The Trainers

Gavin Lautenbach

started working in the bush in 1997 after travelling through Europe and the United States. Guiding was his only calling and he reveled in the space and freedom of sharing the wild with his guests.

Gavin: “I started in the Lowveld around the Kruger National Park before moving to the world-famous Phinda Private Game Reserve where I had a particularly amazing time getting to know and understand the diversity of life there and and especially the big cats! I followed this passion through with some amazing years in the Sabi Sand getting acquainted with the leopards at Londolozi. I have been involved in mentoring and training guides from early on my career and have branched out into general wildlife and bird tour across the African continent. Africa is my passion and I love sharing it with my guests and fellow guides.”

It is this broad experience as an active guide and experienced trainer that Gavin brings to the works he does. He has worked with guiding teams in Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa and loves nothing more working to unlock the potential of the people that work in Africa’s most amazing places. As a tour operator he also has a crystal clear understanding of what guests want and demand and he aims to share this insight with guides. As a professional naturalist guide he has led tours throughout Africa, Madagascar and also the jungles of Borneo and India. Gavin is a FGASA Level 3 Assessor

Key strengths: walking & weapons | birding | guiding techniques | team dynamics | communication | photography

Alastair Kilpin

has been out in the nature since he was born. His early days were spent in the mountains and on the beaches of the Cape. In 1998 he started guiding at Phinda, one of the most superb reserves to be found anywhere – tracking big game, birding, botanizing, photographing.

Alastair: “Some of my most exciting encounters have been whilst out training guides in South & East Africa. My wife and I started a family in the Serengeti whilst managing the Kleins community concession in Tanzania where we had a training school on the banks of the Grumeti River. In between I have been privileged to explore Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, India, parts of North America and Europe. I am now based back in my home near Cape Town. When not training, I am managing Mammoth Safaris, guiding day trips in the spectacular Cape mountains and longer trips further afield in Africa and Madagascar.”

Alastair is an experienced and dedicated trainer who loves spending time in the field with other guides, finding out what makes their area special and how to share this with guests and travelers. He has trained guides in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Brazil and Peru… with a few new exotic locations in the pipeline! His own guiding has seen him lead tours right through Africa, Madagascar and also Brazil. Alastair is a FGASA Level 3 Assessor.

Key strengths: walking | birding | communication | guiding techniques | teamwork | structure |vision | Head Guide mentorship

Byron Ross

is one of southern Africa’s leading safari guides, having not only lived and worked in remote parts of Africa for 23 years, but also having filled the role of head trainer of safari guides for a world leading safari travel company that has operations across the African continent. Byron has guided at, been Head Guide and managed lodges in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, Timbavati Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, the Kruger National Park and in the remote Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Byron Ross profile pic

Byron: “I connect naturally and easily with a wide range of people, both guests and guides! My most valued bonds are those I have shared with a few expert animal trackers, where I have learnt ancient wisdom that has not only informed my own experience, but also the experience and enjoyment of my guests. When guiding guests on an African wildlife experience, there is the textbook information, but then there are the ‘campfire stories’ that connect a person to the essence of Africa, its people, its history and its wildlife. Facilitating that connection has always been my passion.”

Byron has always been engaging in human development and was involved in the management of a conservation academy at a South African NGO near the Kruger National Park. The conservation academy connects rural, underprivileged children to conservation literacy and wildlife experiences. Byron has worked with guiding teams in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya to help them grow as teams and individuals. Byron is a qualified FGASA Level 3 Assessor.

Key strengths: walking | communication | guiding techniques | teamwork | story-telling | Head Guide mentorship

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