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Meet our tour leader Graeme Anderson

Guide, historian, naturalist and cook Graeme Anderson does it all on our adventures to South Africa and Eswatini. He’s led countless tours over 20 years, yet nature always finds a way to surprise him.
“My family has been in South Africa for seven generations and I’ve been taking people on tours for 20 years,” Graeme says when we grab a moment between guiding, cooking for his guests and doing all of the other hands-on tasks it takes to make an adventure here successful. “We get all different sorts of people, from those who have been on multiple safaris to guests that are experiencing it for the first time. It’s not fair to say I have a favourite, but I do love to see the enthusiasm of a first timer. We are like kids in a candy store! Because a safari is on so many people’s bucket lists, when they finally get here, you can stop anywhere, even near the more common animals like impala, zebra or giraffes, and feel their joy. To me, those moments can be the best part of a trip. It’s an honour to share my knowledge of the wildlife with them and you can really feel their appreciation.”
 
Whether it’s seeking out the Big Five in the precious conservation area of Kruger National Park or exploring the rainforest at Robberg, Graeme says that the wonder has never worn off for him either. “I haven’t seen pangolins or aardvarks as you might only see them once or twice on your whole guiding career. I’m still waiting!” Even the animals he sees regularly teach him new things as he goes.

“Animals do strange things, on every tour we’ll see one doing something we don’t understand!” he said. “That’s when I have to draw on my knowledge of wildlife, and the seasons, to make an educated guess. Perhaps it’s a giraffe breaking down a termite mound to get nutrients. It happens at least once a trip.”
While his homeland is filled with many wonderful creatures, butterflies being his recent fascination, Graeme’s favourite come as a surprise. Is it a mighty lion? The noble elephant?

“People ask this often and when I give my answer, they look at me as though I’m strange… It’s zebra! Why? They’re just so funky! They’re like horses wearing pyjamas! They’re just so caring towards each other too. They lie in rows, with one resting its head on the next one’s rump. You know they’re best buddies and there’s something so endearing about that!”
 
As well as wildlife, Graeme takes pride in teaching guests of his country’s culture, from touring the Zulu battlefields to giving them a taste of its past influences with a well-cooked South African Malaysian curry.

As busy as his adventures get, he never takes it for granted. “My job is many people’s dream holiday, that they might only do once in a lifetime,” he says. “I absolutely love it, I can’t imagine doing anything else.”