05 Apr Get to know our Guides | Vusi Luphoko
Determination is an asset which Vusi Luphoko, a guide at Rhino Post, has turned to many times in his life. It has helped him negotiate tough times and he doesn’t intend slacking off now because he has high hopes of one day becoming the head guide at Rhino Post.
Growing up in a rural area where 50% of the population is unemployed Vusi knows that life’s challenges are manifold so he set about working towards achieving his dream of working as a guide, although he admits that there have been hitches along the way.
Born near Kaapmuiden on the southern border of the Kruger `National Park (KNP), Vusi later moved to Bushbuckridge which also borders the world famous park, an area where the tourism and wildlife industries provide the majority of jobs.
In 2010 he started a job as a maintenance worker at Rhino Post but soon realized he wanted more from life.
I used to watch the game guides coming back from their drives and started to develop a love for being a guide, I took one step forward when I registered with a wildlife college.
Rhino Post management helped pay for the course but due to a variety of circumstances he “disappointed the company” by failing to write the exams and subsequent family problems resulted in him leaving the company. Thereafter he worked briefly as a mini-bus taxi driver in Bushbuckridge and was employed in various other roles.
“It was not easy during that time because I had to work and save money to do my studies again but I registered at the college to complete my dream,” Vusi explained. “In 2017 I completed my studies and became a guide’’.
After obtaining his qualification he took jobs with a number of tourism and guiding companies but stayed in touch with Rhino Post, regularly asking for a job.
“When Covid came I lost my job (at a tour company) and I stayed at home without food on the table,” he recounted. ‘’I was just trying and called the lodge again to ask for a job and Marli (Marli Muller, the general manager at Rhino Post) said ‘let’s try, Vusi you can come for an interview’”.
I got the job at the lodge and since that day I made the company completely proud about my name and lots of good reviews came from the guests.
The lodge has encouraged Vusi to study further and he has already achieved a further qualification and is currently enrolled in another, more advanced, course.
Vusi says he is not daunted by the long hours guides sometimes work, on occasion he has to wake up at three thirty in the morning to travel to collect clients, but it is all part of the job he loves.
“When I was young we used to do some hunting but when I met people who were working with wildlife I realised how important animals were,” he says with more than a hint of contentment. “It is so interesting and rewarding to see how happy people are after seeing wild animals. I feel it is so good to be part of this kind of tourism and conservation.”
My wishes are to make the lodge proud of me and a million thanks to Rhino Post for taking care of me and my family, this is not going to be the end, I want to see myself as head guide of the lodge.