Q&A with Markus Coerlin

I have had the privilege of living and working in some of the most remote areas of Southern, Central and Eastern Africa for the past 15 years. Africa is truly one of the purest continents with so much to offer.


  • How did you start out in guiding?

    From an early age my passion for the outdoors and traveling was fueled by my fathers stories who was a globetrotter and guide for many years. While growing up in South Africa our holidays were spent in the bush. My career started in 2003 when I worked as a volunteer in Botswana at a horse safari. Back then we were called “slaves” and work consisted of anything from digging holes, cleaning up the stables to folding dinner napkins and preparing sun downers. It was never the plan to become a guide and I kind of just fell into it.

    Safari life is like the mafia, once you are in you can never get out and 15 years later I am still loving the adventure and the outdoors as much as ever.

  • What’s your favorite place in Africa and why?

    Wow, tough choice. Every country has it’s own unique beauty and feel to it. Africa is such a vast continent and has so much to offer and it would not be fair to say one is better than the other. I loved the pureness of Zambia and the freedom one had there in terms of combining walking safaris with canoeing and night drives. Ethiopia’s rich culture and ancient Christian heritage touched my heart in a deep and profound way that I had not felt in ages. Tanzania has that feeling of open space and pioneering whether you are trekking through forest looking for chimpanzees or admiring the great plains scattered with wildebeest. Botswana has the most amazing southern African trees and the contradiction of being in a hot and dry environment and suddenly this life line of water that somehow managed to find it’s way inland. Malawi’s people and lake will make you want to live on an island there forever… they are all special and unique and there is still so much more to explore!

  • Have you ever been really scared on safari?

    I used to do the walking safaris in Tarangire National Park for a luxury safari camp. Tarangire boasts the highest density of elephants in Africa and it is one of the most intense places I have ever worked. During the dry season the Silale swamps act as a sponge and releases water into the Tarangire river which becomes the only drinking place for thousands of animals. It is very easy to go on a walk there and bump into a hundred elephant within an hour. They are just everywhere. It’s the only place where I have ever had to chamber my rifle twice during one morning walk, first while coming across two sleeping buffalo in the high grass and then 10 minutes again later while being charged by a heard of elephant.

    That place was just so much fun!

  • What three books do you recommend your guests read before going on safari?

    • The tree where man was born by Peter Matthiessen
    • Elephantoms by Lyall Watson
    • Mimi and Toutou Go Forth by Giles Foden
  • What are the three most important pieces of kit for guests to bring along?

    A good pair of binoculars, a good attitude and maybe a good bottle of whiskey.

  • What is your motto in life and what concepts are sacred?

    Life is short and this is probably our last life on this Earth so why not make the most of it.

  • Which rules have you made, which ones do you follow and which rules do you break?

    • If you are going to walk in the bush on your own and unarmed, do it doing the midday heat. Most predators are usually be sleeping at that time.
    • If you are going to go for a swim in the bush, always change time and location. Crocodiles are creatures of habit. In and out is also advisable.
    • Try not to fall asleep by the camp fire.


  • What's your most embarrassing or comical moments ever on safari?

    I was doing a walk with some guests at Tsodilo Hills in Botswana. It was late September and  it was getting hot. Having lived not far away on the Nxamaseri channel at a fishing camp, I had forgotten how hot the sand could really get and as I was usually always running around barefoot in and close to the water I had left my sandals at home. That day was a cooker and exploring the bushman paintings consisted of me having to hop like an antelope from one bit of shade to the next.

My Travels


Cape Town

This is base during the safaris. Surfing, yoga, running and a social life is how I spend my days


Although I lived in Botswana many years ago, my recent trips have mainly been focusing on the Okavango Delta, Moremi, Khwai, Savuti and Magadigadi.

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A really nice country that has so much to offer but has never really been discovered.

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I lived in the Masai Mara for two years managing a safari camp in the heart of the park. It is a wonderful place with good wildlife all year round and perfect for wildlife photography.

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I went to Ethiopia on my own to explore it's rich culture and go hiking in it's unique environment. It is one of the most spiritual places I have ever been and a must on the list.

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