The Call of the Wild: Liezel and Queen

Inspiring Real Adventures

It’s one thing when your work days start before sunrise. It’s another altogether when you are face to face with elephants within minutes of punching the clock. Very few people want to or get to call the bush their office, but these two ladies are forging a career for themselves as guides and rangers in the African Bush and proving their worth in an industry previously reserved for men.

Liezel Holmes and Queen Manyike are true ladies, but can still clean a rifle in the time you pour a gin and tonic. They can track, change tires, drive around in big 4×4’s and are somehow not very scared of elephants.

After 17 years on the job, Liezel is the first female Safari Manager at the 5-star Kapama Private Game Reserve. She is dynamic and passionate, and heads up a squad of over 80 rangers, trackers and field guides. Queen has been there for almost two years and is Kapama’s first black female Safari guide, leading twice-daily game drives. She is only 26 years old; she loves what she does, and sees Liezel as a guide to the opportunities ahead of her.

Answering the ‘call of the wild’ has been an uphill battle for both of them.

Women still make up less than 10% of South Africa’s game rangers. Courses are tough, internships are hard, and there are no shortcuts. Women need to work harder and prove to be far more competent to be treated as equals.

The stereotype of rough and tough men still prevails in the bush, and a lot of people actually want that in a guide. Guests don’t expect a female guide, so when they get one the girls go beyond expectations.

Both these ladies agree that with hard work, determination and an enthusiastic passion for nature, there is a space for more women in this industry.

With cheeky smiles they agree that women are probably better at the job anyway.

Written By: AWEMYBRU

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