“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Luke warm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
Ellerman House’s Executive Chef, Veronica Canha-Hibbert, recently drew my attention to these sage words from Roald Dahl’s novel, “My Uncle Oswald”. Yet another quote to add to our Instagram‘s growing list of #bklittlewisdoms (Bushmans Kloof’s Little Wisdoms). A quote that speaks so perfectly to the man featured today, the so-called Bush Man of Bushmans Koof, that it was impossible for me to start this blog in any other way.
I’d like to introduce you to Jannie Van Wyk, Field Guide at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg of South Africa. Today’s 10 Questions offers a glimpse at life through his eyes, a veritable “enthusiast in life”, a youth whose passion is as white hot as the embers of the campfire he gathers travellers around and the night stars he can pinpoint in the flash of a laser.
10 Questions With Bushmans Kloof’s Jannie Van Wyk
1. Five important things to remember when living in the wilderness?
- Keep a relative level of fitness; a healthy body hosts a healthy mind.
- Have a good, if not personal, relationship with your colleagues as they will help and support you when times are tough.
- Prepare yourself for being away from your loved ones for extended periods and make the most of the time you have with them when you are on leave.
- Stay positive. No one enjoys a grumpy guide.
- Keep your mind occupied and keep learning every day.
2. Five things being a guide at Bushmans Kloof has taught you about yourself, life and love?
- There is always a sense that something amazing might be around the next corner… and most times there is. Get your tekkies on and go find it!
- The thrilling scenery is ever changing; every day is unique and special.
- It truly is inspiring to sit at a rock art site and marvel at the beauty around you; it is a sense of peace I have not felt anywhere else.
- Bushmans Kloof has shown me what can be achieved if a team has a common goal and work hard together to achieve it.
- I have learnt that to truly appreciate what you see before you, you must first understand it and to fully understand takes time and effort. We as the guides at Bushmans Kloof pride ourselves in helping people see, understand and appreciate it for themselves.
3. What training did you have to complete for your role as guide at Bushmans Kloof? (For those reading who don’t know just how truly qualified you are…)
I grew up having parents that love nature. That love was passed on to me and I was hooked! After school I studied conservation ecology at the University of Stellenbosch and then attended The Nature College and completed the Ranger Development Programme. I then registered to become a legal guide in South Africa. I did my Internship at Karoo National Park where I worked and refined my techniques and learnt many valuable lessons. When my internship ended, I applied to work at Bushmans Kloof and was fortunate enough to have my application accepted. I look forward to working here for a number of years to come.
4. Favourite part about living in the bush and particularly at Bushmans Kloof?
Bushmans Kloof is very supportive of our natural curiosity as guides and encourages us to better understand our surroundings by experiencing it fully. There is a wealth of fauna, flora and impossibly beautiful rock art to see and it truly feels like you are living in a wonderland. The best thing about living in the veld is seeing the connections. Realising that everything is connected and every now and then trying to connect to it yourself.
5. Complete the sentence: When there are no guests around, I…
Grab my camera, get in the safari vehicle and head out to the veld.
6. It is believed that rangers and guides must be a little crazy to live out in the wilderness away from family and friends for such extended periods. How do you keep the crazy at bay in the bush?
Have fun as much as you can.
7. Most memorable moment on safari?
Being charged by a male black rhino whilst on foot (at Karoo National Park).
8. Favourite time of day in the bush? Why?
Sunrise or set… for the unbelievable array of colours on display and the beautiful silhouette of the Cederberg Mountains.
9. Favourite dish to make or have made for you at Bushmans Kloof?
My personal favourite is lamb chops and boerewors on the braai with a fresh green salad and my favourite meal from Bushmans Kloof is the fish curry!
10. Next adventures for the bucket list? Have you learnt to Riel yet?
The Okavango Delta. As for Riel, not yet, but I’ll try my best.
Discover more from this wild corner of Africa for yourself at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat.