We have a finite number of days on this earth, at least as I understand it anyway. Make sure as many of them as possible are spent adventuring in nature with the people you love.
How did you start out in guiding?
Wanting to be a safari guide (or game ranger as we knew it) was akin to the other careers young South African boys idealized like becoming a fireman or an astronaut. For me, the desire never left, and it was clear from a young age that I was happiest when in nature. On my school breaks, I began volunteering in the Kruger area before one day I was asked at the last moment to step in for a sick guide. I was asked to stay on and guide for two years in the South African Waterberg before seeking the mentorship and training I eventually found at And Beyond and Londolozi. Seven memorable years later I began my career private guiding.
What’s your favorite place in Africa and why?
The Hoanib River in Northern Namibia. Words can’t describe the deep peace of that wilderness. Desert lions and elephants, brown hyenas, ephemeral rivers, rolling dunes and breath-taking mountains, all in the embrace of the oldest desert in the world.
Have you ever been really scared on safari?
I had a few close encounters with elephants when I was untrained and inexperienced, a Mozambique spitting cobra rearing up a metre in front of me (the groin area to be precise, which was somehow more frightening), the cold shudder realizing I was standing in a leopard’s den, and a few other moments that got the heart rate up: all lessons I am grateful for receiving. The more carefully and respectfully we move through nature, the less likely we are to have a reactive encounter with a wild creature.
What three books do you recommend your guests read before going on safari?
Ecological intelligence by Dr. Ian McCallum
Elephantoms by Lyall Watson
The hidden life of trees by Peter Wohlleben
What are the three most important pieces of kit for guests to bring along?
A good pair of binoculars, if it is the only thing you bring, bring this. Those without binoculars miss out on a totally different world of observation.
If you are going to bring a camera, and you want to photograph wildlife, make sure you have a lens from 300mm upwards.
What is your motto in life and what concepts are sacred?
Be present and free of the outcome.
Which rules have you made, which ones do you follow and which rules do you break?
Nature makes the rules and she breaks them too. Respect nature, with integrity and pure intentions, and any rule can malleable.
What's your most embarrassing or comical moments ever on safari?
That one requires a campfire under the stars and a good bottle of red.
James is extremely attentive to his clients needs, and does a tremendous job of tailoring their experience accordingly. He surprised me with how thoughtful he is, his tireless attention to every detail and his vast knowledge. He is passionate and a bit of a walking encyclopedia (in a good way), so you will definitely learn a lot about the wildlife and environment around you. The end result will be a trip of a lifetime (and perhaps a desire to engage in conservation efforts). I’ve taken 2 trips to Africa now and have had a chance to compare him to several other guides. He is head and shoulders above them. I would strongly recommend him.
Neena Newberry, USA - June 2017
“From the moment we were greeted warmly until our fond farewell, James expertly managed every detail of our safari with perfection. He is not only an incredibly knowledgeable wildlife guide, he is a genuinely thoughtful and attentive person who ensures that each guest has an unforgettable experience. When it comes to exploring either wildlife reserves or remote wilderness, there is no one I trust more as a guide than James. What’s more, he is an accomplished photographer who brilliantly captures the otherworldly experience of being on safari. His beautiful photographic mementos remain a treasure long after the journey has ended. An inspiring wildlife advocate and a true gentleman, James Kydd is an exemplary safari guide second to none. On a scale from one to ten, this one goes to eleven.”
Jessica Baudette, USA - January 2018
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An Africa of a bygone era. It has to be seen to be believed. Home to the continent's greatest single elephant herd.
Kenya is an incredible destination rich in culture and diversity. Choose your experiences carefully if you wish to avoid the crowds.
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Gauchos, glaciers, tango, wine and Iguazu
There are possibly more terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates here than in any other country in the world. The Amazon, the Pantanal, Iguazu Falls and all the amazing creatures that are found there from giant anteaters to jaguars.
From the heart of the Andes to Ancient Incan cities the source of the Amazon
The Choco cloud forest, volcanoes, the Amazon and the Galapagos
Dramatic salt flats and deserts, Oruro Carnival, Amazon and Pantanal
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