Kerri Smithers

&Beyond Guide – Phinda Private Game Reserve

Kerri was born in Welkom in South Africa’s Free State province and was raised in the North West province in Klerksdorp. With nature right on her doorstep, she was fated for a life in the wild. Growing up, Kerri’s family holidays were always active and they were always outdoors. She recalls hiking in the Drakensberg mountains, exploring the Pilanesberg and going on safari in the Kruger National Park.

Kerri remembers the exact moment she decided she wanted to become a ranger. On a self-drive safari, with no other vehicles in sight, her patience paid off and she was able to witness a cheetah making a kill.

During her school years, Kerri binge watched as many nature and wildlife documentaries as she possibly could. She was captivated by the landscapes, but even more so by the animals’ behaviours. It comes as no surprise that Kerri went on to study Zoology at the University of Pretoria.

Upon graduating in 2013, Kerri travelled abroad and worked as a programme director at a summer camp in North Carolina, USA. She eventually returned to African soil and completed a Field Guide course at Shamwari Game Reserve. This reignited her passion for guiding and she went on to complete some walking training in Pongola Game Reserve.

In 2015, Kerri enrolled at &Beyond‘s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. She has been based at &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge for five years, where she is not only the Head Ranger for the north of the reserve, but also a mentor for aspiring trainee rangers.

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Phinda Private Game Reserve

South Africa