We recently sat down with another of our exceptional guides, Fraser Gear, and got some fascinating insights into what makes him tick. This is what Fraser shared with us…
Q: Where have you lived and worked in your years as a guide. (His answer put him firmly in our “well-travelled guide” folder).
A: I have lived and worked in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar, Congo, Uganda and Tanzania. I have also guided expeditions and naturalist tours in Rwanda, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Chad, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia and Borneo. I took part in the Peru “Birding Rally Challenge” for two consecutive years and finally explored Peru, Ecuador and Panama on a year off sea kayaking and birding. I have visited the UK, France and Switzerland.
Q: How did you get into guiding?
A: Since I can remember I always knew I would work in the bush. As a youngster, fresh out of school it was not obvious how to go about that, so I took a job as a manual labourer on a research station close to Kruger National Park. Spending time in the wilds, I became passionate about tracking and trees. With a bit of local knowledge behind me I was accepted onto a selection course in a private game reserve to be a “game ranger”. After successfully carrying gum poles around, navigating alone and terrified through lion country to retrieve rocks from distant locations and failing to correctly identify grass species, I was offered a job.
Q: Your most memorable game viewing experience?
Wow – impossible question. I count myself as privileged to have had so many incredible and moving experiences. Stand out memories include being surrounded by hundreds of trumpeting and rumbling forest elephants in the middle of a bai (clearing in the forest) on a pitch-black night. Kayaking alongside mating Humpback Whales in the Pacific. Scarlet Macaws in the Amazon. An intimate encounter with Orangutan in Borneo and some epic tracking and walking with lions and black rhino in the Namib desert.
Q: Where have you not visited that you are most excited to explore?
A: The Lomako Forest Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I would really love to meet some Bonobo’s.
Q: What are your plans for the remainder of 2019?
A: This year I will be moving back to South Africa to make a home in a nature reserve there, after years of being a nomad. I am also have some really exciting guiding expeditions lined up with Anderson Expeditions. Once settled in to my new home, I am excited to create a permaculture garden and, whilst doing all of the above, to have a blast and live life to its full.
Q: When you aren’t guiding, what do you do to unwind?
A: Sea kayak camping trips with Sandra are my favourite way to relax. I also really enjoy gardening with indigenous plants, and love a spot of birding and botanizing for citizen science projects. Music, food and friends help all of the above.
Q: What is your top tip for the novice traveller going on safari for the first time?
A: Get your own decent binoculars and look at everything through them.
Q: What item (other than your passport) can you simply not travel without?
Q: What are the trends in travel that most excite you?
A: Simplicity, adventure and exploring biodiversity.
Q: What are you reading at the moment?
A: “The Invention of Nature. The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt – the Lost Hero of Science” by Andrea Wulf. Awesome!
Q: Favourite movie of all time, and why?
A: Pulp Fiction – it is a masterpiece. I love the dark humour and gritty action.
As with all of our private guides, Fraser can be requested to accompany you on your safari. Please simply let us know should you wish to have him guide you.