Journeysmiths - Our Tribe - We Are... | Ultimate Safaris

Journeysmiths

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Our Journeysmiths are considered to be leading authorities on travel to Namibia, and they have over 300 years of relevant experience between them. From the onset, great importance is attached to identifying specific expectations and requirements and including these in the arrangements made, thus ensuring seamless and very memorable safari experiences. Facilitated by intelligent, insider knowledge and a little black book of private contacts, our safari specialists smooth out the creases to remove the complexities of a Namibian safari, ensuring all aspects of any given safari are artfully tied together. Keeping on the cutting edge of what is new is a priority at Ultimate Safaris and, as a result, you are assured of a safari that makes use of the best possible options available. 

Meet our Journeysmiths

Ultimate Safaris - Abbi Shikukumwa

Abbi Shikukumwa

Ultimate Safaris - Alfons Kaura

Alfons Kaura

Alfons has always had a passion for the open road, keen to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. He travelled regularly to a family farm in the Erongo region of Namibia during his school holidays, and this started his love for nature. At much the same time he saw the pictures that a friend had taken during a tour he had just completed and knew immediately that he wanted to work in the tourism industry. He therefore completed a diploma in Travel and Tourism and went on to work for three years at Canon Lodge in the Fish River Canyon. He was then offered a fully paid scholarship by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to study at the Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality (NATH), where he obtained his Level 3 National tour guide qualification, graduating at the top of his class.  He did his guide internship at Wolwedans on the Namib Rand Nature Reserve and from there came to join Ultimate Safaris as a trainee guide.  

 During this time, his true ability became apparent as he showed great potential as a tour consultant. He was always willing to assist, determined to do every task as well as he could, and meticulous with his planning and administration. When added to a friendly and positive demeanor and a willingness to take responsibility for what he was doing, he quickly established himself as a valued member the Windhoek office. He spent several years learning the trade under the direct supervision of the company directors but then progressed swiftly to become an independent consultant and then a senior consultant who now also supervises others. The knowledge and experience he has gathered over the years during his travels around Namibia means that he has the understanding of his home country that allows him to prepare the ideal safari.  Alfons still regards the Canon Lodge his favorite place in Namibia and visits it any chance he can get– after all, it is where he got his first employment and where he started his career in the tourism Industry, so it will always be his first love.   

Ultimate Safaris - Amanda Engelbrecht

Amanda Engelbrecht

How did your journey start in Tourism:  During my final year of high school, I attended a career fair at which various companies and universities had displays of possible career paths to follow. This is where I discovered the existence of the tourism industry and decided to change my career path from Accounting to Tourism. Within a year, I was enrolled as a Tourism Management student at NUST and studying towards a bachelor's degree. Before graduating from NUST, I applied for the Disney Cultural Representative programme and was provided with the opportunity to work at Walt Disney World for a year and that is when my career in tourism really took off. After that year I returned, graduated, and was off to work in the United States for another 6 months as an intern at a 4-star hotel which is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. Upon returning to Namibia, I started off at the Cheetah Conservation Fund and about a year and few months after, started working with the Ultimate Safaris Tribe.

Personal interests: Reading, music and travel.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris has an organized, creative and unique way of doing things- I like that. They are thoughtful and consider every aspect of the guests travel experience while in Namibia. Their dedication and contribution to conservation is inspiring, making it one of the reasons I chose to work here.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? So far, I don’t have a favorite destination in Namibia because I believe that every destination in Namibia has something unique to offer (whether it is wildlife or scenery) that makes it special and worth visiting. I would like to see them all every single time!

Ultimate Safaris - Anna Povanhu

Anna Povanhu

Anna was born in Angola and was raised in the former East Germany.  The first time she ever went on an aircraft was on the life changing journey moving from Angola to Germany as a child, and she was inspired by the air hostesses and wanted to be one when she grew up. This dream came true in 2004 when she was recruited by Air Namibia. During her 5 years of flying with the airline she spent time in Germany, the UK, Angola, Ghana and all over South Africa.  A passenger asked her one day what she would recommend for when he visited in Namibia and then the realization dawned on her that she didn’t know Namibia at all even though it had been her home since her teens. She had only visited Swakopmund and Owamboland, the home to her parents & grandparents. She therefore changed her career direction and became a travel consultant, determined to continue her passion for travel and meeting new people, but also taking the opportunity to explore her home.

Anna started working with Wilderness Safaris and then moved to Ultimate Safaris where she has become a specialist in all Namibian safaris, including designing and planning self-drives, guided and fly in safaris for FIT’s and small groups. She has now travelled widely and been to Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Opuwo, Etosha and parts of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, but the Namib Rand Nature Reserve remains her favourite place - every time she visits the Namib Rand, it takes her breath away so it is definitely her place to ‘get away from it all’. Anna has shown that strong determination will open up opportunities to work in your dream job.  She loves designing people’s holidays and being an ambassador for her beautiful country, while still having a lot of fun. She is a huge fan of the National Geographic channel and could spend hours entranced watching it, and one of her favourite quotes is by Bo Bennett: “Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it cannot be done.”

Ultimate Safaris - Birgit Mohrmann

Birgit Mohrmann

Birgit is a fourth generation Namibian, of German descent, and she has worked in the Namibian tourism sector for nearly two decades. As a result, she has visited more than 400 lodges, camps and hotels throughout the country, and she is one of the most passionate Namibians in the industry. She works on introducing Ultimate Safaris and its products to operators based overseas, and then following that up with detailed information and suggestions concerning how we can best work together. She then remains involved while the business relationship is established and nurtured, and also remains on call to assist when needed even after her own direct role of introduction has been completed. In addition to her travels in Namibia, she has also enjoyed many safaris to the Okavango Delta, got soaked by the Victoria Falls, and regularly travels to South Africa for work and pleasure. 

Birgit has worked in marketing for most of her career, so she has travelled extensively, including sales trips to the UK, Germany, Holland, and the US where she particularly loves the west coast.  While she enjoys the pulsating vibe of big city life, she prefers her soul to be rejuvenated in her favourite place of Namibia, the northwest of Namibia. Any of the ephemeral river systems, the purple pink colours of the Damaraland and especially the wild isolation of the Kunene region is where her seemingly inexhaustible positive energy gets it’s much needed recharge.  In addition to her main role, she also served on the TASA board for several years and is fiercely committed to promote Namibia continuously as a safe, unique and pioneering tourism destination.

Ultimate Safaris - Clemensia Ouses

Clemensia Ouses

How did your journey start in Tourism: I got my first taste of the tourism industry in 2011 when I helped my older sister to run her company as a holiday job.  I studied Travel & Tourism at the Namibian University of Science and Technology, and I completed my internship at Nature Friend Safaris where I picked up a good grounding of tourism operations and philosophy.

After that, I joined Ultimate Safaris as a receptionist and by my bright personality and obvious potential, I quickly got promoted to Journeysmith, and I have become an integral part of the tribe, always eager to help and learn. I now co-ordinate the very successful Ultimate Namibia Safari and Namibia Under Canvas programmes.

  Personal interests: Travelling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: The Ultimate tribe makes you feel like a family, its family away from home. 

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? My favorite part of Namibia is Damaraland because of its amazingly diverse colors and landscapes.

Ultimate Safaris - Colleen Bleach

Colleen Bleach

 Colleen has always had a great interest in wildlife and travel, especially birding and discovering the little things in the bush. Added to this, she lives in a perfect country to develop her passion for photography, which is why Wolwedans remains her favourite spot in Namibia as this magical place makes it impossible to take an ugly photo.  Namibian born, she started her tourism career in South Africa with three years in retail travel and then worked for over thirteen years at &Beyond, five of which were at a lodge in the Sabi Sands.  She then moved back to Namibia and has been with Ultimate Safaris since that time and is happy to be somewhere she can continue to indulge in her passion for the bush and work with people who share that interest.  Colleen herself has explored much of Namibia and South Africa as well as visiting Botswana, Victoria Falls, Zanzibar, Kenya/Diani Beach and most of the &Beyond East African lodges. She has also ventured to places beyond Southern Africa, including Thailand and Singapore, Australia (for the 2000 Olympics), London and many countries in Europe.

 Colleen’s attention to detail is consummate, and she’s dedicated to using her extensive knowledge from her own experiences to put together truly life enriching journeys for others.   Her enjoyment for people and traveling and her highly guest orientated personality combine well to ensure her trip planning guarantees a great experience for our guests. Her personal motto is : “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress – working hard for something we love is called passion.”

Ultimate Safaris - Gaynor Van Der Westhuizen

Gaynor Van Der Westhuizen

 How did your journey start in Tourism: My life path and decisions steered me into tourism, where I realized that I am good with working with people, wanting to make a difference in someone’s life and contribute to the local wildlife and cultural care. I did my research on the industry, obtaining my degree in Tourism Management in 2019 and since then my passion and interest has grown and still grows to this day.

 Personal interests: Fur babies, especially dogs. Music of all genres. Freelance dancer.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris has a dynamic group of people, from different backgrounds and that gives one a sense of comfortability and belonging.

 Ultimate Safaris holds conservation close to their hearts, where all their projects really make a difference. And what it amazing is that we all play a part in it; from housekeeping, sales team, operations, procurement and accounts, and thus why it is truly special to work here.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? The first time I visited Damaraland, it called to my heart and soul. From the scenery of geographical change to the desert adapted wildlife. I am yet to experience the more destinations of our beautiful country but for now this is the one for me. 

Ultimate Safaris - Maria Ngonga

Maria Ngonga

How did your journey start in Tourism: My journey in the tourism industry dates back to 2018 when a young girl still pursuing her career in university decided to place her studies on part time in order to look for a job and make some money whilst studying. At the time I had zero idea of how beautiful Namibia is and Africa at large but I would always hear my big brother tell me about his experience through his guiding job. So, I than landed myself a job in a tour operator as a reservation’s agent, working with people is an art I keep mastering but creating dream holidays for people that for me was crazy at the time.

 So, I than was behind the scenes of designing guests dream holidays in the process I began to learn about my own country through research, pictures, and presentations at large and so my love for tourism began to a point that I promised myself to tour around Namibia and Africa at large. Thus far through the love I developed during my exposure in the tourism industry I managed to travel to South Africa, Botswana and Angola and still counting. I am yet to travel Namibia flat regardless of the industry I will find myself in one day the passion has been established and it shall live with me forever and travelling will never cease from my heart.  

 Personal interests: Baking, Reading the word (Bible), books, dancing, listening to music & podcasts, spending time with my family and hosting events.

 Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Working with people from different backgrounds and personalities, and the passion to enrich lives through the journeys they offer, is a privilege to be a part of such a team & lastly Ultimate Safaris holds conservation close to their hearts and what better way than being a part of such a prestigious company.

 Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? I Haven’t travelled Namibia yet (at least not the places I want to visit) but from the work I do Sossuvlei is my favorite and part of my bucket list because of its beautiful scenery and the red dunes.

Ultimate Safaris - Swenja de Vos

Swenja de Vos

Swenja hadn’t ever really thought about venturing into the tourism industry as a possible career option until she did a short stint after school working as receptionist at a tour operator. This quickly ignited an enthusiasm to make tourism her chosen calling and she started to develop a career in the industry in 2007, going on to specialize in arranging self-drive FIT tours.   She believes tourism is now exactly where she belongs and, as a Namibian, she loves nothing more than being able to present her lovely country, with its amazing landscape and wildlife, to the rest of the world. Etosha National Park is her favourite place in Namibia as this is where her she found her passion and started a love affair with elephants which was ignited when she had her first encounter with a baby elephant playing at a waterhole while her mother was drinking there.

 Swenja has travelled to most areas in Namibia, apart from the Kaokoland and the Fish River Canyon which she’s planning to visit as soon as she can. She has also explored parts the Okavango Delta in Botswana, as well as visiting Victoria Falls. Swenja is often called “Smiley” because she smiles and laughs a lot, having fun whilst being highly driven to offer nothing but the best service to her clients. She is very determined and extremely conscientious, and she almost always manages to maintain that heart-warming smile.

Ultimate Safaris - Tatiana Malewski

Tatiana Malewski

How did your journey start in Tourism:I grew up in Namibia, travelling the country with my family every chance we got, and after I graduated from school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or my career and so I saw great opportunity to do a course in Marine and Coastal Tour Guiding along the east coast of South Africa for my gap year. Diving, snorkeling and hiking – it was incredible!

 Some months down the line, I had my Marine FGASA qualification and fell in love with tourism, the ocean and sharing information about nature and all it’s secrets.

 I moved back to Namibia to rejoin my family and with a wealth of knowledge of Namibia from personal experience, as well as having a guiding qualification behind me, I decided to share our special country with the rest of the world.

 Personal interests:Conservation initiatives and projects, yoga, hiking, birding and painting.

Why I enjoy working at Ultimate Safaris: Working at Ultimate Safaris means working with a variety of unique and special individuals with whom you’d never encounter on a normal basis. People that become family – become a tribe and share a passion unmeasurable to anyone for tourism and for the conservation of some of the most pristine wilderness areas on earth.  

 We are dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life of the communities who live in and around pristine areas, and have a registered non-profit organization called the Conservation Travel Foundation which supports these ideals.

 Our tribe has a deep understanding of all the areas in which we operate and we endorse responsible tourism principles that support and promote conservation and development initiatives.

 Being part of Ultimate Safaris gives me a sense of accomplishment, giving back, and knowing that what we do doesn’t only benefit us, it benefits our country.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? I love every part of Namibia – every area boasting something unique and special that you can’t find elsewhere. To choose one single destination is truly a tough one, but I find myself gravitating towards the NamibRand Nature Reserve – home to the oldest desert in the world and also known as the ‘dark sky reserve’ where the sky at night is so spectacular and so vast that you suddenly have this feeling that we are but a mere spot in the universe.

 I have visited NamibRand more times than I can count, and I never get tired of the stunning dunes, the incredible survival and thriving flora and fauna in the middle of the desert. My absolute favourite part is the start and end to a new day – the colours as the sun rises or sets are so different every day, so magical and so special to witness. Serenity.

 

 

 

Ultimate Safaris - Tamsyn Jacobs

Tamsyn Jacobs

Ultimate Safaris - Vonesa Shivute

Vonesa Shivute


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Ultimate Safaris is privileged to be able to operate in pristine wilderness areas. We believe that the future of the environment and the natural inhabitants of these regions lies in the hands of the communities living there, and that this means they must be involved in the custodianship of their surroundings. The Conservation Travel Foundation is Ultimate Safaris’ registered non-profit organisation and it fully supports these ideals.

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