Journey Magicians - Our Tribe - We Are... | Ultimate Safaris

Journey Magicians

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Our Journey Magicians are our ‘engine room’, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure all aspects of the Ultimate Safaris operation run smoothly and cohesively. This includes helping guides make sure they are fully prepared for guest arrivals, checking and maintaining our safari vehicles, producing the necessary information packages for specific safaris, and running our own fully-serviced camps. 

Meet Our Journey Magicians

Ultimate Safaris - Abner Paulus

Abner Paulus

How did your journey start in Tourism: My journey in the Tourism industry started off as a guard at Ultimate Safaris and then I got moved to guard at Galton House.

 Personal interests: Looking at upgrading myself from my current position.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: It is the best tourism company in Namibia and Africa.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Ruacana falls, because of its beauty scenery and nature. 

Ultimate Safaris - Adeline Mulonga

Adeline Mulonga

How did your journey start in Tourism: My career started when Mr. Tristan Cowley recognized my abilities and hard work and offered me a position at Galton House as a Housekeeper.

Personal interests: Spending time with family and volunteer work.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I love doing what I do at Ultimate Safaris/Galton House. I had the best experience thus far, as I have meet a lot of people. Travelling to lodges has been a great inspiration as I have learned and seen a lot.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund as it is a very beautiful place. I haven’t had the opportunity to embark on the dunes, and I have that on my list to do, the next time I get to Swakopmund. 

Ultimate Safaris - Anna Angula

Anna Angula

How did your journey start in Tourism: My career in this industry started when a guide named Jimmy asked that I assist at Galton House as an assistant chef. I worked hard and showed my dedication, that I got promoted to head of chef.

 Personal interests: Cooking

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Because of its diversity and I get to meet new people each day.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund, because of the sea and its lovely breeze. 

Ultimate Safaris - Bianca Mulonga

Bianca Mulonga

How did your journey start in Tourism: My career started when my colleague Angela, offered that I assist with housekeeping Galton House.  In the time, I have showed my dedication and hard work, which to my success got me a permanent position at Galton House till present.

Personal interests: Cooking, spending time with family and I love listening to music.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: The Tribe! Secondly getting to meet new people. Thirdly I have learned a lot about tourism through Ultimate Safaris.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund, due to the sand dunes. My goal one day is to embark on quad bikes in the dunes. 

Ultimate Safaris - Conny Von Dewitz

Conny Von Dewitz

How did your journey start in Tourism: As children my parents took us on regular trips all over the country and that instilled my love for travelling. My passion for driving the highways and byways of Namibia and having done several NATH courses, made me want to share this unique and diverse country we call home with tourists coming to Namibia. The vast open spaces, listening to only the wild gently blowing over the veld and the star-studded sky brings an inner peace that makes you think of what is really important in life.

After having worked in a variety of jobs, I was offered the opportunity to join the tourism industry. This made me grab the chance with both hands and I never looked back.

 Personal interests: Travelling, photography, drawing and reading.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Being part of a very diverse and unique tribe of people, brought together by the love for sharing Namibia with guests and actively playing a big role in conservation, is something very special. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Very difficult to say. But if I had to choose it would be the Kalahari with its red dunes, golden grass, camelthorn trees, occasional wildlife and endless roads.

Ultimate Safaris - Coenie Louw

Coenie Louw

How did your journey start in Tourism:  My journey in the Tourism Industry started in 1996 with Sun International in South Africa as a Group Inventory Manager, supporting 33 Hotels and Casino. Mostly in South Africa, but also in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, and Egypt.

 I did systems / application and operational support for several other Hotels and Lodges too, throughout South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland too. I was fortunate to have done some work for hotels in Ireland, Germany, and Vietnam too.

 Personal interests: I have a great interest in cooking.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I find Ultimate Safaris to be very goal orientated, service driven, dedicated and ambitious. Committed to making a difference through their conservation foundations. They invest a great deal in their staff.

 One feel’s part of a great happy family with Ultimate Safaris.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund. I love the smell of the sea. I enjoy the cool weather. It is just a beautiful town.

Ultimate Safaris - Daniel Naholo

Daniel Naholo

How did your journey in tourismHe started working at Ultimate Safaris in 2016 on wild camp as a chef and moved onto //Huab Under Canvas camp in Damaraland as an assistant manager, and later became the Camp Captain. Currently he is Head chef and assistant manager at Camp Sossus.

 Personal interest Cooking, travelling and soccer

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate SafarisWe are a family at Ultimate Safaris as we help one another and work as a team.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia: Sossusvlei because of its beautiful landscape, red dunes and all its wildlife.

Ultimate Safaris - Diana Hengari

Diana Hengari

How did your journey start in Tourism:  A friend of mine (Angie) told me about her work, and I took interest in it. I asked her to speak to her manager about recruiting me, and I got employed at Galton house in the house keeping department.

 I am employed at Galton House for ten years and it has been an amazing journey.

Personal interests: Spending time with family and friends.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: The best company to work for, as it has given me a lot of opportunities to grow and care for my family.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Otjinene, will be my favourite destination as its home. 

Ultimate Safaris - Eduardo Aibeb

Eduardo Aibeb

Ultimate Safaris - Elaine Ganes

Elaine Ganes

How did your journey start in Tourism: I studied Hospitality at the University of Science and Technology (NUST) and graduated in 2019. I have been in the industry for 7 years.

Personal interests: Hiking and camping.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Other than the company’s dedication to conservation and tourism as a whole, the Ultimate Tribe is the best Tribe!

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Damaraland as a whole! From the Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings to the different properties within the same area full of wildlife.

Ultimate Safaris - Elgardt Bussel

Elgardt Bussel

Ultimate Safaris - Elikan Joseph

Elikan Joseph

Ultimate Safaris - Elia Kokule

Elia Kokule

How did your journey start in TourismAfter completing high school, I furthered my studies in hospitality and tourism, and thereafter was employed at Camp Sossus as a Butler. I was later asked to help at //Huab Under Canvas and eventually came back to Camp Sossus, as its always home.

 Personal interest: Cooking, soccer and swimming.

 Why I enjoy working for Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris is a tribe that stands together. The level off stress is low and most importantly, as you have the opportunity to experience the tourism industry.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why? Damaraland because of the large population of black rhinos, beautiful rocky Mountains, the desert adapted elephants and its landscape.

Ultimate Safaris - Emanuel Nampweya

Emanuel Nampweya

Ultimate Safaris - Ester Howoses

Ester Howoses

Ultimate Safaris - Festus Gaseb

Festus Gaseb

Ultimate Safaris - Frederika Jahanika

Frederika Jahanika

Ultimate Safaris - Gert Van Wyk

Gert Van Wyk

Ultimate Safaris - Grant Chambers

Grant Chambers

Background Grant grew up on a dairy and crop farm in the Transvaal, or North West Province as it is known today, of South Africa. While he finished school in the local town, he spent his free time working on the farm, laying the foundations of the varied skillsets he possesses today. Whenever on holiday, he would spend this time with his family exploring national parks or nature reserves, expanding his knowledge of fauna and flora. This also, sparked the love for conservation.

Experience

Grant’s 21 years of experience started with him studying Tourism Management and immediately after, also qualifying as a level 1 field guide. Although his time acting as field guide was a wealth of experience, he decided to move into Reserve management where he could be more hands on involved with the technical day to day running of the nature reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa. After getting married, Grant and Irene moved to Pretoria where he had his own maintenance and consulting business. In 2014, they decided to move to Namibia where their son Ethan was born. After a few years working for AndBeyond in the Sossusvlei area, Grant moved back to Windhoek to be with his family and joined Ultimate Safaris where his passion and skills merged seamlessly with what Ultimate Safaris stands for.

Personal interests? Camping, hiking, fishing, long range shooting, cooking, carpentry, to name a few.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris? Ultimate Safaris have a true passion in what they stand for. Their success to date inspires, motivates and uplifts not only the staff but also the communities they operate in.

Favorite destination in Namibia? Namibia still has much to offer, but for the moment, it is Damaraland with its diverse landscapes, wildlife and people.

Ultimate Safaris - Hans Gariseb

Hans Gariseb

Ultimate Safaris - Hans Haoseb

Hans Haoseb

Ultimate Safaris - Helvi Shoombe

Helvi Shoombe

How did your journey start in Tourism:I was introduced to the tourism industry in 2004 when I started working at the Italian Embassy. The Embassy closed their office in Namibia after a few years and the ambassador and his wife offered me a free visa for six months to go with them to Italy. When my visa expired, they decided to send me to Switzerland for another year where I was able to learn Italian.

I came back home in 2 years later and got employed at Sossus Dune Lodge as a volunteer.

I later became an airport representative, doing meet & greets and assisting fly-in guests. I enjoyed working with guests directly and was offered a position as a receptionist for 3 months.

I later joined Ultimate Safaris in 2017. A lot changed in me when I started travelling to different places whilst working at various companies as I was able to explore places such as Sossusvlei, Etosha, Damaraland, Sera Cafema (and more). I love working in the tourism industry.

 Personal interests: Traveling, reading and sports.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris because the working environment is so good, we are family, you will never feel left out as we always look out for each other.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Sossusvlei, Etosha, Damaraland and the coast. 

Ultimate Safaris - Immaculata Benjamin

Immaculata Benjamin

Ultimate Safaris - Inventius Munango

Inventius Munango

How did your journey start in TourismMy journey in Tourism started as a security guard at Galton House, and after my persistent hard work and determination, the company saw potential in me, and I was promoted to housekeeper and camp assistant at Camp Sossus.

 Personal interest: Soccer and working as a camp assistant

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I enjoy the unity of the Ultimate Safaris tribe.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why? It is Sossusvlei, because of its amazing land scape and dunes which I never saw before.

Ultimate Safaris - Jason Nott

Jason Nott

Background

Jason comes from a well-known family of Namibian “Nature Conservators” who have been very involved in development issues in the country for decades. The Nott family first came to “South West Africa” in the early 80’s to work for the South African administration in Nature Conservation, and they stayed on after Independence in 1990 when they all opted to take Namibian Citizenship. They have continued to work on conservation and community development issues, mainly in the north of the country, ever since.

Jason spent his early years in the small town of Omaruru where he was instilled with a love of nature from an early age. He took every opportunity to be outdoors, either with his parents or his godfather, Dr Flip Stander, who has become well-known for his veterinary work and scientific research on Namibia’s desert lions. He gained great knowledge and expertise through being with them as they worked, and he has added to this experience with his own book learning as he is also an avid reader of any publications on the subject.

As he also enjoys working with people, he soon found a way of combining both interests through running his own safaris and then getting more heavily involved in the tourism industry. He studied to get his diploma in Travel and Tourism management, and then started his formal career off in lodge management when he ran a lodge in north-western Namibia. While he was there, he found his way to his true joy, sharing the wonders of the more remote areas of Namibia with visitors – and that is why he became a safari guide.

He is now working at Ultimate Safaris where he has found a way to continue his professional guiding career while still being able to ‘give back’ to conservation and sustainable tourism. As his background and interests were ideally suited to this, Jason has been entrusted with helping to run the Conservation Travel Foundation, Ultimate Safaris’ non-profit registered trust, which is involved in several humanitarian and conservation initiatives around the country.  He also uses part of his former experience to manage the mobile (under canvas) safari department at the company, ensuring the mobile camps run smoothly and efficiently whilst in the field and controlling the operations of the semi-permanent Under Canvas camps.

Jason is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable birder, although not yet quite able to claim that he is a specialist guide in the field, and he is an accomplished photographer. He is very personable and brings his passion for his country across to his guests, leaving them an abiding love for Namibia and its various inhabitants. He met his wife, Amber, out in the field when she was on a ‘study abroad’ program as part of her degree in Zoology. They now live in Windhoek and Amber is working at the Opuwo Processing Facility (a community-based project that deals harvesting and processing of natural plants into essential oils). Both of them have a passion for wildlife and its protection, and a strong belief that this is best achieved through the development of communities. They also have a passion for travel, having journeyed extensively through Africa, mainland Europe, UK, USA and parts of Asia.

Guiding Experience

Jason’s enthusiasm for protecting the environment was part of his up-bringing. He witnessed the effects of protecting land resources through tourism, and saw the development of rural conservancies at first hand. He then went away for a GAP year in England, returning to run his first private safari for pupils from the school had been working at. This was at the tender age of 19 while also still studying Travel and Tourism management at a local university.

He then went on to fine tune his guiding skills while working at Palmwag Lodge in Damaraland. He quickly proved his competence there and soon became the lodge manager while also taking on the training of local guides. Since leaving Palmwag, he has continued to guide a variety of trips, ranging from camping to more upmarket fly-in safaris. Jason has a great understanding of the conservation and sustainability issues concerned in the development of the country and this allows him to look further into the natural environment than just identifying the fauna and flora.

Jason also has many existing relationships with local communities that he has worked with all over the northwest, and this means that any guests he takes in to visit these communities are treated as family friends rather than just as visiting tourists.  He is also an interesting and informative travelling companion so, by the end of any safari guided by him, you will have a greater understanding and love of the country that he calls home as well as having had an unforgettable experience.

Personal Interests

Birding, Conservation, Sports, Camping, and Traveling (preferably with my wife)

Why I enjoy guiding

One of the greatest pleasures is showing a visitor something new and fascinating about the country I love, and guiding is my tool for doing this.

On Trail…

I have many fond memories of lion encounters, especially when out in the field with Flip Stander, but there is one that will always stick out in my mind. This is the time that I really gained my respect for these wonderful animals and I will always admire their strength and beauty. We were on a school trip hike through the Palmwag concession, and decided to take a major detour so we could have a swim is some natural springs. We were approaching the spring quite fast as we made our way up the gorge it was located in and the closer we got the more lion tracks we saw, and all of a sudden there were lion cub tracks too – lots of them.

Before we even knew what was happening, there was a rustle in the bushes and out came a female lion charging out at us. As she approached us standing in a line, we just froze. She then hit on the brakes and skidded towards us and, as the dust settled and my eyes cleared, directly in front of me was the head of a female lion just an arm’s length away. As she stared me straight in the eyes, my outlook on lions changed in an instant. She walked up and down the line disdainfully then made her way back to the bush after collecting her cubs, and they all ran off into the distance. This was how I realized what great and magnificent animals they really were – and I was just 13 at the time!

Ultimate Safaris - Jan Mohrdieck

Jan Mohrdieck

Jan was born in Erlangen in Germany where he spent the majority of his childhood until coming to Namibia when his father purchased a farm near Outjo in 1998. After a couple of years there he moved back to Germany and worked in a local hotel while also taking courses in English before returning to Namibia in 2006 to work as a guide for &Beyond. He went back to Germany in 2009 to continue his education in natural history then finally moved back to Namibia in 2011 to help his father run their family farm. During that time, he also did specialist language freelance guiding for Ultimate Safaris and others before joining the Ultimate guiding team full time in 2013.

 Jan is now based in Windhoek and making the arrangements for safaris that others will guide. He is very dedicated to his job as he enjoys the opportunity to work with some of the most experienced naturalist guides in the country. He has always taken an active interest in the bush, especially when living on the farm, and he is very happy to have the chance to have a career in an area which gives him so much pleasure and satisfaction.

Ultimate Safaris - Jacob Haingura

Jacob Haingura

Ultimate Safaris - Jacobs Kauhonwa

Jacobs Kauhonwa

Ultimate Safaris - Jesajas Nuab

Jesajas Nuab

Ultimate Safaris - Jimmie Kokule

Jimmie Kokule

How did your journey start in Tourism? I had my first taste of the tourism industry in at Galton House as a waiter, where I picked up a good understanding and basis of tourism operations and philosophy. My commitment and hard work had me promoted to assistant manager. I was later given the chance to run the wild camp of Ultimate Safaris, and shortly after that I was promoted to manage Huab Under Canvas in Damaraland. After a great experience, I then had the opportunity to go to Camp Sossus and work there as a manager.

 Personal Interests: Traveling, meeting new people, reading and spending quality time with family and friends.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Tribe makes you feel like family. There is trust in you to work on your own and take initiative without having unnecessary pressure, and most importantly you get the chance to create your own experiences. Stress free right?

 My favourite destination in Namibia and why. My favourite part is Sossusvlei, because of its amazing landscape, dunes and adapted wild animals.

Ultimate Safaris - John Inichab

John Inichab

Ultimate Safaris - Katja Schneider

Katja Schneider

How did your journey start in Tourism: I studied Tourism in Stellenbosch and thereafter moved to Windhoek and have worked in the tourism industry for the past 12 years.

 Personal interests: Cycling, Trail running, Camping – All in all: Being outdoors.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Great vibes in the tribe.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Damaraland / Kaokoveld – great scenery, lots of wildlife and interesting community / conservation projects.

Ultimate Safaris - Kennedy Hoabeb

Kennedy Hoabeb

Ultimate Safaris - Kelvin Msuya

Kelvin Msuya

Ultimate Safaris - Leonardo Bezuidenhoudt

Leonardo Bezuidenhoudt

Ultimate Safaris - Martin Webb Bowen

Martin Webb Bowen

Martin came to Namibia from Kenya in 1993 to run the Namibian end of a British safari operation, but this quickly developed into a fully Namibian safari company called SandyAcre Safaris. The company initially only concentrated on providing private guided safaris for visitors from the UK, but this soon spread into other source markets such as the USA, Switzerland, France, Spain and Australia. It also became established as a reliable film services support company, specifically as a sub-contractor for the BBC. SandyAcre Safaris was incorporated into the newly formed Ultimate Safaris in 2008, and Martin now oversees the running of the new company in partnership with Tristan Cowley.

 At various times, Martin and Tristan have filled most of the executive positions in private sector tourism associations, and they are still Trustees for NATH (Namibian Academy of Tourism and Hospitality). They also act as Administrators and Trustees for the non-profit Conservation Travel Foundation which works to assist rural development and conservation initiatives in the areas where the safari company is most active. Martin has retained his passion for arranging seamless holidays for individuals as well as for the larger tour groups that now make up the majority of the company’s business - and hearing the words ‘holiday of a lifetime’ is still guaranteed to provide him with considerable satisfaction 

Ultimate Safaris - Merwin Naibab

Merwin Naibab

Ultimate Safaris - Nelson Sheuyange

Nelson Sheuyange

 

How did your journey start in Tourism: My journey in Tourism started off in when I was employed at Camp Sossus as a general worker. After hard work and demonstrating my commitment, I was promoted to a housekeeper at //Huab Under Canvas. I later moved back to Camp Sossus as head of the housekeeping department.

 Personal interest: Soccer, swimming and wildlife

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Working at Ultimate Safaris is stress fee with opportunities to better myself and work united as a tribe.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why? Sossusvlei, because of its beautiful landscape, beautiful red dunes and all its wildlife.

Ultimate Safaris - Ndeshihafela Thomas

Ndeshihafela Thomas

How did your journey start in Tourism:  My journey in Tourism started when a friend Angelina informed me that there is a vacancy at Galton House.  I got the job, and that’s how I was introduced to the Tourism industry.

Personal interests: Cleaning, socializing with friends and family, but most importantly I love to know new people.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: It gave me the opportunity to grow within the Tourism industry, and everyone working at Ultimate Safaris is kind- hearted.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund, because of its pleasant weather. 

Ultimate Safaris - Ndilenga Hiwanwa

Ndilenga Hiwanwa

Ultimate Safaris - Oresa Aibes

Oresa Aibes

Ultimate Safaris - Otja Muruko

Otja Muruko

Ultimate Safaris - Petrus Namene

Petrus Namene

Ultimate Safaris - Protasius Fransman

Protasius Fransman

Ultimate Safaris - Rhona Strauss

Rhona Strauss

How did your journey start in Tourism: I am a trained Professional Chef who moved to Namibia in 2006 and had the incredible opportunity to run the Anglo American VIP Guesthouse in Rosh Pinah for a few years. This is where my absolute passion for Hospitality and Tourism were ignited – being able to merge my love for food and cooking whilst taking care of the guests. I was hooked and consider myself very privileged to be able to still do just that!

 Personal interests: I’m a bit of a workaholic and totally in love with my job, so as long as I am busy with anything food or tourism related, I am happy.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I love being part of the bigger picture, a bigger purpose, being part of Life Enriching Journeys, whether it's by training my chefs in our outlets, by inspiring them with new ideas, or making sure they receive all their procurement and things they need to be able to offer a 6-star service to our guests.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? The Deep South will always have my heart….I still dream of the colors of the dunes in the Sperrgebiet, the ruggedness of farm life close to Goageb and the deafening silence of camping next to the Orange River with only the call of the Fish Eagles as music for your soul.

Ultimate Safaris - Romanzo Coetzee

Romanzo Coetzee

Ultimate Safaris - Robert Abiatar

Robert Abiatar

How did my journey start in tourism: I started my journey in the tourism industry with Ultimate safaris in 2019, where I started helping at Camp Sossus. I was later promoted as an assistant chef at Galton House.  in April 2022, I was moved to Camp Sossus. 

Personal interest:  cooking 

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: I enjoy teamwork, working as one team is the best thing.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why? Sossusvlei is one of my best destinations because of its good landscape and good views at all times.

Ultimate Safaris - Stanley Musambani

Stanley Musambani

Ultimate Safaris - Sevelinus Tuhafeni

Sevelinus Tuhafeni

Ultimate Safaris - Susanna Goamus

Susanna Goamus

Ultimate Safaris - Tamara Namuyamba

Tamara Namuyamba

How did your journey start in Tourism:  My journey started when I got employed at Galton House as Receptionist/Host in 2022, and I am enjoying myself this far.

 I can’t wait to grow within the industry.

Personal interests: Travelling, community service and blogging.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Having the opportunity to engage with different people from different countries and making guests happy.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? Sossusvlei, because of the divine scenery of the desert, and this it makes it the perfect destination for photographs, especially at dawn and sunset.

Ultimate Safaris - Teofelus Shihepaununeni

Teofelus Shihepaununeni

Ultimate Safaris - Tobias Naholo

Tobias Naholo

How did your journey start in TourismTobias started at Galton House as a night porter, and after demonstrating his commitment and hard work, he was promoted as an assistant chef ‘and later he became a full-time chef. 

He was then promoted to head chef at Camp Sossus. After a year he moved over to //Huab Under Canvas and is still a head chef. When time allows, he also assists at Onduli Ridge.

 Personal interest: Cooking, soccer and swimming.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate safaris: He enjoys working at Ultimate Safaris because of the unity of the tribe. Its stress free, and because of the support from the company to better himself through training.

 Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why: Damaraland, because of the large population of free roaming black rhinos, Desert Adopted Elephants and the landscape.

Ultimate Safaris - Tima Aebes

Tima Aebes

Ultimate Safaris - Tristan Cowley

Tristan Cowley

Background

The Cowley family has been involved in tourism in southern Africa for over two decades. As one of the pioneering families in the tourism field in Namibia, the Cowleys (Clive and Doris) produced the first in-depth travel guide for Namibia in the late 1980’s, setting an unprecedented benchmark for others to follow. ‘The Namibia Guidebook’ (now called ‘Clive Cowley’s Journey into Namibia’) was the first tourist guidebook which offered both visitors and potential visitors an in-depth account of this great country.

Having a true love and passion for the natural environment, Tristan followed in his parents’ footsteps and founded Tou (meaning ‘Elephant’ in the Lozi language) Safaris in 2003, specializing in naturalist guided safaris to Namibia. In 2008 Tou Safaris merged with another like-minded safari company to form Ultimate Safaris, which has grown to be one of Namibia’s most renowned naturalist and specialist guiding safari companies.

Tristan is married to Stefanie, who is a lawyer in Windhoek, and together they have two sons called Dylan and Joshua. He has a passion for photography and developing tourism in Namibia in a sustainable way, to ensure benefit for everyone involved.

Guiding experience

Tristan’s life in the natural environment and tourism began as a teenager working as a river guide in South Africa, guiding canoe and kayak safaris on 3 different rivers. After school he moved on to manage one of Africa’s finest camps, Wolwedans, where he became a specialist desert guide. He then studied Natural Resource Management (Nature Conservation), where after he completed both the National and Hunting Guide Qualifications and was assigned to lead exclusive safaris in southern Africa for leading safari operators. Tristan is a Namibia specialist, but has led safaris in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.  

In his early guiding years, Tristan also worked as a field researcher, conducting field research on two sandgrouse species as well as the newly described endemic black mongoose. He has had numerous research papers published in learned journals as well as popular publications. Tristan has also spent a fair amount of time as a lecturer at NATH (Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality), lecturing young and aspiring safari guides.

Having served as the chairman of TASA (Tour and Safari Association of Namibia), vice chairman of NATH (Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality), on the executive council of FENATA (Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations) and the advisory council to the school of natural resource management at the University of Technology in Namibia, it is fair to say that Tristan is a well-known and respected personality within the Namibian tourism industry.

Tristan was also the founder of the Conservation Travel Foundation, a legally registered non-profit trust which has been established to assist humanitarian and conservation initiatives in the areas in which Ultimate Safaris operates. He is one of the trustees for the NATH Education Trust, another legally registered trust which is responsible for granting bursaries for up and coming aspiring safari guides in Namibia.

Since its inception, Ultimate Safaris has grown to a team of over 80 staff, so Tristan spends most of his time running the operations, as well as doing the marketing which involves extensive travels to Europe, Australasia and North America, as well as more occasional visits to South America. However, he still finds time to guide the occasional specialist or specific repeat groups, so continues to engage in what is his real passion. 

Personal interests

Sport, traveling, socializing and photography.

Why I enjoy guiding

It’s not a job, it’s a way of life…

On trail…

Having spent many months in the field on my own (mainly during research expeditions) the most humbling experience for me was coming face to face with a leopard at very close range on a narrow ridge in the Erongo Mountains.  The encounter happened when I was coming around a blind corner on a mountain ridge and I suddenly came across, and woke, a large sleeping male leopard.  The leopard got to his feet instantly, staying stationary and staring straight at me.  He then took four steps toward me, before grunting and then turning around, making off in the direction I was going (the path was narrow so there was obviously no way past me).  I was able to stand and watch him walk away from me for about 200 m, before he disappeared around another corner.  Having had a sufficiently memorable encounter for that day, I turned around and decided to go back the way I had come!

Ultimate Safaris - Wessel Nanuseb

Wessel Nanuseb

Ultimate Safaris - William Steenkamp

William Steenkamp

Ultimate Safaris - Willy Pootinu

Willy Pootinu

Ultimate Safaris - Wilhelm Neego

Wilhelm Neego

Ultimate Safaris - Yerome Boois

Yerome Boois

Ultimate Safaris - Zederich Beukes

Zederich Beukes

Ultimate Safaris - Marike Van Wyk

Marike Van Wyk

How did your journey start in Tourism: I have always had a passion for the outdoors since childhood. After finishing my studies in Nature Conservation in 2012, I got some practical experience at two Namibian lodges – one in Damaraland and one close to Etosha. But as life happens, I had to change my career to adapt to my move back to Windhoek. After almost ten years I am proud to have found my place at Ultimate Safaris.

 Personal interests: Photography, camping, birding, travelling, and spending time with my animals.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? At the moment, I can truly say that Damaraland is my go-to for self-drive tours, as the views and variety of wildlife in the vastness of the arid landscape always surprises me, yet it is an easy terrain to navigate. Having lived and worked here almost a decade ago, it somehow still feels familiar. It is difficult to choose a favourite Namibian destination, as I believe you should visit everywhere at least twice before making the verdict! 


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