In this episode, I’m talking with my good friend Ruben de Kock. Ruben was first a soldier in the South African Defence Force, where he specialized in training equestrian and motorcycle skills along with weapons handling. When he retired as a Staff Sergeant he began training field rangers for the Bureau of Natural Resources in KwaZulu-Natal. There he met the legendary ranger trainer Martin Mthembu, who soon became Ruben’s best friend and eventually partner in their own business, African Field Ranger Training Services. Together, along with Ruben’s wife Marianne, they trained thousands of rangers across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Later they sold AFRTS to the Southern African Wildlife College, and now Ruben works as the Development Manager at LEAD Ranger. He is also one of the stars of our film RHINO MAN.
In this chat, we take a trip into Ruben’s storied past – plane crashes in the Congo, poacher encounters in the bush. We learn about his time in the military, and when he first trained rangers at Ntinini under conservationist Nick Steele. We dive deep into his relationships with his friend Martin and his wife Marianne, and we explore Ruben’s passion for everything rangers. He has truly dedicated his life to fighting for field rangers, making sure that they get the best skills and support they well deserve. So without further ado, let’s jump into this epic conversation.