As most of you know by now, WildEarth has partnered with &Beyond to bring to you a daily LIVE safari from Ngala Private Game Reserve along with our regular drives from Djuma. There will be three guides who take you on safari from &Beyond Ngala and we want to introduce them to you.
Nikki’s contagious enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation was instilled at an early age. Growing up on his family’s farm in South Africa’s Free State. Nikki gained hands-on experience implementing sustainable farming practices, meticulously recording rare plant species, rehabilitating previously disturbed areas and completing several environmental education programmes.
This invaluable experience and unwavering passion for the environment would go on to shape Nikki’s future. He completed a qualification in Nature Conservation and Game Farm Management in 2015 and then enrolled at &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. A true gentleman and animal lover at heart, Nikki remains actively involved in caring for the land, wildlife and people and firmly believes that conservation should not be a job, but rather a lifestyle that is practised each and every day.
Roan du Plessis
At the young, impressionable age of seven, it was one particular private safari in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve that sparked Roan’s lifelong passion for wildlife. On the final morning of their family adventure, their guide, Ian, asked if Roan would like to help him with the tracking. Without hesitation, Roan scrambled into the tracker’s seat and those 30 minutes, pointing out every animal he could see, changed his life forever.
Over the years, Roan’s father would ask him what he intended to study after high school. His answer never changed: Roan wanted to become a game ranger. And so, a father/son deal was made. Roan’s father committed to supporting Roan through a university degree of his choice, and following graduation, Roan could pursue the career of his dreams, whatever that may be.
Roan completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town and during his study breaks, he completed as many wildlife courses as possible. In 2014, Roan joined &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and upon graduation, joined the &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve guiding team.
&Beyond Ngala is home to Roan and it is here that he truly discovered his passion for animal behaviour and wildlife photography. He has explored every corner of the reserve and continues to authentically live his motto: “love the life you live”.
Born and raised in South Africa, Shaun grew up going on safari with his family. His childhood days were always spent outdoors and with diverse, wildlife-filled landscapes such as the Kruger National Park and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve on his doorstep, it came as no surprise that Shaun would pursue a life dedicated to Africa’s wild places.
Shaun’s curiosity for nature extended to human nature too, and he went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch. His passion for learning and exploring soon took him abroad to Thailand, where he spent a year teaching English to children, followed by six months of training to become a certified scuba divemaster.
Upon his eventual return to South Africa, Shaun had decided with unwavering certainty that he would dedicate himself to a career in nature. He enrolled at &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2017, and upon graduation, joined the &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve guiding team.
With an ever-positive attitude and keen interest in the natural world, Shaun is happiest when he is outdoors. For him, guiding is the perfect combination of understanding wildlife and people, and he thrives on the enjoyment of others.