Q&A with Warren Pearson

Whether it’s your first or your umpteenth time to Africa,  being able to share wildlife and cultural encounters with every guest is a true privilege and one that is never taken for granted!

  • How did you start out in guiding?

    Growing up with a grandfather that was so passionate about the bush was hard to ignore. For as long as I can remember, the only place I wanted to be was in ‘the bush’. At high school I was known as ‘wildlife Warren’. After finishing my studies – a business management degree, I literally phoned a friend who was in the eco-tourism industry, and before I could blink I was on a 6 week selection/training course run by AndBeyond (then CCAfrica). Of the 13 that started 4 of us made it and I was lucky enough to be placed at the world renowned Londolozi Game Reserve. It was here that my ‘real’ training started! I had a spectacular team of mentors, but the most important one was my long time tracker and friend Ephraim Sithole.

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

    Haha, my standard answer for this is the place I am at the moment and the next place I am going. It is impossible to give you a specific place on this continent as it is so diverse. I am constantly blown away by areas I visit and just when I think that I’ve found my favorite place a new one pops up.
    However, seeing that I am tied down to give you a single answer. The place that I am most comfortable in, and probably because this is where I started off guiding, would have to be Londolozi in the Sabi Sands Game Reserver. Having spent 7 years there, I know it intimately. But more than that its family!
  • Have you ever been really scared on safari?

    Scared, no! But my heart has sometimes wanted to jump out of my chest. I’ve had a lot of close encounters and possibly the one that sticks head and shoulders above the rest was when a 4 meter black mamba came within a few inches of my legs. Its mouth was agape, tongue flicking and I knew that if I just didn’t move, I would be fine. The reason my heart was in my mouth was that my guest who was seated behind me, was moving around trying to take a photo of it.

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

    Three books only? Nah, there are a lot more. In no particular order, this is what I would recommend.

    • The Elephant Whisperer – Lawrence Anthony
    • Save me from the Lions mouth – James Clark
    • An African Love Story – Daphne Sheldrick
    • A year in the Wild – James Hendry
    • African Dawn – Tony Park
    • Elephantoms – Lyall Watson
    • Africa : A biography of the Continent – John Reader
    • My Pride and Joy – George Adamson
    • Soul of the White Ant – Eugene Marais
    • The Shackled Continent – Robert Guest
    • Guns Germs & Steel – Jared Diamond 
  • What are the three most important pieces of kit for guests to bring along?

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

    “One life! Live it!”

    Yes I am an avid Land Rover fan, but those four words speak volumes to me. I have often been called a rolling stone as I cannot stay in one place for too long – but I don’t see it like that. I just want to see and experience as much as I can in the short time I am on this earth.

    Family is sacred to me. And keeping that balance between the time I spend at home and the time I spend traveling is one I am constantly striving to perfect.

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

    Haha, I am not a rules man. Rules were meant to be broken. Rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

    However saying that, never forget respect for your fellow man, respect for nature, staying neutral in wildlife situations and above all sensitivity to the environment.

    The one rule I break is the one that common sense overrides.

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

    My first safari vehicle was a left hand drive land rover with no drivers door. And as I was used to a right hand drive vehicle, I was puttering along one day when I went to change the gears with my left hand and promptly fell out of the vehicle. Fortunately it was level ground and I was going slow, so I managed to jump up run after the vehicle and climbed back on as if nothing had ever happened. The expressions on my guests faces left a lot to be desired.

    Watching a baboon steal an entire chocolate cake off the tea table and run away on its back legs holding the cake in its hands, all whilst being chased by 4 staff members. When the baboon reached the edge of the raised deck, it threw the entire cake in to the air and proceeded to dive after it.

    Guiding two attorneys that did not agree with, and started to argue with the immediate implementation of a departure tax by the immigration officials at a particular airport. After I explained the negative side of not paying, they begrudgingly paid, but not before teaching them a saying I use a lot when traveling in Africa – Smile and Wave! They both walked through immigration with such fake smiles and waving at the officials, that the immigration officials started laughing.

My Travels

  • RESET MAP

Cape Town

Perched between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park as its heart, there is nowhere like Cape Town. Welcome to the “Mother City”. It is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. With great beaches, iconic mountains, as well as being the food and wine capital of Africa, this is where I call home.

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Kruger National Park

One of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering a size of just over 5,5 million acres, and offering phenomenal game viewing in the western private concessions. This is where I started my guiding career, at the world renowned Londolozi Private Game Reserve.

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Botswana

From the Okavango Delta to the Makgadigadi salt pans to the central Kalahari, the diversity here is hard to beat. A country that focuses a lot of its time on the protection of its wild places and endangered species.

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Namibia

A country the size of Germany and with a population of only 2 million people. This is big sky country. It has the oldest desert, the highest sand dune and the 2nd largest canyon in the world.

Zimbabwe

From dramatic landscapes and wildlife destinations to the mighty Zambezi river flowing over the Victoria Falls. This is the adventure capital of Africa - bridge swinging, bungee jumping and some of the largest white water rapids in the world.

Zambia

The land of the legendary African walking safari. Along with having the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa (Liuwa plain) to the Africas greatest mammal migration of around 8 million Straw-colored fruit bats in Kasanka National Park.

Tanzania

From the plains of the Serengeti to the spectacular caldera of Ngorongoro to the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. But don't forget about the 'wild' south and the best kept secret in Africa - the Ruaha National Park and Africas largest protected area, the Selous Game Reserve.

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Kenya

The home of the original safari! From the infamous Maasai Mara, savannah's, lakelands to the dramatic great rift valley and mountain highlands. If its diversity you are after then look no further.

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Madagascar

An island of the bizarre! After splitting from Africa 150 million years ago, the fauna and flora here are like nowhere else on earth. Lemurs, chameleons, baobabs, spectacular beaches and some of the best coral reefs in the world.

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DRC (Virunga)

From mountain gorillas to active volcanoes and large lava pits. Elusive chimps, rebels and spectacular birdlife. This is a place for the adventurous at heart.

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Just back from

Virunga National Park, DRC

MAP

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