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Phill Steffny – a guide’s guide

Phill Steffny is another of our hard working private guides and we found a gap in his very busy schedule to dig a little deeper into to discover his life’s Phill-osophy.    Here is what he shared with us…

Q: How do you get into guiding?

A: We always spent time in the bush as a family, my mother was involved in the safari industry in the early 1970’s and 1980’s – she was quite the pioneer in that regard actually.  It was my experiences in that environment that moulded my dreams of becoming a game ranger, which I later did and then transitioned into private guiding.  It really was written in the stars of the Kruger National Park’s skies one might say!

Q: Your most memorable game viewing experience?

A: I was incredibly fortunate to witness a buffalo give birth while on a walking safari!  Needless to say, we didn’t stick around for long for fear of upsetting mom (not an animal one typically wants to encounter on foot when they are upset and sore) but this was just an incredible moment to witness.

Q: Where have you not been that you are most excited to explore?

A: Antarctica.  The vastness of the continent as well it being utterly different to anything I have experienced thus far from a wilderness perspective is what interests me about a trip here.  That and the silence.  That said, there is so much in Africa still to explore as well and I am really looking forward to discovering more of Central and Western Africa.

Q: What are your plans for the next few years?

A: More of the same really.  I have lots of safaris and adventure travel opportunities lined up, and hopefully that trip to Antarctica too at some point.

Q: When you aren’t guiding, what do you do to unwind?

A: I love spending time with my family, this is critically important to me as I am away from them for long stretches when I guide.  I also do my best to keep fit and active – that makes the guiding easier too.  I enjoy trail running, mountain biking and surfing.  My home town of Cape Town is a great environment to live in to get all the above done in a day!

Q: You seem quite handy with a camera – what is your top tip for the novice photographer going on safari for the first time?

A: I really think the best thing one can do is to take some time to learn a little about the camera you have before you travel, takes some pics of the pets, before focussing on a lion.  That way you can be ready to go as soon as you get to your destination and not waste valuable safari time trying to figure things out.  Of course, I also suggest traveling with one of Anderson Expeditions guides who can help you out!

Q: What item (other than your passport) can you simply not travel without?

A: Music – I can’t do without it.  If I was to suggest a critical item that guests should be sure to have ready to go at any time whilst traveling on safari – that would be a quality pair of binoculars!

Q: What are the trends in travel that most excite you?

A: I am enormously excited by the increase in adventure travel options these days, where the experience becomes as important as the destination (see our Niassa and Zakouma expeditions for examples of this adventurous type of travel).

Q: What book would you encourage your guests to read?

A:  “Legacy” by James Kerr.  It is a great read about the essence of the success of the New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks.  It is full of some great insights and life lessons.  As a South African, we tend to regard rugby as something akin to a religion and the All Blacks are the bitter rivals, who often have the upper hand on our national side the Springboks – this book really unpacks the thinking behind success and team work.

Q: Favourite movie of all time, and why?

A: I loved “Free Solo”. It is a new documentary on free rock climbing and an attempt to climb the North Face of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park – really radical stuff.  Those pioneering climbers and adventurers really inspire me and encourage me to push the envelope of adventure.

As with all of our private guides, Phill can be requested to accompany you on your safari.  Please simply let us know should you wish to have him guide you.