Get to know African Lynx’s Head Private GuideDecember 4, 2018 -Cape Nature
Rodger Bowren is African Lynx’s Head Private Guide and has been with the company since day one. The team at HQ managed to sit him down and pick his brain.
Which part of South Africa do you call home?
I spent the first 20 years of my life living on a farm in Kokstad, KwaZulu Natal. I attended boarding school at Queens College in the Eastern Cape, and spent another four years after school, training and guiding in that area. After gaining some experience in the industry I was fortunate enough to guide in Kenya and Mozambique before returning to one of South Africa’s most well known private reserves, Tswalu. The next step in my career was private guiding, and after eight years of living in the bush I have finally settled down and made Cape Town my home.
Where did you discover your love for guiding?
Growing up on our family farm is where my love for nature was discovered. When I left school ten years ago, I did my FAGASA level 1 at Shamwari Game Reserve and from then on, I knew I would pursue guiding as my career.
What do you love most about African Lynx?
One of the things I love most about African Lynx is the team’s passion and drive to be the best in the industry. Which is just awesome! It’s also great to be working with like-minded friends. We are all super passionate about what we do, and by working closely together, we constantly share great ideas and thoughts which betters our knowledge of the industry as well as the Cape.
My favourite spot has to be a perfect natural tidal pool within the Cape Point Nature Reserve. To find out where this spot is, you will have to come on a trip with me!
Which elements differentiate the Cape Town culture from other cities you have experienced and what do you most enjoy about those elements?
The diverse landscape – There isn’t another city in South Africa where you can hike up a mountain, go for a surf, walk through the vibrant city and experience some of the best wineries in the world in one day. That is what I enjoy the most.
Culture – Being the “Mother City”, Cape Town has such a rich and raw history of diverse cultures dating back 350yrs. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the different cultures and people we have in Cape Town with my guests, and I think they gain a lot from it.
Food – Most of the top restaurants in South Africa are in Cape Town and its surrounds and I have been fortunate enough to experience most of them with guests. I have now developed a rather spoilt palate due to the incredible culinary options!
Your well-trained palate has found its way into most of the Cape’s top culinary hotspots. Name your current number 1 and give us some reasons why?
Crofter’s Kitchen in Noordhoek.
- The “restaurant” itself is in Nicky Gibbs’ Home, who is your chef and hostess. The experience is personal and unique.
- Nicky’s service is top notch
- The food is delicious, comforting and a sensory overload to the palate.
- It’s location and the views from Crofters are spectacular.
Your go-to weekend getaway in the Western Cape?
My in-laws’ farm in Elgin about an hour outside of Cape Town. A valley known for its incredibly fertile soils so it’s landscape is dotted with the most beautiful apple and wine farms.
Favourite pastime and the best place to find/do it in and around town?
Sitting alongside a stream in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens while photographing birds. It is the most peaceful spot and an opportunity I use often to relax and feel like I am back in the bush.
Tell us about your most epic experience with guests to-date?
I recently enjoyed a helicopter flight around Cape Point which ended off with drinks and canapés on top of a mountain. This will continually blow my mind!
If you could plan your most ideal African Lynx experience what would the itinerary entail?
The first day would entail seal snorkelling and an ocean safari with Steve Benjamin from Animal Ocean. Finishing off with a lunch at Crofters Kitchen in Noordhoek.
The second day starts with a helicopter flight along the peninsula and into the Winelands landing at Delaire Graff for lunch where you will be met by your private guide (me). Depending on the guests’ preference, I would recommend a wine tasting at the old Meerlust Estate on the way back to Cape Town.
On the third day, we would travel up the West Coast and spend three nights at Bushmans Kloof as the Cederberg is one of my favourite places in the Western Cape!
Share a recent comical story with us!
My guests and I had just found the perfect spot to have a picnic in Cape Point. I took out our cooler box placed it on the rocks close to the vehicle. I turned around to a BIG male baboon charging straight for the boot of my Landy. There was no stopping him. After a back-and-forth “argument” with him in the back, I managed to chase him out the back door. His eyes were now focused on my cooler box, which had all the food in it. After a lot of screaming, shouting and kicking I’m proud to say I won the tug-of-war battle.
Why do you believe guests should travel with African Lynx?
We create the most memorable experiences, which are shared by our vibrant, enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides.
African Lynx prides itself in its HQ, which provides our guides with the best support on the ground. Ensuring all trips run smoothly.
We put in a lot of effort to tailor every itinerary to each of our guest’s preferences and influenced by our recommendations. The goal is to create the best experience possible!
Follow Rodger on Instagram: @rodgerbowren