Juan Pinto is the former Head Ranger at Royal Malewane and has now taken up a position as a director at Royal Malewane allowing him to concentrate on the broader wildlife experience as well as critical conservation efforts. He is the most qualified guide in the business and has a unique set of formal guiding qualifications:
- The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) – Level III professional guide
- Special Knowledge and Skills (SKS)-Dangerous Game
- Master Tracker
- Juan was the first active guide to be awarded the honorary title of Scout by FGASA in recognition of achieving the highest qualifications as a guide and as a tracker
Juan and erstwhile Head Tracker, Wilson Masiya have created an ethos that permeates through Royal Malewane, sharing their passion for the African bush and ensuring that all the rangers and trackers strive towards the same goal – to be the best guiding team in Africa. Royal Malewane is proud to have three of only seven living Master Trackers in the world and the only three in the entire Greater Kruger National Park.
All the game rangers at Royal Malewane hold the highest FGASA qualifications as well as advanced rifle handling certificates. These qualifications ensure guests enjoy an exceptional wildlife experience – not only while on a game drive, but also on foot.
Our greatest priority is guest safety. All our guides and trackers receive ongoing, on-site wilderness emergency training from experts in the field.
The guiding team has over 410 years of African bush experience between them which means that each safari can be personalised according to our guests knowledge and interests.
Meet the Rangers
Juan has worked in the guiding industry since 1993 and has been instrumental in raising the professional standards of the industry. Juan implemented Royal Malewane’s highly sought after Guiding and Tracking apprenticeship programmes.
His endless desire to learn, improve and innovate ensures that the wildlife experience at Royal Malewane goes from strength to strength.
Ryan is the Head Ranger at Royal Malewane. He was born in Zimbabwe and started working in the guiding industry in 1999 after completing a diploma in game farm management. Ryan joined Royal Malewane in 2004. He is a FGASA Level III Professional Guide with SKS-Dangerous Game and National and SKS-Birding. He is also a Level III Tracker with a Professional Track and Sign qualification.
Ryan holds a diploma in Photography and loves sharing this passion for wildlife photography with our guests.
Riaan entered the industry in 1999 and has worked as an ecologist in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and as a field guide in the Sabi Sand and in the Karoo. 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 III Tracker.
He joined Royal Malewane in 2006 and is the second Royal Malewane guide to win the coveted FGASA Safari Guide of the Year Award. The week-long contest consists of a gruelling schedule of bush walks, game drives, birding assessments, advanced rifle handling contests, tracking and storytelling – under the close scrutiny of a panel of six judges – all experts in their field.
Rudi Hulshof has been in the industry since 1997. He has been a head guide and has held senior management roles within the industry. He is a passionate photographer and is an ambassador for Sigma.
Rudi started out studying a BSc in Geology. He is a FGASA Level III Professional Guide with SKS-Dangerous Game. He is also a Level III Tracker and an Advanced Trails Guide.
Rudi joined Royal Malewane in 2014.
Nicola holds an honours degree in nature conservation from the Tshwane University of Technology. After studying she gained practical experience working for South African National Parks in their game capture division.
During this period she was especially involved in the large scale re-introduction of herbivores into the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
Nicola joined the Royal Malewane apprenticeship programme in 2011. It was under the tutelage and guidance of the highly experienced Royal Malewane guiding team that she showed great drive and commitment and the decision was made to offer her a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship.
Nicola is a FGASA Level III Field Guide, a full Trails Guide and a Level I Tracker and is one of the most qualified female guides in the industry.
Nik completed his Royal Malewane apprenticeship in 2009 and won FGASA’s Safari Guide of the Year in 2012.
Nik is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide with National and SKS-Birding, an advanced trails guide and a Level III Tracker with a Professional Track and Sign qualification. He also has a Southern Africa SKS-Birding qualification and a diploma in nature conservation.
Jonathan has been working in the guiding industry since 1995 and joined Royal Malewane in 2005. He is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide with a SKS-Dangerous Game qualification.
Jonathan also holds a diploma in wildlife management.
Darrel started his guiding career in 1999. He established himself as a trails guide for Zululand walking safaris in Kwazulu-Natal before making the move north to Royal Malewane.
Darrel is a keen and accomplished photographer and once owned a photographic company.
He is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide, a Level II Tracker and has a diploma in game farm management.
Andre has been a part of The Royal Portfolio since 2016, when he was selected for the two-year apprenticeship programme at Royal Malewane. He showed incredible drive and commitment and became only the third field guide to be offered permanent employment at Royal Malewane upon completion of his apprenticeship.
Andre has a deep passion for Africa’s remote wilderness areas and also has a degree in film making.
Andre is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide, Lead Trails Guide and a Level III Tracker. Andre also holds a Professional Trailing qualification.
Wayne was born in Cape Town, and grew up in Johannesburg. He completed a national diploma in game ranging and lodge management in 2008, before entering the industry more than a decade ago.
Wayne worked on the Thornybush reserve for seven years before joining Royal Malewane.
He is a FGASA Level III Professional Field Guide.
HJ grew up in Royal Malewane’s local town, Hoedspruit. Anyone who spends time with him will quickly realise that the bush runs deep in his veins.
For the past decade, HJ honed his guiding skills in the Greater Kruger National Park.
HJ is a true ‘outdoorsman’ and when he is not at work, he is often found leading the famous Olifants backpack trail in the Kruger National Park.
He is a FGASA Level III Professional Guide, Level III Tracker with a Professional Track and Sign qualification, and also a registered Range Officer – a qualification that sees him very involved in guides’ rifle handling assessments.
Elias was born in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa in 2007 where he started training as a safari guide.
He started his career at Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape, before moving to Amakhala Game reserve and Welgevonden in the Limpopo province.
Elias is a highly schooled individual and holds an Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation and a BSc Honours Degree in Environmental Management. He is also a FGASA Level II Field Guide.