On the Trail with Jeffrey Mabasa

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During a South African safari with Thornybush Collection, it's easy to fantasize about moving to the bush permanently and leaving daily life far behind. However, it's not the kind of lifestyle for everyone. That said, when you're a man (or woman) of the bush you just know.

So it was for Jeffrey Mabasa of Serondella Lodge. This young man only needed one taste of suburban living to realise where he belonged.

Growing up in Nkuri/Tomu village, which is roughly 100km away from Thornybush Nature Reserve, Jeffrey's formative years were filled with the wilderness and he spent many a youthful day caring for his parents' goats, graduating to cows as he matured.

After finishing school, he moved to Johannesburg, lured by the bright lights and employment opportunities of the big city. He soon realised that a life surrounded by buildings and bustle could not compare with the joys of pastoral living, regardless of the economic benefits.

Back to the bush

He headed back to his old stomping grounds and enrolled himself in Tracker Academy in 2014.

At last, things were falling into place for Jeffrey, he thrived in the Academy and started his first job with Thornybush Collection in 2016. While he gained experience, he was employed as a relief tracker, splitting his time between Serondella and Monwana Lodges.

It didn't take Jeffrey long to earn his stripes and May 2018 saw him fully installed at Serondella as their full-time tracker. He's fitted right in and become a valuable member of the team at this intimate lodge on the banks of the dry Monwana River. Jeffrey describes his time at Serondella as follows:

"The thing I enjoy the most at Serondella Game Lodge is how comfortable it all feels with other staff members in what is a relatively small team at the lodge. Also, I have a very good relationship with management, in particularly Chewie the Ranger/Manager at Serondella".

Best foot forward

Naturally, Jeffrey's next ambition is to become a ranger himself and we wish him all the best with his studies in this regard.

During his tenure with us, Jeffrey has had many adventures, but the one memory that stands out the most has lions in it. On this occasion, he saw a hungry pride involved in taking down an adult buffalo. Although lion kills do sadden him, in this instance he felt privileged to see how the older lions showed their younger pride members the ropes throughout the process.

While he does respect the King of the Jungle's power and prowess, Jeffrey's favourite animal is the honey badger. He admires the tenacity, ferocity and can-do attitude of this fearless little creature.

On the personal front, Jeffrey is married and has 2 children. Take a trip to Serondella during your next South African safari and you too could benefit from Jeffrey's passion for the bush.

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Thursday, 18 July 2019