New Year? New Purpose.

Mom and baby spotted (aka laughing) hyena

People often assume that I’ve had an easy time finding work in South Africa. They guess that it must be easy for an American with a Masters degree to get a work visa. If not for my education and experience, then surely being married to a South African citizen should give me the ability to work.

Not so!

I’ve lived in this beautiful country for almost four years now. Getting a work permit is no walk in the park. You have to have a work permit to get a job, you can’t get a work permit without a job offer, and companies won’t offer you a job if you don’t have a work permit. Huh?!

A hippo calf checking me out

You have to have a work permit to get a job, you can’t get a work permit without a job offer, and companies won’t offer you a job if you don’t have a work permit. Huh?!

I did have a work permit for about 18 months, but it was revoked without warning (illegally, not that my former boss cared). As a result of these difficulties, I’ve worked largely as a freelance writer and editor.

But I’m about to start an exciting new chapter.

Dagga boy

In just over a week I will begin a 60-day training programme with Nature Guide Training to become a certified Field Guide in South Africa. Have you ever been on a safari, or watched a video of a game drive taking place? Assuming I pass the exams and excel in the course, I could become one of the people you see driving those game vehicles. It would be a dream come true – and would provide me with a new career path in South Africa!

The course will cover the following:

  • Guiding in the natural environment
  • Weather and Climate
  • Biomes of Southern Africa
  • Taxonomy
  • Plants and Grasses
  • Ecology
  • Birds
  • Arthropods
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Mammals
  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation Management
  • Historical Human Habitation
Mom and baby rhino

At the end of 60 days, when I’ve become a completely wild child, living in a tent, using basic shower and toilet facilities, not running or cycling (because only food runs in Kruger), I’ll qualify for certificates as a Field Guide, Emergency First Aid, Reptile Handling, Track and Sign, Trailing, CyberTracker, and FCASA Tracker.

Only food runs in Kruger!

It’s an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to get started. There aren’t very many women in this industry, certainly not many American women, so it’s an experience I plan to closely document and share. I won’t have regular internet but will try to keep updated as much as possible. Happy New Year and here’s to an awesome 2019!

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