Meet Liaan Lategan – Tourguide and Wild Wonders of Southern Africa Youtuber.
In my Country-People feature, I would not only like to introduce you to people who live in the country but also those who play different roles in the country and generally make it a more enjoyable place. Liaan is one of those people, just by looking at his pictures you can see his love for the wild and wonderful in Southern Africa. Enjoy reading his story.
Where do you work and what do you do for a living?
I work full time as a tour guide and leader for a company called Break-Away Tours. We specialize in small family groups where we focus on Nature, Culture and History. The majority of our clients are adoptive parents that stay for a few weeks during their adoption process, and we help them learn more and experience more about our amazing country. I am also a part-time wildlife photographer and have a YouTube channel that is nature-based, focusing on our amazing wild and wonderful places. I studied Eco-Tourism Management at the Tshwane University of Technology and had the opportunity to be a junior lecturer and student assistant at the university for two years. I worked in a reserve in Botswana and Ndumo Nature Reserve to get Lodge Management experience and I have now worked for Break-Away tours for almost 10 years.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
A typical day for me all depends on what type of tour I am leading. If I am leading a day trip, I normally pick up my clients in Pretoria before 08:00. We visit a variety of exciting tourist destinations that are not too far away from the city. Our favourite spots include The Elephant Sanctuary, The Monkey Sanctuary, The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, Monte Casino Bird Gardens, Soweto, Lesedi Cultural Village and a whole lot of cultural and historical sites around Gauteng. If I am leading a longer tour, we normally go to Pilanesberg Nature Reserve, The Panoramic Route in Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, St Lucia, Ballito and even much farther to destinations in Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.
What part of your work do you enjoy most?
The part of my work that I enjoy the most is being able to inspire and teach the younger generation to have a love for nature and appreciate what we have around us. It brightens up my day when a young tourist or child tells me about an animal or tree I discussed earlier in the day, and to hear them quote facts and stories about them, means that I inspired them and hopefully aroused a curiosity for nature.
Any stories you would like to share with us?
A funny story I have is as a child, my parents used to tell us that when we sat around a fire, the smoke will always go to the best-looking person in the group. We would then deliberately try and get the smoke to blow in our faces so that we could claim to be the best looking camper for the trip. The problem was, that after a few days of camping, our clothes had an extremely strong smokey smell to them that a few good washes didn’t always get out. (I found this cartoon the other day and it reminded me of that story). I think it is extremely important for kids these days to be allowed to get dirty, play in the mud, and get smothered by the smoke of the campfire. That way, they will connect with nature on a much deeper level and will always respect and cherish it.
You can follow Liaan on the following platforms
YouTube channel: Liaan Lategan – The Wild Wonders of Southern Africa
Facebook Group: Liaan Lategan – The Wild Wonders of Southern Africa
Liaan’s closing thoughts.
I really hope that the youth of today will be able to learn from those of us who are already passionate about nature and wildlife and that they will, in turn, spread this burning love for it to others. With the help of modern technology, I am sure more people could be reached and inspired to reconnect with nature.