Kids' Animal Station

For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals

An Interview with Philip, a Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve Guide

This post is by Zoe Smith-Holladay and Zuza Gaboush

A couple weeks ago, we went on a trip to South Africa. The first part of our tour was on a reserve where we went on safaris to see animals, (go here to see some cool facts about rhinos and their spray!).  Our wonderful tour guide was a man named Philip. If you read the last post, he was the one who said that rhino spray is like a facebook profile!

Philip is from Zimbabwe, but moved to South Africa to work as a tour guide on safaris. We spent three days with him at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve and he could amazingly tell us about every animal, tree, and bird we spotted (which, most of the time, he did, having a better eye than us).  Could you imagine being a tour guide now? Could you tell everyone about most flora and fauna that you see at any moment in your country, or, much less, a nearby country that isn’t even your home country?


A picture of Philip and his jeep

Above is a picture of Philip with the jeep we rode in. At the end of our trip, before we said goodbye, me and my friend Zuza asked if we could interview him.

During the interview, he told us all about his times in Zimbabwe and about himself, which was very interesting. We didn’t record the meeting, only wrote it down in our notebooks, so it is a shame we can only provide a summary of what he said, but here are some of the questions we asked, and the answers.

Q: Did you pick your job because of the people or the animals?

A: He told us that guiding is not only about the animals, but the people and the different cultures he encounters. He also says that everyday is a learning process during his job.

Q: What does working with animals teach you?

A:  He said that working with animals teaches you patience, and that nature is very tranquil and calming, yet it can humble you easily.

Q: Do you believe that every animal has a purpose?

A: Philip told us that he believes that every animal has purpose, and that an entire ecosystem can depend on one animal.

Q: Is there any animal that you fear?

A: I wouldn’t say that I fear any one animal, but only respect them. The animal I respect the most is the elephant, and he has learned that animals sometimes have better values than people.

He also gave us some advice to observe and enjoy the journey of life, not only the outcome, but watch your actions and be aware of what you do and how it affects others as well. We were very impressed with all his answers and what he told us, and appreciated the time and energy he spent teaching us. We learned that, before he left Zimbabwe, he was a teacher, and enjoys teaching people different things.  We could tell.


A picture Zuza took with my camera. One of the things we learned throughout our journey is that struggle is everywhere, even if it isn’t evident to you, and that it is important to realize this. Me and Zuza noticed that there is a strong cultural feeling of telling your story–we had many of our cab drivers and tour guides, such as the one on Robben Island, telling us of their stories and traumas they’ve experienced. It really taught us a lot about life journeys, growth, and forgiveness.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and all the wonderful people we met along the way. They all deserve a mention, and it’s a shame that we don’t have space in our posts for all of the recognition they deserve.  I hope they know that we appreciate them wholeheartedly, and hope we will meet them again, especially Philip.


Here the whole crew is with Philip!


This entry was posted on November 28, 2018 by in Animal Facts, Special Reports and tagged , , , , , , , .

Wise Words

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if a person or animal is at stake."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."
— Translation of African Proverb

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