Hannes van Wyk, Peace Parks Foundation’s Aviation Manager and Chief Pilot, is on a mission to Zinave National Park. The park has been getting some great summer rains of late transforming the bush from gold to green. This is a much-celebrated change as the vegetation is high on the snack list for the animals. The recent rains have however created quite the challenge for Hannes who gets super stuck in the mud.

Stuck In The Mud

Luckily bush pilots know just how to make a plan when things go wrong. Hannes quickly calls Zinave’s Technical Advisor, Justin Landrey, to lend a helping hand. Justin soon arrives with a truck to help pull the aircraft from the mud. All the while, their work is being nosily observed by a herd of buffalo grazing on the other side of the runway fence.

Teamwork quickly gets the aircraft out, and Hannes is back in the air heading out on his next mission.

The Importance Of Bush Pilots

There really never is a dull day when working as a bush pilot in Africa’s wilderness. From seeing a pack of African wild dogs hunting a nyala from the air to discovering ancient artefacts on Limpopo National Park’s runway, Hannes regularly shows us why being a bush pilot is one of the most exciting jobs in conservation.

But being a conservation pilot is not all fun and games. These men and women play a critically important role in keeping our protected areas and animals safe. Besides helping to combat wildlife crime, pilots also assist with important wildlife management tasks. This includes animal census and road and infrastructure aerial mapping, to name a few.

Peace Park Foundation remains incredibly grateful to all our hard-working pilots who give up a lot of time away from their families and friends to help to keep our wild places safe.