A day in the life of Ranger Dean

For many enthusiastic conservationists and wildlife lovers,  a career in the bush is a dream job. On the surface, it appears to be such a glamorous job  - wearing khaki uniforms, driving guests around in game- vehicles in search of the big 5 animals. Field guides pursue careers in the bush because they love nature, have a passion for animals, enjoy the outdoors and fresh air and have a keen interest in conservation.  Our Ranger Dean Pieters confirmed all of the above influenced his career choice - but with 10 of years of experience he is well positioned to say that field guiding is actually not only about the animals but also all about our guests and creating unforgettable experiences. Having a strong understanding of the environment and wildlife is crucial, but excellent people skills, communication and a passion for sharing the best that Madikwe has to offer are what make all our rangers and guides extra special. No day is the same at Morukuru Family Madikwe, but this is how Dean’s day generally unfolds.

Normally a day would start around 4 am. I wake up and head off to the house for wake-up calls and coffee with my guests.    

Although, in line with the Morukuru Freedom Concept, our guests are in charge and they can decide what time they prefer to wake up and start their game drive, I like to get going at 5.30 am. This is the best time to start the game drive, as we normally find the best animal sightings possible. I stop for a short coffee break out in the reserve. Nothing beats freshly brewed coffee and some of our homemade rusks and muffins!

Then it is back to the house for breakfast at about 10:00. We also like to “wow” guests with our bush breakfast which is cooked in a potjie pot, which is a traditional cooking pot used to make stews.

After breakfast, we sometimes go fishing with guests and hopefully catch some prize-worthy catfish or paper mouths. All catch and release.

During the heat of the day, the guests take a break, which gives us a chance to clean our game viewers and get ready for the afternoon safari.

In the afternoon, depending on the guests’ preference, we depart for our afternoon game drive around 4pm. We like surprise to our guests with sundowners on the mountain whenever possible.


After dinner, I normally head out on the third and final drive for the day, which is a night drive where we would look for nocturnal animals such as leopard, porcupine, and aardvark, to name a few.

I aim to be back at the lodge around 9:30 in the evening. This is where I discuss the plans for tomorrow morning.

 The next morning it's up again early for more searching and exploring the African bush.