marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

Our Guests in the Wild

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon 7 Comments

I often get asked what a safari experience with Wild Eye is like.

It’s a tough one to answer.

In general, it’s unlike any other event you’ll get to enjoy – it engages all of your senses and creates memories that will never be forgotten. Not all safari experiences are created equal, and I would like to believe that here at Wild Eye we afford our guests the opportunity to see Africa & beyond in a way they never dreamed possible.

We strive to put our guests first in every possible way – right from the very first introductory email to the “see you soon” at the end of the safari.

Along the way you’ll learn new things, capture incredible images, meet new people and see first hand why nature & wildlife is so close to our hearts.

I wanted to share some images with you that I have collected over the years, images of my guests on safari having the absolute time of their lives.
I must add that we don’t only cater for serious photographers, but often host families, couples and anyone else who wants to see nature in a wild, exciting way.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

There’s no doubt that an experience with wild animals like elephants, lions, buffalo and wild dogs away from the vehicle and on foot is something that our guests will never forget. To be on the animals terms, one-on-one with nothing in between is humbling indeed. Nothing can prepare you for such a hugely rewarding yet emotional experience.

Yes, there’s always an element of danger involved, that’s undeniable. That said, I hear of far more incidents of animals, especially elephants, attacking vehicles getting too close than they do people on a guided walking safari or encounter.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

The key lies in the GUIDED safari part.

At Wild Eye we can proudly say that all of our guides are extremely well qualified and know & understand animal behaviour intimately. We also always rely on the local guide for his experience, an invaluable part of a safari offering.

Can you imagine being no further than 10 meters from a massive elephant bull paying no attention to you, only interested in feeding.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

I will stress again that our guests are guided by experienced professionals. In all of these cases the animals were first observed from a distance before typically allowing it to get closer.

Any animals mood can change. If he was tolerant an hour ago, he could be very different at a later stage.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

Cape Buffalo are also fantastic when approached on foot. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all grumpy aggressive beasts with the sole intention of running a path right through you.
Buffalo herds, such as the one pictured above, are often very relaxed in the company of humans and their inquisitive nature means they will often stick around to get a better view of you. It’s still ever important to understand what you are doing, and always good to know where you will be going if things start heating up.

The big, lone buffalo bulls are typically the ones to be very wary of, best to be avoided when on foot.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

Encounters with predators on foot must be one of the most exhilarating experiences in Africa. Just seeing them from the back of a game viewer is enough to get your heart thumping, let alone jumping off & joining them at eye-level!

The lions pictured above were relaxed enough to allow us the opportunity to photograph them on foot, not more than 15 meters away! That’s incredible, something these guests will remember for a long as they live! It took us a long time to get this close, allowing the animals to dictate the pace at which we edged towards them. We spent more than an hour in their company, something very few people can say they’ve done before.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

Mana Pools is an absolute paradise for walking encounters. During the latter half of the year, you are able to enjoy consistent sightings of African Wild Dogs – a species that seam to have no issue with a small group of people enjoying their company.

Wild dogs are extremely sensitive and great care needs to be given with how you behave in their presence. On top of that, they are highly susceptible to attack from other predators, again stressing the importance of not disturbing them when in their company.

But boy let me tell you, an experience like this is something you’ll always cherish. Hunting with Africa’s most successful large predator, all on foot.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

A message that we want all of our guests to understand, is that it is NOT always about the photograph or the action involved.

So many people come out on safari in search of that award-winning image, or the lions killing a buffalo. The list goes on and on. They watch nature shows on television but forget that those programs take many years to film & document. You can’t expect it all when on a week-long safari.

It’s not about that at all and should never be.

A safari should be about experiences first and foremost! It should be about immersing yourself within the journey, about the smells, the sights, the sounds! I can assure you that whilst out on safari with us the pictures will no doubt come your way – we work very hard to ensure that happens – but at the same time we don’t want our guests to get so carried away by that, that they end up missing out on the experience as a whole!

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

We love hosting our clients on safari, introducing them to our different flavours & personalties is what makes Wild Eye so special. Each one of the Wild Eye hosts enjoys different aspects of guiding, it’s what makes us unique.

For me, walking has always been a big part and you would have seen this judging by my images above.

A fireplace holds yet another special spot in my heart! There’s just something about a fire in the evening after a long, hot day in Africa. It’s an opportunity to soothe your soul, to give thought to the happenings of the day behind you. Sitting around the campfire at night, reminiscing about the day is a classic African ritual.

The same applies for a fire in the morning before heading out on safari. Enjoying a hot cup of coffee, dipping a rusk into it & enjoying the sounds of Africa waking up. Lions can very often be heard calling, as can leopard & hyena. It gives me energy, it allows me to soak up what nature has laid up infront of me, an opportunity to say thanks and to be grateful.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

There’s something spiritual about fire. It’s also safe yet dangerous. It has the ability to provide warmth & comfort, yet if you become to familiar can pose great danger. It’s an incredible thing!

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

At the end of the day, at Wild Eye we always aim to put you in the best position to enjoy the experience. If you are a photographer you’ll naturally have a camera in hand to capture the moment.

If you are an avid love of nature & capture memories with your eyes, you’ll sit back & enjoy the sight equally.

To see the smiles on the faces of our guests is what makes it all worthwhile. It’s no secret that all natural space world-wide is under threat. Africa & it’s many national parks are no different. Without you & I these animals have no voices, they can’t stand up for themselves in order to defend their cause. WE have to do that.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

We visit many places every year, and our guides introduce our guests to incredible experiences in the hope that we can not only change your lives time and time again, but also contribute to conservation with each and every safari!

The better we are at what we do, the greater the lasting impacting it has on YOU.

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

marlon du toit, wild eye, guests

Thanks for your time, hope to see you on safari with us soon.

Till next time,

About the Author

Marlon duToit

Passion, enthusiasm and an unquenchable thirst to explore and introduce you to our natural world’s wildlife perfectly sums up my ambitions. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Through my African adventures I kept my photographic passion alive. Behind a camera aimed at a lion or a leopard is where I am most at home, my heart skipping a beat at the mere thought of it. My intention has never been solely for recognition but for the plight of what’s left of our natural recourses. Using my love and understanding of wildlife I am able to convey to the viewer more than an image or a fleeting moment. I aim to tell a story, to bring that moment alive to you and to capture your heart through it.

Comments 7

  1. Pingback: Our Guests in the Wild - Africa Freak

  2. Kerry Mills

    If I wasn’t already hooked, (4 safaris and 1 gorilla trek in 12 months, the most recent last week with Andrew) you’d have me sold – going to pass it onto my friends who love safaris, Africa and wildlife but aren’t big on photography in the hope they are inspired

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      Author
      Marlon duToit

      Kerry that means heaps! Safari really does that you, it hooks you and you just can’t get enough! Even visiting the same place over and over never gets old to me! Thanks so much for taking the time to read & share, much appreciated!

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      Author
  3. Melinda

    We were yet several times on safari in SA and made wonderful experiences. We hope that we will get the chance to join a trip with Marlon, we are convinced that it is really exciting. Have to wait a little bit for it. Thanks for the interesting blog!

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      Author
      Marlon duToit

      Ah Melinda, thanks so much for taking the time to read through, I really appreciate it! I would love to host you on safari and we gotta try make a plan soon! There’s no better time than the present 🙂

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