We had a little Q & A session with one of our awesome ranger’s Raymond Simmons.
1. What made you decide to become a ranger?
As a child, I spent many years going on safaris with my parents. This was one of the major factors that brought on my enthusiasm for the bush. Early morning wake ups, running to the car in the cold and iced windscreens were all part of the experience before heading out to find the CATS. My dad always ensured we were first at the gate and last out of the gate. To me, these were the most memorable times with my dad. He has passed his passion and knowledge on to me.
2. What has been your most dangerous encounter?
One afternoon, I had stopped for drinks at an area called The Waterfall. This area is far off the main roads and very secluded. I got out of the vehicle and did a safety check, and all looked clear – or so I thought! Then I walked around the other side of the vehicle, and unwittingly walked straight into a heavily pregnant lioness! My first thought was to ensure that my guests were safe in the vehicle. Then my basic instincts took over and I managed to chase the lioness away.
3. What has been your best experience as a ranger?
This was the pleasure of finding my first leopard on the reserve. She was a beautiful female, and I spotted her alongside the road enjoying the warmth of the last few moments of sunshine. Once I had confirmed that she was indeed a female leopard, the tears started flowing from my eyes. It had taken me a year to find my first leopard at Nambiti and…wow…the wait was definitely worth it.
4. What do you think are the 3 essential items for any safari?
5. What do you do during your time off?
I stay at the lodge and work on skills such as tracking, tree identification and landscaping, as well as my hosting skills. I also ensure that all our vehicles are clean and that all the routine checks have been done.