Ellard Banda is an exceptional field guide at Makweti, and one of our most trusted members of the extended Makweti family. He came to our lodge in 2013 to fulfill his role as our maintenance man. It wasn’t long before he became completely captivated by the nature around him and chose to study to become a field guide.
He passed his FGASA Level 1 with the greatest of ease and is currently studying Level 2.
Ellard was born in Lilongwe in Malawi, which is a good 1700km’s from Makweti. He is one of four siblings (one step brother and two step sisters) and was motivated to join our safari lodge by his cousin Lazarus, who had worked at Makweti before.
Ellard appreciates every moment he gets to work in such beautiful surroundings: “The best part is that every day you get close to nature and you have peace of mind due to the quietness and fresh air.” Isn’t that the best part about being deep in the heart of the wild South African bushveld?
When Ellard isn’t leading our guests through the magic of our surroundings, he spends his leisure time with friends, family and loved ones. Among those loved ones are his little boy, Ellard Ketso Junior, who is the apple of his eye.
Ellard comes from a Christian family who believes that family comes first as the most important thing in life. We couldn’t agree more.
When asked to tell us a favorite story about his time working at Makweti, he has this to say:
“One morning when we were finishing breakfast, the first group of guests were ready to depart. They said to me that “Ellard, this is our last short drive back to the gate, we will have to come back for that leopard.”
All of sudden the local monkey troop in the camp were calling at the Indaba building as there was a leopard at the waterhole killing a warthog female. This leopard lived around the camp, and we were just talking about it. It was an amazing and sad experience all at the same time. It was sad to watch this warthog, who we knew well as she had grown up in the camp, now being taken by a powerful leopard – but we understood that this is nature.”
That is the bittersweet truth of nature, and we get to see it everyday. Thank you to Ellard for sharing his story and for being a part of our Makweti family. We are so honoured to know you and we know our guests feel the same way.