We just returned from over three weeks in the bush of Southern Africa. During that time, we had Trevor Carnaby as our guide and host. We’ve had countless guides on this trip, some good and some not-so-good, but I’ve yet to post a blog on any guide. But we’ve yet to have a guide as outstanding as Trevor, so I thought I’d let you know how great he is, and encourage you to use him if you ever explore Southern or Eastern Africa.
Trevor has been guiding for 14 years, but in his spare time he’s an author. His first book is “Beat About the Bush: Mammals”, which we referred to constantly on our trip. Like Trevor, the book is insightful and interesting. He is based in Pretoria, South Africa, but travels all over Southern and Eastern Africa.
For starters, Trevor knows more about wildlife than it would seem possible for any single human to know. Whether we’d see a bird, reptile, amphibian, mammal, insect, or plant, he could readily identify it, and talk to us in engaging terms about what is so interesting about it. Each day was like the best science lecture you’ve ever had! He also has a keen eye, and regularly finds things (like chameleons) that no one else would notice. He’s also an expert in South African history, photography, astronomy, and having fun!
Spending 23 straight days with a guide is not easy — for him or for us — but Trevor made it delightful. He is considerate, a great conversationalist, and so funny. At many of our dinners, my side would hurt from laughing at the stories he told. If you ever meet him, be sure to ask him about Chad, Rupert, and the Miss Universe contestants.
A couple of anecdotes will illustrate what Trevor Carnaby is all about. Over the course of the trip, we reached the point where someone (usually Trevor) would see a bird across a lake on the far shore, eating something small. Invariably, Sterling would ask him, “What is it that the bird is eating?” And he’d almost always be able to identify it, and add a story about the predator/prey relationship.
The incident that sticks out most in my mind is one morning when we were out exploring, and Trevor had arranged for us to have a breakfast cookout. We learned how to build a fire without matches, got a hot fire going, set up a make-shift stove, and began the process of cooking breakfast. They had packed pancake batter in a metal thermos, and someone put it near (way too near!!) the fire. When it came time to cook the pancakes, another guide passed Trevor the Thermos, but had taken the top off, and were holding it by the insulated handle. Trevor, not knowing it was sitting by the fire, received the metal container in his bare hand, never said a word, and gently put it down so as not to spill the pancake batter. His hand blistered badly from the burn, but he never complained, and proceeded to help our kids chase down lizards!
Over the time we spent with Trevor, he became a fifth member of our family, and our children still talk about him many times an hour. “What do you think Trevor thinks this is?” “Where would Trevor look for a reptile here?” “Would Trevor think it’s ok to pick this up?” All of us loved being with him, and he made our stay in Southern Africa just unbelievably enjoyable, for which we are very grateful.
Ted Dintersmith, USA