Get to Know South Africa Battlefields Guide Kevin Smith

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We get to know Kevin Smith of San Safaris as he takes a break from taking his clients on a discovery of both the wildlife and the battlefields of South Africa to tell us all about his area of expertise.
How did you get into your field?

I went on a staff trip and enjoyed it. Then I started studying battlefields and decided to take early retirement and go for it.

How did you make the transition to becoming a tour guide?

I completed a course through Drumbeat Academy in Pretoria, registered and started advertising.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Some hard work, learning, some administration and preparation, then heading out on safari which involves driving, telling stories and explaining and educating.

I try to access the client and work at making it interesting for them. The level of knowledge of clients differs and you need get on their level.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing a client as interested as I am in the story.

What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had on a guided tour?

I was in my Terios when I found out that when in 4X4 mode you cannot reverse. I discovered this at a time when a disgruntled elephant was mock charging us!

Ever had any odd requests from clients?

My last client did not want a battlefields tour but wanted to meet the local people and chat.

As an experienced guide yourself, can you explain to our readers what the benefits of hiring a guide are?

That’s easy. Without an experienced guide, the client would, firstly, not know where to go as the signs to battlefields in South Africa are very poor. Secondly, once at the site, the client would not know what happened there and, thirdly, the client would not know how the event fit into history.

In the bush, the client might not know the names or the ecology, plants and animals etcetera.

Tell us something about your area/activity that only a guide would know.

There are many things from the star constellations (in terms of astronomy and astrology) to trees, plants, birds, animals, reptiles, insects and battlefields happenings.

In your view, what makes a good tour guide?

A good guide has the ability not only to entertain but also to educate the client and give him or her an experience of a life time.

And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?

It’s hard from the outset but TRUST is the biggest thing for me and it can only be gained by experience.

 

If you liked this, you may also enjoy Explore South Africa.

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