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 - 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 - 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 - Tamsyn Jacobs

Tamsyn Jacobs

Name: Tamsyn-Lee Jacobs

Place of Birth: Oranjemund, Namibia

How did your journey start in Tourism:  My journey in tourism started back in 2008, fresh out of high school where I landed my first job at the Information centre in Swakopmund. My interest in the tourism industry grew and I was intrigued to explore more of what this industry had to offer, especially in a beautiful and diverse country such as Namibia.  I have been very fortunate to experience and learn from and in the various aspects of this industry (from working at a lodge directly interacting with guests, preparing tailormade trips as well as many years in the aviation industry as a charter coordinator).  I have now found my passion and where I belong and thoroughly enjoy working in the groups department at Ultimate Safaris.  Besides the ethos, this dynamic and ever developing company is exciting to be a part of and I love creating life enriching journeys for all my guests.

Personal interests: Travel, true crime docuseries + podcasts and all things craft related.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?  I have been fortunate to explore most of Namibia and some parts of Europe but hands down its Sossusvlei – for many personal reasons but particularly for the red dunes and the beautiful starry night skies which has stolen my heart. It truly is the best place on earth.

Ultimate Safaris - Marii Karaerua

Marii Karaerua

Place of Birth:

Windhoek


How did your journey start in Tourism:

I'm thrilled to share my journey in the tourism industry, a path that has been ingrained in my life since childhood. I have had the incredible privilege of growing up amidst the captivating landscapes and vibrant cultures of Namibia. With a deep-rooted passion for travel and a family heritage in the hospitality sector—it's a way of life.
My love affair with tourism began as I accompanied my parents on memorable adventures across Namibia, exploring enchanting lodges nestled in the heart of breathtaking destinations such as Etosha, Sossusvlei, Damaraland
and all the way to the Okavango/Chobe river. These formative experiences ignited a desire within me to immerse myself in the world of travel and hospitality, which I eagerly embrace.
I have been fortunate to witness the evolution of the tourism landscape firsthand. From witnessing the conservation efforts in Etosha National Park to marvelling at the majestic sand dunes of S
wakopmund, each encounter has shaped my understanding of the unique interplay between nature, culture, and sustainable tourism.
My passion for the tourism industry continues to grow, fueling my drive to explore new horizons and exceed expectations and it now goes without say that my Professional journey in the tourism industry and discovering the extraordinary wonders of Namibia and beyond starts here at Ultimate Safaris.


Personal interests:

·         Farming

·         Traveling, exploring uncharted places

·         Sports(Soccer,Rugby and Track)

·         Photography

 

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?

I still regard the Chobe Water Villas or Okavango area as my favorite as you enter from Kasane and get to witness all the tiny islands, river species on a boat cruise before getting to the actual destination and enjoying breathtaking views a-top a river chalet linking you to water and land, I could say was an out of the ordinary experience.

Ultimate Safaris - Katja Haase

Katja Haase

NAME:  Katja Haase

 

Place of Birth:  Windhoek, but grown up on a farm in central Namibia

How did your journey start in Tourism:

I grew up on a guest farm in central Namibia, so tourism is in my blood since childhood. 

My passion for Destination Marketing started while living overseas and while being the account manager for Texas Tourism in Europa. 

After I came back home from living abroad for 10 years, I realized my place in this world is in tourism in Namibia.  I was reintroduced to Namibian and the Tourism industry.  I worked for a DMC, exploring, and understanding all the different areas of Namibia. 

However, my love for the industry lies in the Destination Marketing part, so I ventured on to market different lodges and camps in Namibia.  With a strong focus and love for sustainable tourism.  Making a difference in Communities and conservancies is the path I walk to create an impact not only for the industry but for Namibia as a whole. 

Personal Interests:

To travel and to explore our beautiful mother earth.  I am super social person – so I love the interaction with people, learning from people and their cultures. 

Reading, cooking, photography, and writing is my creative outlet. 

Hitradio Namibia and I started a German podcast that focuses on Namibia and the stories of Namibia that need to be told.  And I absolutely LOVE exploring Namibia and meeting these amazing people that make our country so spectacular. 

Laughing – a lot and probably in some inappropriate moments. 

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?

There is just something about that rugged landscape of Damaraland and Kaokovel, that grabs my attention.  The colors, the unexpected desert adapted animals, the landscape, and the mountains.  And the rich culture of the people living there and yet you drive kilometers without seeing a soul.  Which makes finding yours so much easier.  

Ultimate Safaris - Jennifer Esau

Jennifer Esau

Place of Birth:


Swakopmund
 


How did your journey start in Tourism:  


I studied Hospitality Management and ended up doing my internship at Hilton Hotel back in 2014. I moved to reservations at a different company, but soon after discovered that what I really wanted to do was tour consulting. I became a tour consultant in 2016 and still love what I am doing 7 years later. 

 

 

 

Personal interests: Spending time with my family. I have two very busy kids. 

 


Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?


Shipwreck Lodge. It is very secluded and beautiful. It is almost like a hidden gem, not seen by many but something you really appreciate and cherish the memory of long after you leave.
 

 

Ultimate Safaris - Kelly Kleintjes

Kelly Kleintjes

Name: Kelly Tanell Kleintjes

 

Place of birth:  Rehoboth

 

How did your journey start in Tourism:  It started from a young age, while travelling with family, I enjoyed discovering new places. This sparked my interest in pursuing a career in Tourism.

 

Personal interests:  Photograph, Reading and Travelling.

 

Which is your favourite destination in Namibia and why? Swakopmund and the surrounding town. Because of the vibrant atmosphere, contrast in scenery and the various activities one can engage in. 

Ultimate Safaris - Jack Matundu

Jack Matundu

Place of Birth:

Windhoek, Khomas Region


How did your journey start in Tourism:

I attended a Tourism Expo in my final year of high school. The way they showcased tourism as an industry immediately made me fall in love with it and then I eventually decided this is the career path I wanted to pursue. I later obtained my degree in Tourism at the University of Science and Technology and started my first job thereafter. Tourism is a great industry with a lot to offer I believe everyone should get to experience something unique from the industry.

 

Personal interests:

I am a travel guru always looking forward to new adventures, reading & spending quality time with my loved ones.

 

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?

This is a very tough decision because you get to experience everything at once in Namibia. Swakopmund for its beautiful buildings built with a touch of German architecture and the cool sea breeze that helps you unwind. Sossusvlei for its big red dunes and saltpan. Damaraland for its unique desert adapted wildlife and rock engravings. It would be a lie if I said I have a favorite destination in Namibia because I’m genuinely in love with Namibia as a destination in whole.

 

Ultimate Safaris - Umuna Tjiseseta

Umuna Tjiseseta

Place of Birth:

Windhoek

How did your journey start in Tourism:

Other than the beautiful scenery, nature and attractions that captures my attention and eyes. As a kid up until now it is a tradition with my family to spend Christmas at different Etosha properties each year, because our farm is just 50 kilos away from Etosha. I grew into loving seeing animals and travelling and one day I would like to build my own lodge. I enrolled at NUST and so I officially started working towards my tourism dream.

Personal interests:

Swimming, spending time with my family and friends, playing board games, watching Natural geography, watching documentaries.

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?

Grootberg Lodge, the view is beyond amazing and the decoration, set up is breathtaking and it has wonderful activities, and the pool is extraordinary.

 

Ultimate Safaris - Stephanie Mohrmann

Stephanie Mohrmann

Name:  Stephanie Mohrmann

 

 

Place of Birth:  Windhoek

 

 

How did your journey start in Tourism:  I thank my lucky stars today, as I grew up with an adventurous family, who are keen campers and wanted to show us kids the beauty of this stunning country.  I climbed rocks, walked barefoot and stepped into many thorns, definitely ate sand and slept under Namibias Milky Way from a very young age.  My first official job was at Wilderness Safaris in the Lodge Reservations team.  After almost a decade I joined Ongava Game Reserve and then later was the Global Ambassador for the Naturally Namibia portfolio.  After taking a longish gap year of 15 months to explore different parts of the world with cruise ships contracts, I find myself now at Ultimate Safaris.  After almost 17 years in tourism in various fields, I can proudly say that the tourism industry (especially Namibia) is rooted firm into me. 

 

 

Personal interests:

Exploring our lekker planet!  Especially if this includes fitness challenges like long hikes through the 4-night Fish River Canyon. 

In my personal time you’ll find me trail running, doing yoga poses or practicing acrobatics.  A busy body needs proper nutrition, which is my other passion – to cook and share healthy food tips.

 

 

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why? 

DAMARALAND!  What a diverse landscape that has endless horizons. I was on an Etendeka hike, and when the sun set, the rays touched new horizons every minute.  We counted 11 horizons by the time the sun set.  Our eyes hurt from the endless vistas we enjoyed.  It is geographical ‘art’ that would look kitsch in a photo. The Damaraland area is also home to some of the most unique animals, that have completely adapted to survive in the harsh desert, like the desert-adapted lions, elephants and the giraffe.  Still today, these resilient survivors amaze me.

 

Ultimate Safaris - Rayne Salmon

Rayne Salmon

 Name 

Rayne Skyler Salmon 

Place of birth 

Windhoek


How did your journey start in tourism: 

I have always had a huge love for camping, i would have loved to follow in my fathers footsteps being a tour guide, but with my little girl around that would not have been possible. So i went for the next option. 

Personal interests:

Camping, rock climbing, playing billards pool, reading and taking walks in nature. 

Which is your favourite desitination in Namibia and why?

Erongo Mountains 

There are so many beautiful campsites and amazing scenery. I love rock climbing and nature walks and this area happens to be the best i have experienced. 

Ultimate Safaris - Ivan Malgas

Ivan Malgas

NAME: Ivan Cameron “Hafeni” Malgas


Place of Birth:

Okahandja, Otjozondjupa Region  


How did your journey start in Tourism:

Ivan was bitten by the tourism bug due to his love for people, vast open space, wildlife and from watching wildlife documentaries. He knew that tourism was meant for him and that he wanted to share the love for his beloved Namibia with the rest of the world.  He decided to enroll for a National Diploma in Travel & Tourism Management after completing high school and now holds an Honours Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management – elective Protected Area Management.

 

Personal interests:

Ivan enjoys the outdoors and is highly fascinated by the diversity of the fauna and flora of our country.  He likes reading and watching wildlife documentaries. He enjoys working with people as well as travelling and seeing new places. Ivan has a keen interest in Namibia’s different desert landscapes ranging from the Kalahari Desert, Namib Desert and the dry & arid Kaokoland. Ivan also has a keen interest in what makes the Tourism industry tick from marketing, policy, management, and academics.

 

Which is your favorite destination in Namibia and why?

His favourite place in Namibia is the Kaokoland/Kunene Region, because of its unspoiled & unexplored beauty, its wide-open spaces, it’s rugged and contrasting scenery from the windswept dune fields to the rocky desert outcrops and the mighty crocodile infested Kunene River. The sheer number of endemic species of fauna and flora found in the Kaokoland as another reason why this is his favourite area in Namibia. He further lists the cool coastal breeze and allure of Swakopmund as being his second favourite destination. 


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