Adam Jones is getting used to a tamer lifestyle as the former wildlife safari tour guide sets up a temporary life for he and his wife in New Zealand, while they ride out the global pandemic and wait for tourism to come back to the African continent.
As a safari guide at Camp Hwange in Zimbabwe, Adam chauffeured keen safari goers through a range of activities including tracking big game animals, close ups with small animals and insects and bird watching from a distance. Situated in the middle of the desert, the camp houses eight luxurious chalets where each room overlooks African bushes and waterholes, with only a mosquito net as protection from the wilderness.
“I do miss the sense of adventure… and while we travelled the same roads each time on our safari tours, there was always something new to see,” says Adam.
He recalls one of his most thrilling moments at Camp Hwange when he and tracker Timothy were taking guests on a walking safari. Originally thinking their discovery of elephants and buffalos drinking together was a great find, the group caught eyes with a leopard walking in a different direction. Keeping a watch on the leopard’s movements, the group were then led to a rare sighting of lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalos all together. This was a moment Adam describes as special for both himself and his guests.
When the global pandemic hit Africa, tourism became non-existent, so Adam and wife Frances made the decision to leave Zimbabwe where the spread of Covid was becoming uncontrollable, to be near Frances’ family in Hamilton, and the safe confines of a Covid free New Zealand.
So what is now Zimbawe’s loss has become St Paul’s gain.
Adam joined St Paul’s in January 2021 as a member of the grounds team taking care of maintenance around the school, and in May was appointed Assistant Facilities Manager. His role is to support Facilities Manager, Marie Robinson with the caretaking and security of school grounds and buildings. He also manages the school’s facilities hires and works with organisations who want to use the school grounds for sports trainings, holiday camps and conferences.
And while Adam’s new role seems poles apart from his former role, he insists there are many facets of the job that are similar.
“My job is about offering great customer service, being a good host and ensuring any group hiring the school’s facilities, feel safe and are well looked after – similar to that of a safari guide,” says Adam.
When Adam isn’t playing host, he enjoys photography and FaceTiming his beloved dog Tilly back in Zimbabwe.