For Charlie Hamman being among game and interacting with international and local tourists is what makes a satisfyingly perfect day for the lodge manager and game guide.
“I grew up on a farm and while at high school, I equipped myself with the basic farming skills and has helped me to where I am today,” he said.
From 1991 until 2007 Hamman worked for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. He then went on to manage Rooiberg game farm in Limpopo for eight years before joining Thali Thali Game Lodge, in the Western Cape, two years ago.
It is evident that Hamman loves his job and he does not mind having an early start even though his normal working day starts at 8am and ends at 5.30pm. It is filled with maintenance, research and two interestingly educational game drives at 10am and 3pm.
“There is always something happening at the lodge, and so many people to meet. During the game drives, I usually monitor the behaviour of animals so that I can quickly pick up if there are any problems”.
“Recently, I brought a baby wildebeest back to safety after he was rejected by his mother. He’ll be fed at camp until he is older and can get back to the wild,” he enthused.
Hamman’s game drives are authentic and he engages guests as he uniquely tries to give them a sense of what life was decades ago. He provides a history lesson on Langebaan and outlying areas.
On the drive he always is accompanied by his trusted friend, a nine-year old dog named Nula who proudly sits in the front seat of his van.
“My job is rewarding. If a guest can take something home from the experience then I am a happy man but my main aim is to educate people, and make them aware”.
“When I have guests coming for rides, I want them to know about nature and some of the consequences so that the youngsters who are in the van will be able to know that they have a duty to preserve nature and its animals in the future,” he said.
While growing up in Langebaan on a farm next to Thali Thali, he did not imagine that one day he would work in his home town.
On his most memorable guests, he said: “I have met many people who touched me and many who have learned a lot from my guides. I find that children are more clued up on species than adults. In fact, I once had a group of 28 people who could not identify a single species.”
When he is not working he spends his time with his four-year old son Carlo and wife Andriette, who also works at the lodge. He enjoys fishing with his son and bow hunting
In 10 years, he hopes to still be at Thali Thali and bringing smiles to every visitor.