Introducing The Safari Guide Of The Year 2019 | The Royal Portfolio

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2 July2019

by Greg Cooke

Royal Malewane professional field guide, Riaan Fourie, wins the prestigious Safari Guide of the Year 2019 competition.

This prestigious title is awarded every year by the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), and represents a significant achievement for the winner.

The week-long contest consists of a gruelling schedule of bush walks, game drives, birding assessments, advanced rifle handling contests, tracking and storytelling around the campfire, all under the close scrutiny of a panel of six judges – all experts in their field. At the end of the competition, the individual category results are tallied and an overall score calculated for each contestant. The event was broadcast live by WildEarth TV.

The Safari Guide Of The Year competition is the biggest annual event on the guiding roster. Although the best guides in the industry have their skills pitted against each other, the competition aims at growing the guiding industry as a whole – promoting professional, ethical safari guiding.

A consistent performance over all the categories saw Riaan Fourie emerge as the winner. Riaan becomes the second Royal Malewane to win this prestigious trophy.

Riaan Fourie

Riaan entered the industry in 1999. He holds a National Diploma in Nature Conservation and is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide with SKS-Dangerous Game and SKS-Birding. He is also a Level II Tracker. Riaan worked as an ecologist in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and as a Game Ranger in the Sabi Sand and in the Karoo. He joined Royal Malewane in 2006.

"My job involves doing something that I am passionate about. I don’t think there are many people who can get up in the morning and truly say that they are excited about going to work." - Riaan Fourie

Riaan’s award is another remarkable achievement for the most qualified guiding team in Africa. Nikolas Vounnou, professional safari guide and member of the Royal Malewane Guiding Team, also won this prestigious award in 2012. The team continues to go from strength to strength and is now the only team in the world to have three Master Trackers.

Nikolas Vounnou

Nik completed his apprenticeship at Royal Malewane in 2009. He is an enthusiastic and committed guide who has his National diploma in Nature Conservation. He is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide with National and SKS-Birding. Nik is an advanced trails guide and a Level II Tracker.

Congratulations to Riaan on his recent achievement as well as to to the other four finalists and to the many individuals and organisations dedicated to raising the level of safari guides and trackers throughout the industry and to delivering unforgettable and safe safari experiences to South Africa’s many visitors from around the world.

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