ASSOCIATE PARTNERS > ADRIAN BANTICH
It is clear that Adrian was destined for a career involving both people and the natural environment. From a very young age he showed a passion and a love for the African bushveld. With fortunate access to his uncle’s game farm in the Waterberg, and many an invite to a close family friend’s game lodge in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, he never realised how – later on in life – this exposure to the natural wilderness would mould his character, ethics, love and purist understanding for all things wild and wonderful. The guidance and mentoring at an early age would later on fuel a flame of enthusiasm in his guiding career.
After a failed attempt at accountancy at university, he accepted what was the inevitable – to get to the bush. Adrian registered and completed a course in Professional Field Guiding and Lodge Management at the Bush Academy in 2006 – a satellite campus of the International Hotel School – where he was made top practical student of his year. Following this, his guiding career began with a practical placement placement at Tshukudu Lodge the Pilanesberg under the old-school guiding mentorship of Andre Kruger. Adrian grew under Andre’s wing and joined him a year later in the Manyeleti Game Reserve – situated in the Greater Kruger Biosphere – where he conducted bush walks and game drives at Tintswalo Safari Lodge. In early 2008, Adrian was asked to manage and guide out of the Tintswalo Manor House, whereupon his passion for story-telling and harmonica playing fuelled the evening fireside chat.
The opportunity to work as a specialist safari guide at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve came about in mid-2009. As part of the Tswalu Field Guide Team, Adrian and his colleagues were passed and assessed as FGASA Level 3 Trails Guides in 2010 under the driving force of Head Field Guide Marco Tonoli. This also included a new mentor role to up-and- coming Field Guides. A year later Adrian wrote a mini-dissertation on sexual selection in Lions for his BSc. in Zoology and Environmental Management, which led up to a yearlong behavioural research paper on the introduction of 4 male lions into the reserve. His research and findings were completed at the end of 2012.
In January 2013, Adrian’s individuality, creativity and explorative soul prompted him to head out on his own. He left Tswalu to embark on the next chapter of his guiding career - to explore and guide in the most remote areas on the continent. After co-guiding with now RAS Partner Richard Coke in June 2013, he was approached by Michael Lorentz to join a team of Pan-African Private Safari Guides with the specialist safari company Passage To Africa. As a partner guide, he now conducts privately guided safaris throughout Africa, exploring remote destinations and wild places with clients both old and new.
Adrian never forgot about his tertiary studies. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Management with a specialisation in Zoology in 2014 via correspondence through the University of South Africa (UNISA). This was painstakingly pursued between game drives and meals with guests, and while on leave whilst guiding full time over the course of eight years. Fly-fishing, sketching, photography and the outdoors fuel his passion, creativity and love for nature. His passion for guiding and love for Africa shines through, and his love for people is the most obvious.
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