Abel is an extremely passionate guide that has been with us for many years! His vast knowledge of the Eastern Cape fauna and flora make him an incredible asset to our team, not to mention his fun and quirky personality.

Name: Abel Gouza
Title: Game Ranger
Started at Shamwari: I originally started working at Shamwari as a gate guard in 1999, and became a ranger in 2007.
Hometown: Paterson, Eastern Cape
Previous roles: I worked at Shamwari all my life, in different departments until finally realising my passion for guiding.

Abel Gouza - Shamwari Ranger

Qualification:

FGASA Field Guide

VPDA back up guide (Viewing Potential Dangerous Animals)

Hobbies:

One of my biggest hobbies is spending time with my family when I’m not working. When I am working, one of my hobbies is meeting people from all over the world to learn about their cultures and how things work where they are from. I also love watching a good movie!

Passion:

I have a passion for understanding what one sees when one looks at nature. More specifically, the behaviour of the animals and how nature and animals work together in the wild. There is a reason why things are a certain way in nature.  I also  love tracking down animals.

Favourite part of the job:

I love showing what Shamwari has to offer to the rest of the world. Nature is brilliant and I love that I get to open my guests eyes up to the wonders of nature.

“Nature is all about patience, and reading signs and tracks.”

Favourite animal:

I love birds! My favourite would have to be a Jackal Buzzard.

They have amazing survival skills. It’s a large bird of prey that feeds on animal carcasses. Their call and feeding behaviour is much like the Black-backed Jackal.

Jackal Buzzard at Shamwari Game Reserve

Favourite animal in a sighting:

Predators on a kill, they all display different behaviours. Whether it be cheetah, lions, lion cubs, It’s the most fascinating sighting to have in the bush.

Most exciting encounter while on game drive:

Earlier this year, I went out on drive with my guests. We had an incredible cheetah sighting of one of the male cheetah on the reserve, after searching for him for days.

On our way back to the lodge, I drove through a water drift and something caught my eye from the side of the road. I stopped my vehicle to  have a good look and there it was, a honey badger! In all my years of guiding I have never seen a honey badger. I’ve only ever come across their fresh tracks.

I was absolutely speechless! Most of my guests have asked me whether we have honey badgers at Shamwari and it is almost always on their list of animals to see on safari. They are known to be notoriously vicious animals, and sightings are extremely rare!

I saw the honey badger surrounded by dust, when we took a closer look, we saw there were  6 jackal harassing the honey badger. We then noticed a second honey badger nearby. We were 15 metres from all this activity and it was awesome! The first honey badger we saw suddenly took off running in the opposite direction with the 6 Jackal on his tail. We then followed to see what would happen and that’s when the honey badger dug a hole so fast that we just caught a glimpse of his tail disappearing 10 metres in front of us.

My guests and I were in awe and were absolutely blown away by this sighting.

Ranger Abel - Shamwari Game Reserve