#GuestSafariFeedback: Delving into the World of Brenda Kerr

We’re delighted to unveil today’s #GuestSafariFeedback article, a much-anticipated guest-centric blog piece where we interview the dynamic Brenda Kerr. Brenda is a cherished member of our online community and is known for her thoughtful interactions and insightful feedback across our social channels. With her extensive experience exploring our camps, Brenda has evolved into a trusted on-the-ground expert, offering invaluable insights from a guest’s viewpoint.

We’re simply smitten by Brenda and her dedicated fandom. When our team discovered her talent as a children’s book author, it only added another layer of intrigue. You might notice that she mentions her son Rogan in her answers—he is none other than Roaming Media, a sought-after wildlife content creator, videographer and photographer. Anyway, let’s get back to Brenda.

Without delay, let’s delve into the world of BRENDA.

Brenda, you’re one of our biggest fans! Which of the camps in our portfolio have you visited?

I have been to Chacma twice, Nambu once, Nthambo Tree Camp twice and Africa on Foot three times.
nThambo Brenda Kerr

Africa On Foot Vultures Brenda

Elephants at Chacma Bush Camp

Nambu African Wild Dogs

Which  of the “unvisited” camps in our portfolio do you have your sights set on?

Well … any and all! I would absolutely love to visit the Botswana camps.

Please list one wildlife sighting from each camp that stood out for you.

It’s always the cats for me! A very special encounter with Nyaleti (?) on our last trip to Nthambo. I think we spent close to an hour with her, close up and personal. She really showed off. Rogan and I had a very brief glimpse of her crossing the drainage with two cubs on a later visit to Africa on Foot. At least we thought it was her! Another favourite sighting was when Rogan and I sat at sunset with a big male lion near Africa on Foot, watching him disdainfully ignore us as he chilled in the last rays of the sun. He slowly got up and gave us a fabulous chorus of sunset roars!

I am also really very happy to have been able to get up close to several resident white rhino in the Klaserie. As you know this is a particular passion of mine. At Chacma I have loved sitting by the pool overlooking the waterhole and watching the elephant come to drink. Such a peaceful and unique experience.

Nambu was a treat! We finally saw wild dogs—a first for me and also had several fab sightings of Ezulwini (not sure of his name)—but a magnificent old BIG tusker. Such a relaxed fellow. He really helped me get over my fear of being too close to ellies!

Tell us about an aspect of the safari experience that tourists don’t read about in guidebooks.

No-one can imagine the soul replenishing feeling that a safari experience gifts you. Waking to the joyous sound of bird song encouraging you to get up and go, that early morning coffee laced with Amarula on the back of a game drive vehicle warming you up as you watch the sunrise over a misty waterhole, and the adrenalin rush of seeing your first leopard/lion/wild dog. Then, there’s the peaceful calmness of observing a breeding herd of ellies as they rumble gently to each other and silently graze their way through the brush, only the cracking of branches giving their location away. Of course, the enthusiastic welcome from camp staff every time you return to the lodge makes you feel like royalty, while boma fires and shared stories after a fabulous evening meal provides connection. And finally, going to sleep with a chorus of insects lulling you into oblivion. There just is nothing to compare with a visit to these wild places.

What predator do you most enjoy spotting on safari, and which “small” creature holds a special place in your heart?

That’s a hard one! I think a leopard, but lion, wild dogs, hyenas—they all hold charm. I would love to see a wild cat, but I also really enjoy seeing a honey badger! My favorite small creature is probably an elephant shrew!

What can our guests expect from the safari experience, over and above the usual safari activities?

Sun Destinations offers so much more than just a generic “safari experience”. Guests can personalise their visits, with private celebratory sundowner “picnics” for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays etc. Fabulous game viewing from pool decks in all of the resorts, great meals and choice of cocktails etc served with a smile and lots of ice on hot days. Walking safaris for the brave from Africa of Foot. Comfortable rooms, beautifully furnished, all the facilities needed at hand(I particularly liked the portable siren next to my bed in case of an emergency!) The fact that these camps have limited guest numbers makes for a very pleasant, personal visit. Family groups are always catered for with consideration to other guests and transported separately on drives.

Tell us about yourself. Where did your passion for the wild begin?

I grew up in Zimbabwe, wild and free. As a little girl my Granny used to encourage me to look for the beauty in the ordinary, small, often overlooked plants and creatures. Africa is in my soul – its rich diversity is just so inspiring. I cannot imagine living anywhere else. There is still so much to explore and enjoy!

How has being immersed in nature during your safari experiences impacted your perspective on conservation?

I am passionate about conservation. From trees, to grasses, rhinos to antlions. The more I visit our nature reserves, and see the impact of human settlement and climate change, the more motivated I am to preserve, protect, and extend the wild spaces of our land. I believe that education is the most important factor in achieving these goals. Tourism is a hugely beneficial source of income for affected communities on the borders of our reserves, so giving them the knowledge and understanding of the importance of these spaces is key.

During your downtime at our camps and lodges, what do you do?

CHILL! I read, walk around the camp, watch the birds, follow snakes (!) to make sure they leave, wait in anticipation for the bats to disembark on their nightly adventures and swarm out of the bat box, swim, sleep. I just revel in being there and don’t want to miss a single minute.

Sunset at Africa on Foot

Chacma Bush Camp Lions

Chacma Owlet

nThambo Tree Camp Brenda Leopard

And lastly…This one’s about you. What inspired your children’s book “Counting in Africa”?

Growing up in Zimbabwe, I developed a love of the open spaces and the bush, and the increase in poaching have all been motivators. I was surprised at the lack of knowledge our children have about the big and little five, so used this platform as a way of entertaining and educating at the same time. It has led to me being able to visit numerous schools in South Africa and Zimbabwe and share the importance of learning the truth about the waning numbers of wildlife in our continent, and being able to encourage children to participate actively in conservation efforts wherever they find them.

The Counting in Africa book is aimed primarily at children aged two to ten, but has appeal to parents and educators as well. It is also extremely well suited to the tourist industry as a memento of visits to the game reserves, and is a perfect, lightweight gift to take home to family and friends overseas. Will also appeal to expats who miss our beautiful continent and want to share their heritage with their families and friends. A great book for gift shops at lodges, for children to use and refer to on game drives.

I have a framed photo of a crash of rhino who I sat with in Kruger for a few peaceful minutes some years ago. It brought to mind the wonderful poem by Wendell Berry “The Peace of Wild Things”. I have adapted it for Africa and myself …

“When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wild rhino’s roam, and the great lions lie in the shade of the spreading marula trees. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest within the grace of the world, and am free.”