Ranger Siya guides out of Long Lee Manor. He is pleasant, very friendly and has a contagious smile that he’s always wearing. An interesting fact about Siya is that he has learnt a bit of German and can identify animals by their names for German guests. He is also great with children!
Name: Siyanda Mgidlana
Title: Game Ranger
Started at Shamwari: 1 December 2016
Hometown: Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape
Previous roles: I worked as a police officer from 2004 to 2007 before realising my passion for wildlife. I then worked for Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency for a few years. Thereafter I joined Amakhala Game Reserve for a year.
FGASA level 1
I enjoy playing soccer and am part of a local team. My hobbies also include fishing and having a good braai with a few friends. I also like to watch the news and keep up to date with current affairs.
I am passionate about wildlife and entertaining guests. I love sharing my knowledge with guests and teaching them about the animals and plants at Shamwari. They often are amazed at learning about the medicinal uses of plants and herbs found all over the reserve.
Favourite part of the job:
I love showing my guests the beauty of nature and try my best to fulfill their dreams by providing them with an amazing experience. For many of my guests, coming to Shamwari is a dream that they have saved up for. It’s an honour for me to create a memorable lifetime experience for them.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu
Giraffe – they are so elegant and graceful. One of the many aspects I enjoy about them is that they are great spotters for danger! Something that fascinates me about these creatures is when a Giraffe calf is born, they have about a 2 metre drop to the ground!
Favourite animal in a sighting:
African Elephant – There’s never a dull moment with Elephants. I love that every sighting is special and unique. I love their family structure and that a few generations can be found in one herd.
Most exciting encounter while on game drive:
My guests and I went out on drive and we had been searching for the Elephants as they really wanted to see an African Elephant in the wild. It had been a tough drive and we had not found any. They were previously seen in the north of the reserve so we made our way up to the north to look for them. There are a lot of valleys in the north and it is quite a drive from the south to the north so it was proving to be a difficult task to find them.
Towards the end of the game drive I was driving in a valley and it was quite a dense area with lots of bush and the next minute we saw a large Elephant bull right in front of us. He was feeding on an Accacia Karoo Tree, also known as Sweet Thorn. This was very unexpected as he was standing behind the tree.
I noticed that he was on musth. This means that he was ready to mate and was wondering around looking for a female. When an Elephant Bull is on musth he can also be very unpredictable and is known to get agitated easily. As I approached he noticed us and walked out into the road and stood in front of our vehicle. At this time, I urged my guests to remain calm and lower their voices. They were so excited to see an Elephant but they also had mixed emotions about him being quite close to us.
The bull was curious and used his trunk to sniff towards the front of the vehicle. He then moved off and went back into the thicket of the bush. My guests were so pleased and after we left the sighting we spotted the big herd of elephant just a few meters ahead. My guests were smiling all the way home and talking about the amazing sighting of Elephants at Shamwari.