You may or may not want to consider a career change after learning about these ten rather unusual jobs around the world. But it might at least open your eyes to the many wondrous ways that some people choose to make a living in the tourism industry.
They’re called the human voice of elephants at Camp Jabulani in the Kapama Private Game Reserve of South Africa. It is their job to care for the herd at this lodge and sanctuary for orphaned elephants – bulls with big personalities, growing babies and boisterous teenagers. Camp Jabulani’s elephant keepers have years of experience raising and living with elephants. It’s their role to wake up the animals each morning and to spend the day with them in the bush, feeding and swimming, before bringing them back in the evening. It’s easy to say that a day spent with elephants is never a day wasted.
2. Turtle conservationist
North Island in the Seychelles is a sanctuary where natural habitats are being rehabilitated and where critically endangered Seychelles fauna and flora are being reintroduced by a conservation team. One focus is on the continuous monitoring and protection of endangered turtles – tracking the turtles’ activities, whether green or hawksbill, monitoring nests, inspecting eggs and measuring shells, among other tasks. It’s a job with a direct impact on the earth. Flip-flops essential.
Have you also always wondered what possesses a person to don a big white space suit to play with swarms of little buzzers trying to sting you? Well you can discover why at several hotels around the world that have their own resident beekeepers, such as at Beau-Rivage Hotel in Switzerland, Château St. Gerlach in the Netherlands and Blackberry Farm in the United States. Space suits appear to be all the rage, after all.
4. Coconut harvester
It’s the island way – to forage fresh coconuts from palm trees and to pierce it open to drink the fresh cool water on what is likely another hot, humid day. But this is no apple-picking task. It requires circus-style climbing skills (depending on the height of the palms) and knowing your way around an axe. Of course, the term gardener or Lodge Hulk would suffice, but we’ll stick with Coconut Harvester, or maybe Reaper, Island Reaper.
Call them rangers, trackers, wildlife guides or forest officers, but their roles are essentially the same. They are the lion whisperers, bird callers, grizzly gurus and snake charmers. On safari in Africa or India, they are the people who scout out the wild things following footprints, sounds, the flap of a wing or the glint of an eye. Whether a Homalco First Nation guide at Sonora Resort, forest ranger at Valdepalacios in Spain or river guide on the Zambezi River, these are the purveyors of knowledge of the world of the wild.
Visit them at: Samode Safari Lodge in India, Duba Plains Camp or Zarafa Camp in Botswana, Royal Chundu in Zambia, Londolozi Private Game Reserve or Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge in South Africa, Mara Plains Camp or ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya.
6. Ayurvedic doctor
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world's oldest medical systems and originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. At Shreya’s Yoga Retreat, North West of Bangalore City in India, an in-house Ayurvedic doctor brings the ancient wisdom of this tradition to guests, with individualised treatments, covering diet, exercise, and lifestyle. At both Shreyas Retreat and Lešić Dimitri Palace in Croatia, these Ayurvedic specialists are patrons of more than just health - they guide guests on a journey of self-discovery, to harness and purify body and mind.
7. Deer stalker
Deer stalking is the stealthy pursuit of deer on foot with the intention of shooting it for meat, for sport, or to control the numbers. It’s considered somewhat of a lost art and requires an excellent understanding of deer behaviour and the terrain, fitness, a light foot and low scent. At Inverlochy Castle, in the West Highlands of Scotland, an expert stalker takes guests to stalk hinds, stag and red deer – leading them to the target, presenting them with a shot and removing the body to take to the larder.
8. Prehistoric art curator
The art curator is a guide of sort, giving a voice to the artist and interpreting their work for visitors. In the case of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa, rock art curator, Londi Ndzima takes guests to visit over 130 rock art sites on the reserve, some as old as 10 000 years. He provides a window into the legacy of the San.
Wranglers are more than just a brand of jeans. They also more than just horse riders. There’s even a Wrangler School for wranglers to learn the fine, hard art of working with horses to herd cattle. At Triple Creek Ranch in the Montana wilds of the United States, wranglers take guests along for the drive – the cattle drive.
It’s called mushing and there are experts in the field. Of course it’s the dogs doing all the work, but the mushers (dog sled guides) communicate commands to the team and run behind the sled to speed it along. At the Hermitage Hotel & Spa in Breuil, Italy, on the south side of the Matterhorn, mushers and their huskies slip through forest trails full of snow and mountain views. Guests can ride along with them or try their own hand at mushing.