Early experiences shaping his life
Before he became a hiking guide, Eric worked as a photolithographer at local newspaper The Cape Times. He began his apprenticeship circa January 1982, and those were the pre-computer days: everything was done by hand. Eric soon picked up the art of setting type on bromide paper as well as handling positive and negative films.
At the time, South Africa was embroiled in a war with South West Africa People’s Organization, Namibia. Six months after his stint began, Eric had to back-burner his career as he was drafted into the South African National Defence Force. For the next two years he served as a Green Beret. “Young white South Africans had no choice but to comply with what the old apartheid regime stipulated, or face the might of the law.”
Those two years as a foot soldier as Eric recounts were not easy, but they shaped and transformed him from a teenager into a man. Days would pass when he and his platoon went without water. “When we finally found an abundant source, it was like uncovering gold.” A lifelong skill he picked up then was the ability to track a spoor. This skill came in handy when one of his hiking crew was lost in the Fish River Canyon in 2014. “I managed to pick up a fresh print and found him a few hours later.”