Dylan is an optimistic and vibrant ranger who is great with kids. He is enthusiastic, friendly and loves teaching his guests about the bush. He guides out of Riverdene Family Lodge and is passionate about discovering the smaller animals at Shamwari Game Reserve.

Name: Dylan van Aardt
Title: Game Ranger
Started at Shamwari: 01 May 2015
Hometown: East London
Previous roles: I was a game ranger at Sibuya Game Reserve


FGASA level 1
Back up trails guide


Fishing, Hiking, Cycling and I love the beach


I enjoy the smaller animals in the bush, insects and birds. The big five are incredible but there are many other interesting animals in the bush that I love to teach guests about.

Favourite part of the job:

Simply being in the bush with guests! I love my job and more so when guests are interactive on a game drive and when I can see their appreciation of their experience in the bush learning about all the animals.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”– Lord Byron

Favourite animal:

A Cheetah – they can reach incredibly high speeds at the drop of a hat. They have the ability to change direction instantaneously and I think that they are also one of the best-looking cats. They also make very cute sounds!

Favourite animal in a sighting:

Elephants. They are entertaining to watch and I enjoy seeing the bond that they have with each other. Sometimes, the young calves like to show off especially when they are learning how to use their trunks.

Most exciting encounter while on a game drive:

A few rangers and I were doing our walk from the North of the reserve to the South for our epaulettes challenge a few months ago when we came across the northern pride of lions. We started approaching them on foot, they weren’t aware of us at all.

As we got closer, 4 warthogs ran out and were oblivious to the danger they were about to run into. The lions saw them and started stalking them, they came to about 10 to 15m away from the warthog. The one lioness started chasing them and caught one. The other three warthogs started running towards us and we had to shout out to get them to run in a different direction.

The lioness then noticed us as we shouted out to get the warthog away. Two lionesses started stalking us and the one lioness burst into a charge and stopped only about 60m away from us. That’s when we started getting all the guides out one by one while two of us stood our ground.

The lioness then started charging us again and then stopped at about 30m away from us. Luckily, she then let us walk away and we managed to get away unharmed with an amazing story to tell.