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This is Kruger National Park in South Africa,
home to some of the biggest, fastest and deadliest animals on the planet.
CBBC brought four British and four South African children
to spend a month here training to be rookie game rangers.
Leading them on this adventure will be their mentors, Ranger Rudi...
It's taken me years to learn to be a ranger.
They've only got one month to do it.
And guide, Frankie.
Danger can be around any corner. The Safari Act needs to be learned -
to be ready at any time.
Eight kids, two mentors and one massive challenge -
to lead two celebrity guests on a safari experience of a lifetime.
Last time on Safari 8: the team visited an animal sanctuary
where they fed a rather large baby...
..met a cheetah...
I touched a cheetah! How many people can say that?
..and served dinner for some very hungry vultures.
They're fighting over the meat in their mouths.
Coming up: the Safari 8 go on their most dangerous tracking mission yet.
If you're talking, we'll just leave.
I don't even want to hear a whisper.
The rookies start to feel the pressure.
-I see that.
-I've mucked up.
On the vehicle now!
And what could possibly be this important?
-Tell me what's going on!
It's the third week of the Safari 8's ranger training.
Just a few days to go until the all-important final challenge,
to lead celebrity guests on a two-day safari through the bush.
Mentors Rudi and Frankie have watched our rookie rangers' progress
from day one.
But they still have concerns about the group.
Some of them are ready for the final challenge.
One or two have lost confidence for some reason.
We are going to work on them to try and persuade them they can do this.
Guys, check for snakes like we usually do.
You look in your pants and I'll look in mine!
For some of them
the seriousness is not there yet.
We're all clear, Rudi.
They're taking this all as a joke.
We have to sort that out very quickly.
Each member of the Safari 8 will play a vital role
in the final challenge.
There'll be a head ranger, responsible for the team,
three guides and two trackers
who'll lead the mystery celebrity guests on safari
and two members of hospitality
who'll look after their dining and domestic needs.
The mentors will choose who takes on which role
and even at this late stage, there's everything to play for.
All the spots are still vacant for the final challenge.
Me and Rudi have chatted about it. A lot of work still needs to be done.
They need to shape up.
So, with decision time looming, Frankie and Rudi
have decided to test the group's animal knowledge and people skills.
Eight of you, there's eight cuddly toys in there.
Decide amongst yourselves what animal you're going to take
and then prepare a presentation for us.
Up for grabs are the big five.
Rhino, elephant, buffalo,
lion and leopard,
plus hippo, giraffe and finally the monkey family.
This is going to give us a very good indication
of who of you can take the roles of guides.
Basically, if you do like a rubbish presentation,
will you be put as hospitality?
In all the roles there's some sort of presentation that's needed.
The guests are in the camp. If they ask a question,
even if you're hospitality, you need to answer them correctly.
You have a few minutes to sort it out amongst yourselves.
If you haven't picked by then, we'll pick it for you.
Rudi and Frankie will be watching to see
if the group's team work has improved.
In yesterday's challenge, the mentors criticised Ashleigh
and Kushal for overriding their groups.
And no-one listened to Sifiso.
Will the Safari 8 have learned from that experience?
Ella should get the elephant because she's so passionate about them.
They're not giving anyone a chance.
Ashleigh is straight in with her opinion
but Ella isn't the only one who loves elephants.
KUSHAL: Does anybody else want the elephant?
-If so, say it. I don't mind.
-It's fine. You can take it.
So Sifiso has let Ella get her first choice of animal.
I think sometimes Sifiso does let people get their own way.
He doesn't really get the chance to say, "It's my turn now."
I want the hippo. It's a challenge. We don't know a lot about them.
Anybody else for the hippo?
Kushal controlled the group.
He said to give everybody a chance which is a leadership skill.
As usual, joker Tomas throws in a curveball.
I don't really mind, but I'd probably like the baboon.
I prefer the monkey cos it's an odd animal and I like a challenge.
It fits you, Tomas!
I'm very impressed that Tomas went for the monkeys.
I think he's going to pull something out of that. I don't know what yet!
The rest of the animals are divided up fairly.
Then the team starts studying.
But will they have learned enough by tomorrow?
In the presentation, communication skills are important
because you can have a world of information,
but if you can't be enthusiastic, it's worthless.
It's important that knowledge comes over correctly. You can't fake it.
You can't take people out and give them wrongful information
because that goes out to the rest of the world
and it's important they know what they're talking about.
Every training task given to the Safari 8
is designed to help them with their final challenge.
While their animal knowledge is vitally important,
the team also need to cater for their guests' every need for an enjoyable experience.
-It's going to be 45 degrees today.
So for now, the team have abandoned their study books
and are on their way to somewhere very special.
This is a private luxury lodge
where their mentor Frankie normally lives and works.
Today the Safari 8 are here to learn
how to give their guests the five-star treatment.
Welcome to our private game lodge. Face towel, Tomas?
Now, as a guide or ranger,
you guys need to entertain your guests
and look after their every need.
Can anyone tell me what a bush banquet is?
-Is it like a buffet full of creepy-crawlies?
Tomas, you are almost right there. It's actually five-star cuisine.
A bush banquet is a luxury meal for safari guests
that takes place in the bush.
Preparing and hosting a bush banquet
will be a large part of the team's final challenge.
By the end of today, the Safari 8 will know exactly
how much hard work goes into one.
Today you're going to set up a bush banquet
for 14 of this lodge's guests.
You need to really pay attention to everything we teach you today.
As part of your final challenge, you need to entertain guests.
-Shall we get out of the sun?
The rookies are split into two groups.
Nomalungelo is leading one team
who are getting a master class in planning a banquet from the manager.
Some tips. We've got 14 people, so we need 14 sets of everything.
Ashleigh is leading the other group
who are in charge of cooking under the supervision of chef Leanne.
It's a three-course meal. Everything needs to be 100% on the money.
-Is everyone ready to go?
Little bits up like that.
The mystery VIP guests will expect nothing less than a fabulous feast.
On tonight's menu:
-Are you enjoying this, Tom?
-I'm excited. I love cooking.
-You don't want to become head ranger?
Hospitality has a lot of control. They choose the accommodation,
the food, the entertainment.
Tomas is fabulous. He's fantastic. There's so much energy there.
You gotta rub it in, right?
Tomas has impressed me a lot. He's always been the joker.
But in the kitchen I think he feels much more at home.
So Tomas is really in his element.
And away from the kitchen, someone else is standing out too.
Can you take this? You take it for tea and I'll take it off here.
I was really impressed with Nomal taking on the leadership role.
-Over there, the plates go in, yeah.
-She's doing really well.
It's vital the team have enough equipment for every eventuality.
If something breaks in the bush, there's no replacement.
I hope you've got everything. I haven't checked it. You have a list.
It's really important to make sure that everything is sent.
You can't run out of anything. If you do, you have an unhappy guest.
That's what we really don't want.
-You've got everything right here.
-All we need?
Nomal's really rising to the challenge.
But in the kitchen, things are a little less organised.
Ashleigh could, I think, be a stronger leader.
She doesn't take control. She hasn't taken control in the kitchen yet.
Guide me, guider!
What's the next thing on the list?
Milk. "Add the milk."
Enthusiasm is not there.
She's just botting around and doesn't take control of the team
which is not a good sign of a leader.
And when Tomas messes up the chicken marinades...
It's too sweet! Chuck it in the bin and start again!
..Ashleigh stays super-relaxed.
It's meant to be cornflour. Tomas put baking powder,
but we'll just keep quiet and see how it goes.
'She wasn't being a proper leader by getting it done'
quickly and properly.
'She was mucking around and having a laugh.'
It's OK to muck around and have fun while you're cooking,
but you have to do the food.
How their food will taste
is anyone's guess.
Quickly, quickly, quickly! On the vehicle. Now!
Coming up, there's an urgent situation to attend to.
-Someone tell me what's going on.
And guess who's coming to dinner?
Really difficult people are coming.
With most of the bush banquet preparations completed,
the Safari 8 are tackling their trickiest tracking operation yet.
As part of their ranger training,
the rookies have encountered four out of the big five safari animals.
lion and rhino.
But if they want to complete the set,
they need to find the hardest of the lot.
-Can anybody guess what animal it is? Tomas?
-It is a leopard.
-It is not going to be easy.
-You must have all your senses on alert.
-Shall we try and find one for you?
-Jump on it!
We need our five today. We've seen the four
from the big five and today will be the best day ever
if we see the leopard because it would complete everything.
It may be one of the smallest of the big cats,
but a leopard can carry prey twice its body weight up a tree.
And contrary to popular myth, this agile predator doesn't have spots.
Its coat is covered in rosettes, spots with a ring round them.
The area we're operating in this morning is very good for leopard.
It's right between the Sabie and the Sand Rivers. It's a beautiful area.
It is the best place and the most likely place to find leopard.
Kruger is the size of Wales.
There are only about 1,000 leopards living here.
Trying to find one is like looking for a needle in a haystack!
The chances of seeing leopards today, there's a 10% chance.
We'll give it our best shot and see if we can pull one out of the hat!
The team is starting out by the river
as leopards often hunt around water.
But, as the Safari 8 are now seeing,
there are also lots of other dangerous animals here too
which makes looking for a leopard on foot highly risky.
As part of their final challenge,
the team need to track a leopard.
So it's vital they listen carefully to Rudi's safety briefing.
It is really, really dangerous along the river. Very thick bush.
And we saw some buffalo coming in and out of the reeds.
Keep your eyes open. Don't look on the ground.
We'll walk in front. You guys in single file behind us.
If I hear talking, we're going to leave. We'll just come out.
-I don't even want to hear a whisper!
-When we come across a leopard,
they don't usually charge like normal animals.
Not straight on. They tend to come more in a zigzag motion.
If something happens, it's very, very important, like we said before,
that you stand still. Don't run.
If you run, you better be faster than that leopard! OK?
-And that's impossible.
-You guys ready?
Frankie and Rudi lead the group.
There's another ranger at the back for safety.
The leopard is a solitary animal that lives and hunts on its own.
This big cat kills its prey by biting the back of the neck.
And it has incredibly strong teeth and a powerful jaw
that means it can crunch through thick bones.
We've come quite a bit now.
We're looking for tracks, but haven't found anything yet.
Look out on the sides. If you see a leopard track, stop us.
As I said, they're very elusive animals.
Really elusive animals!
You get a quick glimpse and it'll run away.
That's why it's my favourite animal cos it's so unique.
When we do see one, if we see one,
it's going to be really exciting.
A leopard's tracks, or spur, have no claw marks in them
because it has retractable claws.
But so do lions
so it's easy to mix up the tracks of these two big cats.
But unfortunately after 20 minutes of walking,
the Safari 8 have had no chance to identify any spur at all
because they've found precisely nothing.
OK, guys, we're going to walk up to that massive sycamore fig.
We'll see if there's any remains there
and if a leopard has visited that tree recently.
As leopards hunt at night,
during the day they tend to sleep hidden in thick bush or trees.
With its wide branches, this sycamore fig tree
is one of their favourites. But sadly for the group,
there are no leopards lurking here today.
This is almost a perfect tree
for a leopard to either sleep in or take his prey up.
Often we'll see claw marks on the bark of the tree
where it's climbed up.
If it uses this tree, it'll really go high up
with his prey animal
because lions are also climbers
so lions can also get to his prey.
If a leopard was up a tree eating its prey,
and there's lions at the bottom,
will they wait for the leopard to come down and eat the leopard?
Lions lose interest quite quickly.
They'd lie there for a few hours, see the leopard won't come down,
or the leopard would see the lions asleep and he'd take a chance.
He's much faster than the lions, so he runs away from them.
So the leopard has been a no-show.
Although it's been an interesting morning,
as the group head back, there's an air of dissatisfaction.
I'm very disappointed I didn't see a leopard.
They're such beautiful and independent animals.
I was a bit disappointed.
We've seen four of the big five
so I'd like to see five.
Even touch five of the big five.
It's been a great experience, even though we didn't see one,
which was disappointing.
But we hope that as we carry on our trip as the Safari 8 team,
even though we've got little time left, we hope to see one soon.
The team may be disappointed at the lack of leopards,
but right now there's a bush banquet to attend to.
When the mystery VIP guests arrive in a few hours' time,
this blank patch of bush needs to look like a five-star restaurant.
So it's all hands on deck with the laying,
There we go.
Everything is coming together nicely.
Then Frankie gets a call from another ranger in the park.
-We really need to go.
-All Safari 8 come up!
-Quickly, quickly, quickly!
OK. On the vehicle - now!
-Will someone tell me what's going on?
The team don't know what's happening.
But there's only one thing they're hoping for.
-What if it's a leopard?
-Is it a leopard?
After a few more minutes' driving, the team arrives at the destination.
FRANKIE: All right, guys,
how does an impala get into a tree?
-I think there was a leopard.
We got a call that there's a female leopard with two cubs
that killed this impala. We're just searching for her now.
This is another chance for the team to see a leopard
and complete their big five bush experience.
It's amazing to see that impala up the tree, and like dead and stuff.
Obviously there has been a leopard here not that long ago.
We'll have to hope it does come back with its cubs
so we get to see it really clearly.
But unfortunately, the tree remained empty.
Basically, we tried,
as we did on our walk. It's a very elusive animal.
Because she's got cubs, she's going to be that much more elusive.
So unfortunately, she went away from us into the river.
We didn't see her. But maybe next time.
Once again, the team are disappointed.
I really wanted to see the leopard.
But at least the trip wasn't completely wasted.
We just stopped and we saw wild rhinos.
Two of them.
Maybe Sifiso can pick up some tips for his talk tomorrow.
-It looks so pretty!
Back at the bush banquet, the team's hard work has really paid off.
It looks so fancy!
The table they've laid looks fantastic
and the food they've prepared smells great.
All that's left is to reveal the identity of their mystery guests.
Your guests are about to arrive.
Are you sure everything is set up to a five-star standard?
-OK. It's really, really difficult people that's coming.
So, you guys can take a seat.
The VIPs are the Safari 8.
We've got springbok sausage.
Here we go.
Thank you, Leanne.
I'm really happy that we made it ourselves.
We all really thought we were going to get real guests
so it was a nice surprise that the food was for us.
We're so excited.
And how does that chicken marinade actually taste?
It's not nice - it's lovely!
Everything is perfect. A little tweaking here or there.
Perfect for the final challenge.
So, with bellies full of food,
it's nearly time for the Safari 8 to hit the hay.
-How's the banana, Kushal?
-It was lovely.
But the importance of tomorrow's presentations
is very much on their minds.
I'm nervous about tomorrow's presentations
because I've got everything prepared and know the facts,
but it's just that inside feeling and stuff.
I think I'm going to put in an all-nighter, like.
The other seven have actually got common animals
like the hippo, the lion, the giraffe.
And it's really easy for them.
I'm looking forward to the presentation but I'm a bit nervous.
I can't wait what's going to happen tomorrow.
It's the next morning, and as the group waits for the presentations,
they think about just how important this task could be
in determining their roles in the final challenge.
I am feeling a bit of pressure because we don't know our roles.
Everyone is thinking about it. Everyone is hyper and stressed.
I wouldn't mind any job, but I wanted to be head ranger.
If I'm not head ranger, be a guide.
I'm going to buy you a big one to keep as a pet!
Thank you, Sifiso!
That would be the best present ever!
The role I would like would be head ranger.
If I couldn't get head ranger, tracker or a guide.
I want to be head ranger in the final challenge.
I love leading and being in charge
so I'd like the role of head ranger.
In the final challenge, the guides will be responsible
for entertaining the guests with fascinating facts
about every animal they see.
These presentations are the first opportunity for Frankie and Rudi
to see which team members might be best suited to the role.
You guys need to impress me and Rudi
before we can allow you to impress your guests.
You've got two minutes to deliver your presentation.
Afterwards, myself and Rudi will give you feedback.
12-year-old Ella is the first to stand on the hot-spot.
'I'm a bit nervous about my presentation.'
I'm sure it'll be really good.
I'm very confident that I'll do quite well
but I'm still very nervous.
I'm going to tell you a bit more about the elephant.
The elephant's tusk weighs approximately 13 kilograms.
It's full of... It's made...thickly from ivor... Ivory. Ivory.
In spite of her earlier confidence,
Ella's nerves are getting the better of her.
Their feet um, measure approximately 50 centimetres
and you times the circumference to get their shoulder height.
Yeah, that's about it.
I heard a lot of "ums".
-I can see that!
I want to see a bit more confidence in your knowledge.
You can hear by the way you talk that that's the words in the book.
You learned it word for word. Speak from your heart. Be natural.
It was all in there and I knew that. It's just really hard
cos I was under pressure and time limits. I really need
to pull my socks up!
Next up, Sifiso,
who wanted the elephant but ended up with the rhino.
I've got butterflies in my tummy.
But I'm going to be OK.
Greetings to you all in the bush.
I've got an animal which is a rhinoceros.
English is Sifiso's third language
which makes his presentation even more impressive.
There are two types of rhino, a black and a white rhino.
A white rhino is a word taken from an Afrikaans word, "weit",
which means wild.
To make it easier, they say white and black rhino,
and it's not even white, the white rhino!
Thank you, Sifiso.
I take my hat off to you. Your presentation was very well done.
You told a story and not just facts.
That's what you need in a presentation.
Having picked up some useful tips from the first few candidates,
the rest sail through and bring some of their own ideas to the table.
Good afternoon. I will be your tour guide today.
Remember, it's very hot outside, so remember to drink water
and stay in single file when in the bush.
The leopard is a very unpredictable animal
because they're normally reared in softwood trees
like the marula and the green fig tree.
This is a giraffe, also known, as I've named her, Jelly.
Its scientific name is Giraffa camelopardalis.
People wonder why they go in the water so well and are so buoyant.
It's because of their bulky shape. I'll demonstrate.
You can see why the hippo would float.
This is the buffalo.
They can produce 100 to 200 litres of saliva per day.
That's a lot!
Tomas, see what you can do.
When it comes to Tomas,
will the challenge of the vervet monkey and baboon prove too much?
The vervet monkeys are small and different to baboons.
They've got a really long tail.
The baboon has...
I don't know. I've mucked up.
Just go on.
-What else do you know?
-I went off the baboon too early.
That's fine. Go back for the baboon.
With the mentors' encouragement, Tomas finishes his speech.
Baboons are 99%, with their genes, close to humans.
The one per cent is they haven't got a voice box so they can't talk.
Right, Tomas, well done. You came over very well.
I think people will listen to you,
but don't ever say, "I mucked it up."
Because people will then find it difficult to believe you again.
I think they were expecting me to be funny, so they were a bit let down.
You guys all did really well.
Remember when you're out there, you need to keep the guests entertained.
So that's it. The Safari 8 have done everything they can
to impress their mentors.
But who will have won which role in the final challenge?
The team will find out tomorrow.
Next time on Safari 8:
the team's training comes to a dramatic close.
I never thought I'd see anything like this in my life.
Things get close to breaking point.
You guys disappoint me. There's no leadership.
And the final challenge roles are revealed.
The head ranger will be...
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