To be multi skilled in the film industry on the Serengeti plains is ‘no bad thing.’
Running safety, scouting forward, covering medical emergencies and recovering vehicles: it means that my team is on its own, thinking on our feet and always problem solving.
In the filming world my past military career in Special Forces certainly helps.
Traveling in one vehicle, self sufficient with reliable equipment, knowledge, flexibility and a strong team is the only way to survive out on the plains.
A multi tool, decent knife, durable clothes that are fit for purpose and strong boots are essential in my line of work. The little things can mean the difference between success and failure.
43 days scouting ahead of the TV production trying to locate the migrating Wildebeest and following them north to the Kenyan boarder was our goal.
No kitchen cooked food, hot showers, bed, TV or home comforts…perfect just way i like it!
It’s a staggering sight to see rolling plains filled with tens of thousands of Wildebeest and Zebra.
This migration starts as a trickle just like a stream, small herds move toward the northern rains, funneling through valleys, crossing rivers, running the gauntlet of predators.
The herds join slowly into a sea of blackness, grunting, frolicking and trimming the grass.
Filming takes planning, dedication and flexibility.
The Serengeti is wild, tracks come and go, rains turn the plains into non driveable routes in minutes. It’s like driving on ice when the black cotton clay gets wet.
Our 110 Land Rover is our life line and home. She’s old, powerful, rugged and simple to fix. No electronics to go wrong!
We drove over 3500 miles on the Serengeti to find and film the migration of the Wildebeest. We had 15 punctures, bent two tie rods, wrecked a gear box, ruined a winch, snapped a cable, broke a fan clutch, burnt down two poachers camps and safely navigated 124 people and 23 vehicles to the Mara river Kenyan boarder.
Not a bad 6 weeks work if I may say so!
All work without play makes Gary a dull boy!
At the end of the show the family came out to experience Africa and what a blast we had.
We hunted Monkey with the Hadza tribe with a bow for our breakfast, making fire with a branch from the Match Stick tree to cook it.
Danced with the Maasi on the rim of the Naguragora Volcano.
Slowly drifted across the Serengeti in a hot air balloon. Watching the morning sunrise kiss the plains was a memory never to forget, especially when we hit a tree landing.
Watching nature unfold its web was very humbling for the kids. Wilderbeest and Zebra were taken by Lions, Hyenas scavenged and Vultures cleaned up the the scraps.
However having experienced all this, the kids will say that playing with local children in the school was the highlight of the trip. Every time we passed the playground we had to pop in to say hello again.
Kids just being kids, laughing, playing and singing.