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The "Humphrey Effect"

July 18, 2019

Humphrey Gumpo, fellow Zimbabwean and one of the top safari guides in Africa has shown me the priceless value of having a private guide packed with Emotional Intelligence. Having grown up in the bush one wouldn’t think I really need a guide, but I have been paralyzed by fear more than once in the bush and my childhood ensured my nerves would be in shreds for the remainder of my days. I am perhaps a rare breed of toughness plus fragility.  Yet to experience Africa with Humphrey is truly to see thee African bush artist at work. It’s the “Humphrey effect”. In fact Humph (as I call him) has been at my side in many a situation in the bush. From walking into a sleeping buffalo in the long grass, to facing down a big bull elephant on our path, to being caught in the middle of a 16 pack wild dog hunt who killed an impala steps behind me. Each time the “Humphrey effect” has kicked in and this nerve-shattered Zimbo is returned to a sense of peace and appreciation of the well-oiled machine of nature working around us. I seem to find things I didn’t know I was looking for with Humph. I realize that any experience lacking emotional weight, loses value and that in the African bush is the medicine of the soul. I will never fully comprehend it but I know without Humph I would be missing something very profound.

Humphrey is one of those rare beings who is inherently intuitive and on-point. He began his career as a guide more than 20 years ago on the shores of Lake Kariba (the croc filled lake where I grew up learning to water ski). He is one of the few wildlife specialists with the license to travel freely across borders throughout much of the continent. My awe of his knowledge of the bush, his sensitivity to the nuances of different tribes and languages, his uncanny ease with wildlife in different situations and his read of both human and animal body language is matched only by my immense pride that he is part of ROAR AFRICA.

I was reminded of Humphrey’s genius just last month when I travelled to Zimbabwe with boarding school pal and author of “Don’t Let’s go to The Dogs Tonight” – Alexandra Fuller. Alex described him as ‘a wonderful, deeply knowledgeable, impressively competent, and infectiously joyful man’. It’s rare people like Humphrey, with whom we are privileged to work with that ensure that our ROAR AFRICA trips are the life-changing experiences we promise they will be. From Humphrey’s point, he sees it with singular simplicity: ‘The art of guiding is to humble yourself in the wilderness, which then allows you to take in everything around you. It is that, that I try to communicate to the people I am with, whether they be children, or seasoned travelers.’

“If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like to have Humphrey or one of our other truly stellar guides or specialists on your next trip to Africa, email welcome@roarafrica.com

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