In July this year, we went on our first #MyFieldGuide adventure – inviting you to virtually journey into the bush with our expert field guides, and sometimes special guests, to experience Kruger – no matter where you are in the world!
On each #MyFieldGuide adventure you get to be part of our bush adventures by asking our guides your questions.
Alison has been a field guide with Echo Africa since 2016.
Her favourite animal? Wild dog 🙂
Why she became a field guide?
In 2013 I was living in Hoedspruit. One morning I came across a female leopard in my backyard at 4H30 as I was getting ready for boarding school. I ran back towards the house calling my father screaming “I just saw a leopard”. We jumped in the car headed out to find the leopard again. I came home that weekend from hostel and my dad gifted me with a track and sign book. And the rest is history!
What is your favourite bird?
My favourite bird is a Pennant Winged Nightjar.
Why Kruger National Park above any other Park?
Kruger has been in my blood since I was a little girl. As I got older I came to Kruger more and more. I fell deeply in love with the bush and how pure it is.
What is your favourite Kruger story?
Kruger teaches me something about nature everyday, whether the lesson for today is to listen rather than see, or to notice something out of the ordinary like zebra eating burnt leaves.
Any advice for first time Park visitors?
- Plan your route in advance
- Befriend a guide with a simple “hi , how you doing”
- Most importantly have fun and let your hair down.
- Don’t drink and drive, and most of all don’t speed – this is the animals home
Any tips to keep in mind when tracking.
Lee Gutteridge taught me to never look down whilst tracking, always look in front of you, thinking like the animal you are tracking. Observe the animals behavior whether it’s walking towards water or feeding grounds.
Special guest Nadav Ossendrywer from Latest Sightings.
Nadav, the most passionate (and highly knowledgable) Kruger buff, feels very much part of our Mdluli family. Nadav was the first guest to stay at the lodge, with Chief M.I Mdluli in December 2019, before we even officially opened to guests.
We have built a wonderful partnership with the mastermind and Founder & CEO behind the very successful Latest Sightings community. It was amazing to have him join Alison on safari the past few days to share these stories & learnings of Kruger – come back soon Nadav!
Are you a qualified field guide?
I am not a qualified field guide yet, but I am finishing university this year and I plan on doing my FGASA Training next year.
What is your favourite bird?
I’ve got two favourite birds. One is the Gorgeous Bush Shrike and the other is the Woodlands Kingfisher – I can sit the whole day and listen to their beautiful sounds. They are always around during the rainy season and it reminds me of the thick, lush bush and seeing these beautiful blue birds shining in the trees.
What has been one of your most memorable moments in Kruger?
One of my most memorable moments was being the first guest to stay at Mdluli with the Chief. Because Latest Sightings has worked with Mdluli right from the start, before there were even tents built and it was still just sand and basically a construction site. And going from there to actually sleeping in one of those tents, and seeing the lodge running and operational is really special.
What is your favourite animal?
My favourite animal is the wild dog. They are very caring for each other. I have seen a wild dog with a snare and they will hunt and still allow that dog to eat. I also find that they are always doing something (besides for the day while they are asleep) but when they are up and active – they are always busy playing, hunting, chasing hyena. There is just never a dull moment.
Why do you enjoy a bush walk?
What I love most about bush walks is seeing the tracks. I have a huge passion for tracks and I find it fascinating that you could tell the story of what happened without ever really seeing it
Name one sighting you have never had but dying to see?
I have never seen a Pangolin and would love to see one 🙂