Passion is the main enhancement for clients undertaking a guided trip

Reaching a high point on a hike to where views stretch into the far distant landscape is only part of the reason I hike in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and Lesotho.

The stunning vista is in itself a reward, but for me the journey, each footstep that reveals a multitude of diverse beauty, is actually more important. Evidence of ancient people having been in those landscapes opens yet another dimension and meeting and interacting with people whose lives and culture are so different from mine, initiate a reflection of my place in this world.

I became a KZN Tourist Guide in 2007, having qualified as a Nature and Culture Guide. These reflected my passions, and also if I’m honest, is the reason I hiked in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and Lesotho in the first place. The idea of sharing these passions with people was my primary reason for guiding.

A few years later I qualified as a Mountain Guide, KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and Midlands, through Adventure Qualifications Network. My path to becoming an Adventure guide started with a passion for the mountain environment I had hiked through, initially for recreation.

As a result of my passions I have guided several exceptional day and multi-day hikes for international and local clients with particular interests, Mountain Hiking, Wildflowers, Bushman Rock Art, Culture (particularly that of Lesotho), Photography and Mountain Sketching.

Over the last ten years of guiding I have come to realize that the most important aspect of being a guide is a passion for the work you do. It has a way of enthusing clients and enhancing their experience. So it doesn’t matter which particular discipline of adventure guiding you work in, as long as you are obviously passionate about it, that, for me, is the secret of facilitating successful experiences for clients.

As ‘Southern Secrets Hiking and Backpacking’, Philip Grant (my husband, who is a National Mountain Adventure Guide) and I also share a passion for creating awareness of, and facilitating Mountain Wilderness Experiences.

For clients, the experience can sometimes be overwhelming; many have never been in a place truly unaltered by humans. We also take small groups of South Africans who have not had the opportunity, but are passionate about nature, on a volunteer basis into the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg pristine wilderness. Our hope is that by heightening awareness of our unique and irreplaceable heritage they will develop a desire to conserve these special and vulnerable places.

Christeen Grant