What is it really like to live in a Game Reserve?

I have lived in a Game Reserve for 7 years now and coming from the UK originally, I don’t think you can get a much more opposite lifestyle, although I personally did grow up in a small village not close to a town it is still very different.

For most Game Lodges to run efficiently all of the staff live on site, this is for a number of reasons but the main reason being when you work in the Hospitality industry and provide accommodation for guests you do need to be on call 24/7.

It of course also would be impossible for every staff member to drive each day in and out of the reserve and live in the local town.
This means we all live in a community together, but I guess it’s like all living in a very close-knit village elsewhere in the world.

My commute to work is a 1-minute walk which is a huge perk! No sitting in traffic for us.
Another lovely perk is the ‘bush noises’ instead of hearing traffic, sirens, restaurants and bars while we sleep we hear the calls of Hyenas, Lions, Owls, Nightjars and many others.

I often see wild animals in and around my garden, a couple of days ago I could see a big herd of Buffalo next to my house and we had a Leopard in the Camp grounds last night so its very common for us to see a range of wildlife.

On occasion we do get some unwanted wildlife guests in our houses, but this is not common and to be expected as we live amongst them.

I have many wildlife stories from my time living in the bush, once of the more recent ones was when I was sat on my sofa on my Ipad browsing the internet, I had my door open to my garden as it was summer so very warm and I saw out of the corner of my eye a shape come through the door, this was a Mozambique Spitting Cobra, so what did I do?

I calmly got up and first and most importantly picked up a big box which has 2 x baby squirrels sleeping inside (they had lost their Mum and I was raising them) They could have been what the snake came for? I put them somewhere safe and then called for assistance to remove the snake who was now hiding behind a cupboard. We simply guided the snake out of the house back into the garden with a broom and all went back on with our evening.

I think it’s also fair to say you can expect to have a Monkey at least try to enter your room at least once a week and what’s their favourite food? – Yep Bananas!

It is possible when you live in a Game reserve you may miss being able to go to the shops or to a restaurant for dinner. I personally can happily work my work cycle of 36 days or more and not feel the need to see shops and restaurants and simply make the most of this when I am on my days off (and eat a lot of pizza)
We also get to experience the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets with no pollution around us.

However, If I had to choose just one thing that was the BEST aspect of living in the bush it would be getting to live so closely to such a range of wild animals who so peacefully accept us into their homes. We are very lucky.

If you are lucky enough to find a position in a Game reserve remember to appreciate the nature around you and be grateful the animals let us share their home.

Words: Hayley Cooper

Images: Grant Murphy & Hayley Cooper