10 Questions with Camp Jabulani’s Ranger Chane Jacobs

Chane Jacobs 2

Sometimes the people you meet on safari are just as fascinating as the wildlife. Chane Jacobs is one such person. Ranger at Camp Jabulani, photographer, writer and Princess (as she’s known to friends). A unique soul with a medley of talents and passions not often found in one being, and such a small being at that. Chane handles her Nikon as well as her rifle, loves her Land Rover as much as her strawberry milkshakes.

Despite being older than her, I found myself seeking her advice on life, and prying into her life, the way the curious do… Where did she come from, what was it that created such a diverse character, what gave her such confidence and courage that she could lead us into lion sighting after lion sighting, acting as our guide and protector?

Camp Jabulani 4

I photographed this Dichrostachys cinerea, (also known as the sicklebush, Bell mimosa, Chinese lantern tree or Kalahari Christmas tree) while watching a woodpecker making a home for his family out of the corner of one eye and Chane with the other. She reminds me so much of the plant with its little powderpuff-like pink flowers, a dash of colour and joy standing out amid the neutrals of the bush.

We bonded over clandestinely-caught leopard footage – read the blog here – and a shared love for both the written word and photography. But I still had more questions.

Meet Camp Jabulani’s Chane Jacobs in our 10 Questions below and follow her journey on Instagram. We’ve included some of her shots from the field below, as well as a few of our own from our time spent with her in the wilds of Kapama in South Africa.

Chane Jacobs 7

Above: Chane’s images taken on her daily safaris at Camp Jabulani

10 Questions with Ranger Chane Jacobs

1. Five important things to remember when living in the wilderness?
  1. Never run, whatever you do.
  2. Always stay aware of your surroundings.
  3. Remember to appreciate the little things.
  4. The simple life is the good life.
  5. Always expect the unexpected.

Chane Jacobs
Above: Chane explaining the wonders of elephant dung to our vehicle of safarigoers

2. Five things travel and the wilderness have taught you about yourself, life and love?
  1. I would much rather be in the bush than in a city. Even when I go on holiday, I end up going back to the bush.
  2. I travel and experience through the lens of my camera. Finding and appreciating what would’ve otherwise been overlooked, had it not made for a good photograph.
  3. Travelling has made me realise how small I am in this world, but regardless, I can still make a big impact.
  4. Travelling and being in the bush has taught me more than I ever learnt in a classroom.
  5. That finding a job you love means that you never work a day in your life.


3. How did you come to work at Camp Jabulani?

I studied through a company called Bushwise. After my 6 months of theoretical training, I got placed into a lodge in Ladysmith in order to gain practical experience. With my heart set on the Mpumalanga/ Limpopo region, I contacted Bushwise near the end of my placement period, after which my instructor, Charles Delport contacted his former colleague and friend, Kate Nelson, who was now co- managing Camp Jabulani. Kate was pleased to introduce a student into the ranger team and welcomed me with open arms. I was the first student and also the first female ranger ultimately employed at Camp Jabulani.

Camp Jabulani 3

Above: The Kapama Reserve where Camp Jabulani is set is the ideal place for a budding photographer. Images by Chane Jacobs.

4. How has being a young female affected the experience of being a ranger – a traditionally male-centric position?

It is tough, initially. Earning the respect of both colleagues and guests is quite the challenge, but one always has to remember that dynamite comes in small packages. I am fully capable of changing tyres, shooting with a .375 rifle, and enduring all other aspects in this industry. I have dealt with a fair share of non- believers, who went as far as to tell me to seek for alternative career paths, such as with the psychology field I graduated in at the University of Pretoria. Guests are often skeptical at first but many have ended their stay with a request for me to be their ranger during their following stay. It will still take time to change this preconceived male-centric notion, however, myself, and many other ladies in my position are changing minds, one set of guests and colleagues at a time.

Chane Jacobs 8

Above: Chane “Princess” Jacobs, bringing style to the bush

5.  Favourite part about living in the bush at Camp Jabulani?

Being able to photograph the beauty all around me.


6. Scariest moment encountered in the wilderness?

While on a bush walk with my instructor at Bushwise (Conraad Loubser), we unexpectedly walked into a big elephant bull. He was fortunately unaware of our presence, but as the wind changed direction, and we sat on our haunches observing, a movement to the right caught our attention. Within spitting distance stood an even bigger bull that none of us had seen. He approached us with ears wide open, staring down at us. We all stood up, standing our ground, which prompted the elephant to trumpet in a semi-circle around us, until he charged us, only stopping 4m in front of Conraad. With lots of screaming and clapping, the elephant bull finally backed off and headed into the thicket.

Camp Jabulani 2

7. There is a beautiful quote by Lord Byron that goes, “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.” How do you find alternating between the stillness and isolation of the Kapama Sand and the hubbub of city life when you go home or on holiday?

I recently had the opportunity to go to London, a major city, well known for various tourist attractions. It absolutely blew me away. I loved this parallel universe, but will always prefer the bush. I spend my life zoning in on sounds, smells and various insignificant cues, in order to accomplish my job. In a city, these senses are easily overwhelmed and I often get headaches within hours of arriving. I love the rush and change of scenery that come along with cities and holidays, but this cannot be endured for more than a couple of days at a time.

Chane Jacobs 6

8. What has surprised you most during your time at Camp Jabulani?

The team of rangers I have the privilege of working with are amazing. We all help each other out both in the bush and in the lodge. Also, our sightings are incredible. Due to the fact that Camp Jabulani does not have time restrictions for game drives, we are able to spend longer periods of time in sightings, often seeing and experiencing much much more than other guests from other lodges.

9. Favourite time of day in the bush and best way to start the day?

Either when the sun has just risen or when the stars have come out early in the evening. With the rising sun, comes great opportunities for encountering game on the move before the heat of the day sets in. The bird calls are also amplified due to the chill in the air and there’s an excitement that cannot be explained. In the evening, with stars in sight, one is able to capture amazing shots by means of opening the shutter of a camera. The art of painting with light, in the middle of a plains area, with lions roaring in the distance is incomparable to anything else.

The best way to start your day is with a smile.


10. The best adventure so far has been…

Becoming a ranger. This has always been my goal and it is incredible to be living my dream.

And the next adventure will be…

Who knows what the next adventure will be. For the time being, I am completely content, and look forward to publishing my own book in the very near future.

 Camp Jabulani 6