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Christmas Presents

HOW TO BE A GUIDE

Sue Watt spends a week with the team at Alex Walker’s Serian in Mara North Conservancy as part of their annual Pyramids of Life refresher course. She learns about animal behaviour and what it takes to be a guide
Serian’s Pyramids of Life course focuses on the smaller details, such as this tortoise beetle.
ROISIN ALLEN / ALEX WALKER’S SERIAN

An army of hundreds march through the mud in a solid black line, dutifully following their leader. We follow too, mesmerised from the moment they leave their home territory until the massacre comes to its gruesome conclusion. Their attack is swift, a sting operation designed to cause maximum chaos. It ends in carnage, with each assailant carrying at least one soon-to-be-eaten corpse back to base.

We’re witnessing a wildlife phenomenon that is astounding in its ferocity and focus, yet few people take the time to study Matabele ants hunting termites. They’re called sizzling ants in Kenya’s Masai Mara: we blow on them, and hear their collective hiss that’s intended to deter predators. “Those ants are definitely the highlight of the day!” Judy, one of our 10 guides, enthuses. It’s a strange choice perhaps since we’d earlier seen a gorgeous young leopard preening herself. But she’s no ordinary guide, and this is no ordinary safari.

Judy is a member of the award-winning guiding team at Alex Walker’s Serian camps in Kenya and Tanzania, and we’ve joined them on their annual refresher course called Pyramids of Life, which has recently opened up to guests.

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About Travel Africa

Life as a chimp - everything you need to know about this great ape • Kafue National Park's natural attraction • Driving around Zimbabwe • The Waterberg and Madikwe, South Africa • Tarangire on foot • Stunning leopard portfolio • Learning to guide in the Mara • Taking tea in Malawi • The Himba today... and much more!
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