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Learn to be a Safari Ranger

Mercifully, Martin has not pounced on either of my rookie mistakes. My guests are amused. I'm near panic. Now Martin charges and I start yelling. It's purely out of fear, but any shouting is good shouting and Martin backs away, growling in disappointment.

"All in all, not bad," Mike says, though he adds it's very possible I or one of my guests would have been killed in this encounter. "Depending," he says, "on who's slower."

It's the end of my week-long training period. Mike drives out to a vast grassland section of the Phinda Reserve, and we watch giraffes in the dusky distance. "I know I'll do this for the rest of my life," Mike says, summing up the appeal of having the African veld as an office. "Best of all," he confesses, "I'll be able to spend time with my lionesses. One day I saw one sitting on the highest rock in the area, mist around her, a herd of wildebeest below. I thought, this is it. I'm completely happy."

And at this moment, so am I.

Michael Caruso is the former editor of Men's Journal.

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