Josh van der Ploeg

&Beyond Guide – Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Josh hails from Cape Town, but it was his childhood family safaris to the world-famous Kruger National Park that had Josh hooked on wildlife from a very early age. These fun-filled adventures fuelled his unwavering passion for Africa’s landscapes and wildlife, and would later shape his future in the wild.

In 2011, Josh enrolled at the University of Cape Town to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Marine Biology. For the field work required for his thesis, Josh investigated the importance of fire in a savanna ecosystem at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Nature Reserve, which neighbours &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Upon completing his thesis and graduating in 2015, Josh joined &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda in 2016 and has been based at &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp and Tengile River Lodge ever since.

With an avid interest in observing and documenting wildlife behaviour and characteristics, Josh and one of his fellow guides, Matt Smith, initiated the Leopards of &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp and Tengile River Lodge identification kit. This in-depth guide profiles the region’s renowned leopard population, explains their complex social dynamics and provides a better understanding of the species as a whole.

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