Barney was born and raised in the rural Shangaan community of Huntington, which is adjacent to South Africa’s world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve. He attended primary school in Huntington; however, in the absence of a secondary school in his hometown, he later attended the nearby Mabarhule High School.
Growing up next to such a vast wilderness area, Barney became curious about wildlife and the environment at a young age. His late stepfather worked as a carpenter for a luxury safari lodge, so Barney set his sights on the safari industry early on.
In fact, it was Barney’s stepfather who helped secure Barney’s first job as a plumber in the same lodge. This brief stint as a casual labourer was Barney’s official foot in the door and he soon successfully interviewed to become a tracker in 2000.
Barney maintained his role as a tracker for the next few years at two different luxury lodges, until 2006, when he decided to pursue a guiding position in the Timbavati Game Reserve, just north of &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve.
In 2008, Barney enrolled at &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and upon graduating, began guiding full-time at &Beyond Ngala. Determined to excel, Barney took on the position of Assistant Head Guide in less than year and towards the end of 2010, he became the Head Guide (a position he still maintains today).
Barney loves the freedom and adrenaline of exploring the Big Five wilderness on foot. Without the sound of the vehicle, he establishes a deeper connection to nature and loves the challenge of using his brain and senses to interpret his surroundings and ensure the safety and enjoyment of his fellow walkers.