Ranger Karien guides out of Riverdene Family Lodge. She is friendly, has a warm smile and fun personality. Karien absolutely loves teaching children about nature and the animals at Shamwari.

Name: Karien Krugel
Title: Game Ranger
Started at Shamwari: 01 August 2018
Hometown: Jeffreys Bay
Previous roles: I worked as a foundation phase teacher in South Korea and at a school in Jeffreys Bay.
After spending time teaching, I needed a change where I could merge my love for nature with my love for teaching so I became a game ranger at Shamwari.


Ranger Karien


FGASA Field Guide
Track & Sign level 2


Photography, swimming, reading and horseback riding.


I’m passionate about nature and conservation and teaching the younger generation how important it is to conserve species. Many species are becoming extinct at a rapid rate.

Favourite part of the job:

Being out in nature in the early mornings as the sun rises and in the late afternoons as the sun sets. I would have to say one of my favourite feelings is sitting in a sighting where you are with your guests and the animals… You just feel at peace in that moment.

Ranger Karien Q&A



“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” – Dr Seuss

Favourite animal:

Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

They are very cute with their short tail and long beak. Their call is also a beautiful sound.

Favourite animal in a sighting:

Black rhino.

It is a rare sight to see a black rhino in the wild, even more so because they are classified as critically endangered. There is just something graceful about them, even though they are pure strength.

Most exciting encounter while on game drive:

I was guiding out of Riverdene Family Lodge and I had a lovely set of guests. We had seen many animals during a fun filled game drive and I was making my way back to the lodge. A colleague called into the radio mentioning the sight of a leopard nearby.

As I approached Chanyisa’s drift where it was last seen, and we spotted him resting peacefully. He then got up and walked past my vehicle and proceeded to go into the bushes surrounding the drift so I decided to go into the drift to see if we could relocate him and he was nowhere to be seen. We waited for a little while as it started to get dark. Suddenly, we heard movement from a nearby bush and he resurfaced again. The leopard walked toward us and in the next second, an owl swooped down and attacked the leopard’s back, the leopard rolled onto his back and gave a stern growl as the owl flew away.

It all but lasted a few seconds as he got back up, proceeded to walk past my vehicle where he then disappeared into the bushes once again.

My guests and I were in awe as it all went down. Just a few seconds and it was over, but the sighting will remain one of my highlights of my guiding career.


Leopard at Shamwari

Photographed by Ryan Plakonouris