NAME: Adrian Bantich
DIARY ENTRIES: 11
PHOTOS UPLOADED: 25
VIDEOS UPLOADED: 0
CURRENT COMPANY: Ranger Diaries
On this day three years ago, I drove into the Kalahari in a Ford Bantam single pick-up loaded to the hilt. One times fridge, two times light old blue university trunks packed with pots and pans and plates, one times old computer desk top, some clothes, a then growing and now quite famous library of books and CD originals, bed linen and a few old items of memorabilia from the Kruger, were jam-packed into my cabby. All the above mentioned was covered with a tatty blue plastic tarpaulin. All the above mentioned was, at the time, all that I owned. If you had seen this, you may have compared my set up to that of a vehicle crossing the Beit Bridge South African Zimbabwe border post in the dead of night…yes, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
I had embarked on a new chapter in what was then a fairly short lived guiding career- a year in Pilanesberg and a near two in the Greater Kruger Area. Keen, a tad naïve and super enthusiastic, I unpacked and set up my new abode. I contemplated what the next few months would involve. Jo had already arranged a horse ride for us the following morning, something which I had minimal experience with, nonetheless excitement was the feeling in that one of what would be tons of new experiences had begun.
In writing this anecdote today, the latter does not feel like three years ago. It honestly (and no clichés here) does feel like yesterday. The proof being that I remember this so vividly. Time takes a ‘serious chill’ out here. My experiences have been rife. I have worked with such amazing people. I have learnt and grown both from and through such amazing people. Guiding and tracking with the likes of Johannes Tau, the late Gert Makotong, Moses Dolf (what a damn legend!), William Gaotsenwe , Samuel Vries and Jonnas Leeuw has been inspirational slash comical slash adrenaline-fuelled. Their willingness to share their astute knowledge in the lores of tracking is not often come across in this industry and for that I thank these men. From making films with Marco Tonoli, to contemplating the ways of the universe over a few quiet ones with my very long time friend Jo de Wilde, to slave-studying for level 3 in the lecture room with Malcolm Douglas- the list can carry on and on.
Three years ago I would have never thought that I would approach black rhino in the both calm and yet alert and experienced sense that I do nowadays. Three years ago today the thought of sitting and sipping on a Windhoek lager with the tracking guru Louis Liebenberg and talking about the spiritualties and philosophies of the bushman would never have even entered my mind. Three years ago the thought of spending a day out at the bushmen rock engravings with David Lewis-Williams would have felt imaginative to me. Spending four days guiding Bono and his family in this ‘acre of Africa’, well few can humbly say this. The guests, the people that keep us striving to guide another day, have been nothing short of phenomenal…they have been soulful.
There is so much more that I wish to write, and trust me I could. However it is late...and soon enough more stories will follow. In mentioning the above people, I suppose that that this is a thank you in reflection. I cannot help think what I will be writing in three years time. No doubt though I will still be in the bush...living the dream and playing this awesome game in the vast land of the land.