Imbali Safari Lodge’s Head Guide, Warren Deyzel, has been chosen as a Safari Guide of The Year 2023 (SGOTY) finalist. This is a tremendous honour and a testament to the value that Warren and all of Africa’s guides contribute to a guest’s safari experience.
What is Safari Guide of the Year?
Safari Guide of the Year is an annual competition and event to generate awareness regarding the incredible people who dedicate their lives to tourism and wildlife. The competition sees five expert guides go head-to-head in various tests of skill. Categories are as follows:
- Game driving
- Hosting and hospitality
- Track and sign
- Guided walks
- Advanced rifle handling
- Guided photographic experience
- Bird slide and sound
This year, the finalists will compete in Hoedspruit at Kapama Private Game Reserve, the event’s host sponsor, from 2 – 7 June, with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) live-streaming from the fireside every evening, allowing keen viewers to get to know the finalists better.
Warren is competing against the cream of the crop, including Kimberlee Le Hanie of Lion Sands Game Reserve (part of the MORE Family Collection), Pioneer Moyo of Bushwise Field Guides, Jan Dykema of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, and Ruan Coetzee of Kapama Private Game Reserve.
These five finalists are the best of the best in the industry, all adhering to stringent qualifying criteria. Nominees must all:
- Have a minimum of five years of guiding experience.
- Have completed the Nature Site Guide (NQF4) qualification.
- Be a member of FGASA.
- Have the Trails Guide (NQF4) qualification.
- Currently work as a field guide at a lodge, field guide training delivery partner, or as a freelance guide.
The Managing Director of FGASA, Michelle du Plessis, and the co-founder of SGOTY, Mike Karantonis, interview each nominee. From there, only five are selected to compete.
A massive ‘congratulations’ goes out to all the finalists for getting this far. We look forward to celebrating every single one of you and your successes.
About Warren Deyzel
Anyone who has had the pleasure of exploring the beauty of the bushveld with Warren by their side will know how knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating he is. Originally from Johannesburg, Warren sought refuge from the bustle of the corporate world inside The Kruger National Park, where he completed his training as a Professional Trails Guide.
With mentoring and support, coupled with unrivalled dedication, commitment and sacrifice, Warren has since grown into a respected guide within the tourism industry. His passion for people and nature shines through in everything he does.
“This journey has brought me through the ranks of FGASA level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Back-up, Lead and Professional Trails, and finally through to the highest recognised qualification in guiding, Special Knowledge and Skills: Dangerous Game (SKS:DG). Along this journey of understanding the environment and being able to share this with guests from all over the world, I have been recognised as a Safari Guide of the Year finalist. It brings me great pleasure to represent Imbali Safari Lodge, my home of choice,” Warren says.
The entire Extraordinary team can’t wait to cheer Warren on and watch the winners’ announcement at the awards ceremony, where the usually khaki-clad guides will scrub up and don their fanciest formal wear in anticipation of the results.
We know our previous guests will support Warren wholeheartedly in his efforts. We’d love to hear from you regarding your experiences with Warren by your side on safari. Share your stories with us on social media using the hashtag #SGOTY.
Don’t forget to follow Imbali Safari Lodge for updates and exclusive content regarding the event.
Instagram: @Imbali Safari Lodge