from Scotland, Lauren is a marine biologist with a degree in zoology and a boundless love for the ocean. Lauren has spent her professional life in the Maldives where she put her marine biology prowess to use, developing a particular love for manta rays. A self-proclaimed “mermaid” she spends more time in water than not, exploring reefs, caves and other pockets of the underwater world.
Lauren admires safariLIVE for its unique ability to allow people to immerse themselves in the real beauty of nature they may never otherwise get to see. In terms of swapping fins for hiking shoes? She’s looking forward to joining the safari, to expanding her horizons beyond marine life, to venture out and to explore a new ecosystem. In her own words, going “from lionfish to actual lions.” Ultimately, she believes, it’s crucial to educate people in the ocean and on land as the two are completely intertwined and the health of each realm is vital to the survival of the planet.
Pat is a fresh-faced marine biologist from Australia who initially charmed us on the screen of diveLIVE with his in-depth knowledge of coral reefs, underwater mammals and love of the “Leafy Sea Dragon.” Growing up surrounded by ocean, freshwater and beaches, he describes knowing marine biology was his calling at the tender age of 4, before he could even read or write. After getting a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and aquaculture from Flinders University in Adelaide, Pat was hired back by the university to lecture and to conduct research in their laboratories. Soon after he found himself in the “hot seat” as a presenter for diveLIVE in the Cayman Islands.
Despite being nervous about leaving his underwater comfort zone, Pat is ready for a new challenge and to try his hand at the whole new terrain of the African bushveld. When he’s not busy free-diving with dolphins, he practices Muay Thai and playing guitar. His hope for his time on safariLIVE is to be someone who can, through his actions, make people care for and do more for the environment whether it be through research, hands-on work, teaching or standing in front of a camera.