NAME: Adrian Bantich
DIARY ENTRIES: 11
PHOTOS UPLOADED: 25
VIDEOS UPLOADED: 0
CURRENT COMPANY: Ranger Diaries
This is not a biography. This post isn’t about how a man learnt the ways of the bush lore and tracking and all of those details that seem insipid and very cliché to me these days. This story is an attempt to describe how one tracker takes one of the most difficult and old school survival arts (and now a profession) and proceeds to conduct it in what only can be described as the epitome of authentic yet chic A- grade style. This story is a little snippet into the amazing activities of head tracker William Gaotsenwe.
Willie G. is a quiet man, and can ooze humility. However, the man is clearly not a fan of incompetence and mistakes. On many an occasion he has cut me down – clinically – when I have missed a track or incorrectly identified spoor…and in doing so has educated me in ways that many a mentor strives to achieve. Many who have frequented Tswalu know, at times, how us field guides have to trek off into the arid west at quite a speed in order to move into rhino country. Even at speeds of 40k’s per hour I am often astounded when that hand mimicking a traffic officer is non-chalantly raised in a super relaxed manner. And very often the result of the halt has been for William to point out strikingly fresh tracks of white rhino, black rhino, cheetah…even pangolin! Have you ever seen what a pangolin track looks like in the sand? Well it resembles a semi-scuff print of a walking stick…in my opinion. Willie sees these stories in the sand, and within a millisecond of what is obviously accelerated thought, either commits to or laughs off the tracks. I realised very early in our working relationship that his decisions are not for up for debate or argument as the man has NEVER been wrong…true story.
To cut it short, yes, William Gaotsenwe misses NOTHING. I honestly wish that I had the man’s eye for just one day. And I often wonder as to how the analytical cogs turn in that incredible brain of his… as it is still inconceivable to me.
I have grown leaps and bounds since working with the like of Tswalu trackers like William Gaotsenwe, and noted will continue to evolve in the learned arts of tracking and bush lore due to these men. I also know that when I get complacent, there will always be someone to bring me back down to reality…and someone to aid me in maintaining my humility.
Willie G. You are a legend my friend.