Our Naturalist Guides are of the highest order and are considered to be the most important ingredient for providing these life enriching journeys. We hear the same praise from departing guests time and again: “Ultimate guides are out of this world!”
From Day One we have made it our priority to recruit and develop the best full time guiding team in Namibia, striving to match the ‘perfect guide’ to any given safari and thus ensuring ‘out of this world’ experiences. Our guides are all Namibian, and well known throughout the country; some of them are published writers and photographers, some are lecturers, but all are recognized Namibian personalities.
Knowledge, experience and character can be taken for granted, whilst charisma, passion and motivation combine with these traits to create the perfect guides - Ultimate guides. These are personable, engaging, caring and have a passion for travel and the world around them, thus enriching the lives of our guests as well as the people we take them to visit. Such unique individuals are a rare find indeed, and these particular individuals are dedicated to the values that make us Ultimate Safaris.
Meet our Naturalist Guides
Alpha was born and raised in the desert settlement of Uis on the edge of the Namib Desert. The town is in the heart of Damaraland and close to the foot of the Brandberg Mountain which is the highest in Namibia. As he had been surrounded by these surreal landscapes throughout his childhood, it was almost inevitable that he would want to follow a career involving nature in some form.
Alpha attended primary school in Uis, and then went off to board at the Martin Luther High School. At the age of sixteen he was introduced to guiding by his nephew, Collin, who was a mountain guide at the Brandberg. They went on a hike up to the summit of the mountain with some guests and Alpha saw for himself how much knowledge, enthusiasm, and charisma was required when dealing with visitors and demonstrating the nature of this fascinating region. This is what really started him thinking that this was something he would like to be able to do himself
Alpha received basic guide
training from Wilderness Safaris in 2007, but he only started to guide professionally
in 2012. He spent more than a year as a field guide at Wolwedans on the Namib Rand
Nature Reserve, and then moved on to join Wilderness Safaris. He worked at a
variety of camps in Sossusvlei, Hoanib Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema, obtaining
intimate knowledge of all these iconic areas before deciding that it was time
to move on from being a camp based guide and become a National guide. He
therefore applied to join the Ultimate Safaris Naturalist guiding team in order
to fulfil this objective and to broaden his knowledge of the rest of the
country, and he was successful in that ambition. Alpha obtained a certificate in tourism and
hospitality, level 2, through the Wolwedans Desert Academy, and then started with
his national guiding certification while with Wilderness Safaris
Hiking and Anthropology,
and having the opportunity to meet a very wide variety of people with very
diverse interests and experiences
I enjoy guiding
Alpha is passionate about all things to do with nature, and guiding gives him the platform to share his knowledge with others and to discover more hidden treasures of this beautiful land with people from all areas and all walks of life.
“On my first morning
game drive in the Hoanib River when based at the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, my
guests and I were very fortunate to witness an unexpected hunt by a group of ‘desert’
lions. Known as the five musketeers,
this group of young male lions became very famous in the region and four of
them eventually became the stars of a documentary film. As we watched, the lions managed to chase
down a giraffe, eventually making bringing it down right in front of our game
drive vehicle. This was real privilege to watch, and it is something that none
of those present will ever forget”
Franco was born on a remote farm on the outskirts of Gobabis in eastern Namibia and he was taken into the SOS Children’s Village in Windhoek at the age of two. He stayed here until he completed secondary school in 2002. By a stroke of great fortune, and with impeccable timing, the Children's Home was approached by a charitable institution called “Children in the Wilderness” who offered to take some of the kids out into the wilderness to experience natural wonders of their country. The group selected included a young, ambitious and eager Franco whose enthusiasm and passion for the natural world was apparent from the moment the bus full of joyful kids arrived in Sossusvlei. After being trained in basic mentorship skills, he was enlisted as a tent leader and was inspired by watching the camp guides at work. He knew immediately what he wanted to do in future and was determined to achieve this aim.
He enrolled for a four-year bachelor’s degree course in 2003 but soon realized that his passion lay with nature and being outdoors so he quit after just six months and went to join Wilderness Safaris. He worked at a variety of lodges as a local field guide and then graduated to join their overland explorations department in 2014. Franco took this experience on when he joined Ultimate Safaris as a National guide and he now lives in Windhoek with his wife, who also works for Ultimate Safaris, and their young son and daughter.
Franco started as a trainee guide in 2004, and learnt his trade at a variety of camps before being appointed as a full-time guide in 2006. He later went on to work as an advanced level guide on the Ongava Private Game Reserve, but first had to learn weapons proficiency and how to conduct guided walks in a ‘big game area’ which he did on excellent guide training courses in both Zambia and Botswana. Afterwards continued with his Namibian National guiding courses until he obtained his National Guiding Certificate in 2012.
He has worked near most of the iconic hotspots in Namibia including Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, the Skeleton Coast, and by the Kunene. While there, he gained intimate knowledge of the surrounding areas and has put that to good use since becoming a National guide. He then acted as guide on a number of exclusive fly-in safari expeditions before deciding to join the Ultimate Safaris Naturalist guiding team. He is now a full time Naturalist guide with a great passion for our remote camps.
Franco is passionate about his work and he loves socializing and meeting new people. He enjoys exercising and outdoor activities, and he has become a keen birder as well as an accomplished photographer. The combination of skills acquired over the years and an engaging personality which allows great empathy with his guests make Franco a highly-sought after private guide.
Why I enjoy guiding
Through my choice of career, I can have my office almost anywhere I like, and I also get to meet a lot of different people who are all fascinating to talk to. I always like being surprised by Mother Nature in all aspects and I really enjoy being able to share those moments with my guests - as well as being able to see their reactions. This is what keeps me motivated and enthusiastic all day and every day.
While on a drive in one of the ephemeral rivers up in
northwest Namibia, we came across a herd of desert adapted elephants. We
followed them for about twenty minutes, observing their behavior and the way
they were able to move so silently through the bush and then, as they went
through one of the salvadora bushes, they flushed out two cheetahs, a mother
and her sub adult cub. We were so surprised that we just watched them run
across and disappear and none of us thought about taking pictures. We all got
out from the vehicle shortly afterwards and we saw them walking off at a
distance with all the springbok and oryx looking at them. I decided this would
be the perfect time to have a coffee break so I laid the table with all the
goodies and all had their cups of coffee close to their mouths when, within 50
yards of us, a honey badger mom trotted with her baby in her mouth. She was
trying to relocate it and, again, we were all frozen in that moment of awe. We all
just stood there silently, watching her disappear and looking at each other,
trying to come to terms of what just happened. It was a truly memorable day
which none of us are ever likely to be able to repeat.
Jason was born and the raised in the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek in the heart of Katutura. Both his parents were part of the liberation struggle and later served in the Namibian defense force until retirement. Jason would spend his school holidays at the village in the northern part of the country with his siblings and parents where he would help with the crops in the field, carry water from the communal water pump and heeding the goats in the forest while eating wild fruits. His love for nature grew deeper after visiting the aquarium in Swakopmund for the first time on a family trip to Swakopmund. After completing high school in 2009, Jason furthered his studies at the University of Namibia and obtained a Diploma in Library and Information Science but later did not want to work in that field anymore so re-enrolled at the University obtaining his Honors Degree in Tourism Management. After moving back from the desert, He now lives in Windhoek with his son.
In 2014 until 2017 Jason worked for Eco Awards Namibia a Non-profit organization that strives to promote sustainable practices within the tourism industry as an assessor also getting to travel vast parts of the country, then moved to the Namib desert to work at Wolwedans on the NamibRand Nature reserve as a sustainability co-ordinator and later taking up additional roles as experience co-ordinator of which he started guiding as well. While in the desert he found pride and joy in having his mobile office as a land rover where he had the opportunity to show Namibia’s incredible nature to guests visiting. He felt he reached his peak in the desert and wanted a new challenge and wanted to guide country wide so now he works at ultimate safaris as a naturalist guide and being able to live his dream.
Mammals, Birding, Conservation, Soccer and Hockey
Why I enjoy guiding
I love and find pride in being called Namibian, our country has such vast landscape, wildlife and so much to see and I get to show people what Namibia has to offer.
While on a wild camping trip in the kaokoland with 8 guests in search of the desert lions. We found that one shaded area where we could set up camp. After spending roughly about an hour having lunch and chatting to guests about how we will be spending the rest of the afternoon in search of this specific lioness that has not been seen in a while by the researcher and if we find her we would be able to change her GPS collar, on the contrary the lioness was watching us since we got there from close proximity as she was lying in the thickets at our campsite, after being spotted she walked off.
Johann comes from a small town in the south of Namibia called Keetmanshoop. This is where he grew up with an older brother and a younger sister, with the bush just a stone’s throw away from town – and that is where he spent most of his time after school and on the weekends.
On completing high school, he went to the Polytechnic of Namibia to study for a diploma in Electronic Engineering. However, he was unable to renew his bursary after his first year of studies so had to leave and go out to look for a job. He started working as a trainee technician at Telecom Namibia, and then went on to become a teller at the Commercial Bank of Namibia. Fortunately, he was not satisfied with either of these professions as he felt his calling was elsewhere – and it turned out that his heart was set on being able to explore nature. The bush was calling!
Johann has a long term partner, and he splits his time between the south of Namibia and Windhoek. He has a quiet nature, and loves to share the wonders of the bush and the desert with his guests.
Johann joined Wilderness Safaris as a trainee in 2006 and he spent the next year on a variety of different training programs until he decided to settle on guiding and joined the Wilderness Safaris guiding team in 2007. He started his guiding career in the Kulala camps near Sossusvlei, later moving to Damaraland area where he worked in different camps like Doro Nawas, Damaraland Camp and ultimately Desert Rhino Camp. Over the years, he continued attending training programs with Wilderness Safaris and doing guide courses with NATH (The Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality) until he decided it was time to broaden his horizons beyond any specific lodge and join the Ultimate Safaris team of National Guides.
Johann’s vast experience in the north-west means that he is an acknowledged expert on the rare and endangered black rhinos that inhabit that region, and he has become a very valuable resource when passing on his expertise about black rhino and their behavioural patterns to the rest of our guiding team.
Astronomy, Tracking and learning more about them as well as everything in between!
Why I enjoy guiding
I like to explore and discover new things with guests while still being able to show them what it is that I find so exciting about Namibia, its environment, and its inhabitants.
On a rhino tracking expedition in Damaraland, we spotted a black rhino in the distance but, when we got closer to where it had been, we discovered that it had moved on. However, I was not prepared to give up on this so I asked one of the trackers to stay with the guests and rest, while I went on with the others to climb a small hill. This worked well as we spotted the rhino resting just a short distance off.
I kept watch while one of the trackers went back to get the guests and the rest of the team. While he was gone, I took my backpack off and sat down to watch the rhino. When I saw the rest of the group approaching the rhino from down the hill, I went to pick up my backpack in preparation for joining them. As I turned to get it, I suddenly noticed a leopard crawling towards me, and only about 25 meters away. On making eye contact, I moved my backpack across my stomach and chest to provide extra protection if necessary, and slowly took out my jacket from my backpack and raised it in order to look bigger and more intimidating.
The leopard remained in a crouched position for a while longer, then raised itself and gave me a lateral pose, showing off his impressive size and giving an intimidating growl. Seeing it was still making up its mind, I gave a “controlled” shout in order to convince it that I was not suitable prey. It eventually started to move off slowly, and then suddenly disappeared altogether.
So, the lesson I learned from this was be persistent, but to remain vigilant – especially when concentrating on a single sighting as there is nothing at all to say that what I am watching will be the only animals of interest around
Perez was born in the north eastern part of Namibia and, although his parents originated from different parts of the country, he grew up in a large family of Herero speakers. He attended Pioneers Boys School in Windhoek and left there to go directly into the tourism industry. He started work as a barman at Kulala Desert Lodge near Sossusvlei and this gave him his first exposure to the beauty of the Namib Desert – and to international tourists.
As he enjoyed learning about the desert environment and he is especially good with people, he very quickly found himself moving into the field of guiding and spent the next three years on that and constantly improving his knowledge. After that, he moved to work at CC Africa (now &Beyond) where he started as a Camp Captain setting up mobile camps ready for the arrival of guests. As before, his obvious capacity for interaction with people from all walks of life meant he quickly got drawn back into becoming a guide / ranger who escorted guests around the country.
When the programme he had been working on was cancelled in 2007, Perez worked as a freelance guide for a year then joined Ultimate Safaris in 2008. Since then he has extended his knowledge into all parts of Namibia and also into parts of neighbouring countries; he has gained hugely in experience and exposure to a wide variety of discerning visitors; and he has completed a number of the formal Namibian National guide training courses that are available.
Perez is a natural entertainer who is in great demand as many of those that have travelled with him return for a second (or third) safari – but only on the condition that he can be their guide again. Perez has great knowledge of the natural world which he loves to share with his guests, and the lively intelligence and wit that makes him a fascinating guide and travelling companion. He receives unequivocal top rating from former guests for his guiding skills and his company when travelling, and he has shown particular interest in travelling outside Namibia. He has taken several groups through the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park as well as bringing guests up from Cape Town, and dropping others in Livingstone or Victoria Falls. He is a great enthusiast who has proved to be a significant asset to the company. Perez lives with his long-time girlfriend and children, a son and daughter. He has a great involvement with his children and tries to pass on his own love for nature and the environment.
Perez started guiding at Kulala Desert Lodge and his personality ensured that he was fast tracked to becoming a full time guide. His great sense of humour and his ability to absorb a large amount of knowledge meant that he soon became head guide for the area and went off to train at Kaporota where he achieved his level 1 FAGASA qualification.
He then moved to CC Africa, where he acted as camp captain in recognition of his organisational ability and his skills in relating to a wide variety of people. He was then sent to attend a training course at Nkwazi in South Africa where he learned even more about general guiding techniques, focusing on guided walking safaris and animal behaviour. As he now had a deep knowledge of desert guiding and eight years’ worth of guiding experience, he decided to take the next step and move his guiding career onto the National level. He therefore moved to Windhoek where he took freelance guiding work that took him to new parts of the country while he worked out exactly where he wanted to settle. At the end of that he came to join Ultimate Safaris.
Perez is now one of the most sought after guides with a following of former visitors who stay in regular touch with him, many of whom return to travel with him again. In the meantime, he is ‘on the road’ and gathering more and more information, while also ensuring that he is up to date on new finds and reports about Namibia and its wildlife.
Birds, animals and nature
Why I enjoy guiding
I love meeting new people and showing them our beautiful country
out on safari as a guide you see many fascinating aspects of wildlife and
nature, but there will always be one that sticks in your mind. Mine shows the
lengths that elephants and other animals will go to in order to survive. While
driving in the Hoanib River in the North West of Namibia, I noticed elephant
tracks leaving the river bed and heading up a valley which got very narrow and
steep. I decided to follow them to see where they led and I soon got to a point
where the vehicle could go no further so I continued to follow the tracks on
foot. They went up into a ravine which shortly turned into a watershed by a
steep mountain face. The tracks continued and as I looked up, I saw elephants
on the watershed having a dust bath. I continued my way up to the watershed and
I saw the elephants had moved down into the next valley, but that was not all
that I saw. There was another reason why they had climbed this steep mountain and
left their tracks were all over the place, even up sheer cliffs that came up to
my chest. This was to chew on the Commiphora plants on the side of the
mountain. There were remains of plants everywhere, some of which had been
ripped up, chewed on and spat out. For some reason they needed to get something
from this plant into their diet and were prepared to climb this mountain to do
so. This sort of behaviour has always absolutely fascinated me.
Peter Nuugonya comes is from a village near the populous town of Ondangwa in the part of Namibia that lies to the north of Etosha National Park. He proved to be a good student when at primary school and did particularly well in science – especially Biology which he found fascinating. As a result, his big dream at the time was to become a doctor. He completed his schooling very successfully at Nehale Senna Secondary School near Ondangwa but, unfortunately, he wasn’t able to go on to tertiary education due to financial constraints.
Peter moved to Otjiwarongo in 2003 and stayed with one of his father’s relatives while looking for work. He got his first job at the local company called responsible for clearing the bushes alongside the roads and that’s where he got to learn more about calls for animals and birds – although it was also a big bonus to have grown up in the bush and learned many animal tracks as a youngster. While this was all interesting enough, Peter always kept up with friends and family in the hope of finding employment that would suit his skills and interests better
Peter got his first major break when we was taken on by CCAfrica at given a job at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in the Namib Rand Nature Reserve, on the eastern margins of the Namib Desert. He started working as a barman, but his potential was quickly recognised so he was moved to the workshop and soon started doing back-ups for the senior guides on the desert quad bike experiences offered by the lodge into the red dunes of the Namib. Right away, he realised that guiding was a career that he would enjoy, so he started to develop his guiding skills further.
After doing some assessment modules in guiding, Peter was selected to go to the CCAfrica in-house guide training programme at the Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Here he learned about wildlife beyond that found in the desert that he’d already become familiar with, and he developed a number of good core guiding skills. He then returned to work as a full time guide back at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge which is situated in one of the most scenically attractive parts of Namibia.
While working at there, he spent a lot of time with the lodge’s volunteer astronomers and developed his own knowledge to the degree that he often ran astronomy sessions to guests at the lodge using the high powered telescope that is located there. He also had the chance to visit other lodges belonging to the company, and did a trip to Botswana for three weeks in 2015, where he got to see the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, the Moremi and Savuti game reserves, thus providing him with another great chance to learn more about fauna and flora beyond the desert.
While guiding in the desert over many years, Peter had the opportunity to develop his interest in birding, star gazing, photography, and overall nature but, after ten years, he felt it was time to broaden his knowledge and move his career onto wider stage. He therefore joined a new ‘family’ at Ultimate Safaris where he had the opportunity to travel more extensively around the country and to develop his guiding skills on a National rather than regional basis. He has now become a part of the strongest guiding team in Namibia and has had the opportunity to travel to all parts of Namibia as a true Naturalist guide.
Meeting new people, Astronomy, Birding, and Desert Ecology
Why I enjoy guiding
Peter loves learning about a wide variety of subjects and thoroughly enjoys sharing this knowledge with the guests who travel with him – while also learning from them about the very different world that they live in
Astronomy has been a significant part of the experience at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge since the lodge opened, and much of the experience that allows guests to take advantage of staying in ‘dark sky zone’ is brought by volunteer astronomers from all over the world. I was lucky enough to travel around the country with a visiting volunteer astronomer on an extended tour of Namibia in 2008, and this allowed me to see the country through very different eyes and to understand why it is such an appealing destination for star gazers – especially when away from the towns and other sources of ambient light. This gave me an enthusiasm for star gazing in addition to the more normal safari interests, and I have always found that guests enjoy learning about the night skies, even if this is not something they had given much thought to before starting their safari. I have had many challenging evenings as a result, as guests’ own enthusiasm for star gazing often increases during the course of a safari and their questions become more difficult to answer. I have normally been able to rise to this challenge, but some questions require a professional astronomer to answer them and I am afraid I am not there yet...
Background: Sebastiaan was born in Windhoek, Namibia, but was raised by his Grandmother in her hometown of Berseba. This is quite a small village Northwest of Keetmanshoop. His ancestral line moved to Berseba in the mid-1850s, after they split from the !Aman. It was here that his realization and fascination with nature began.
Sebastiaan’s early scholar career commenced in Berseba, thereafter he moved to the capital city to further his primary school. He matriculated in 2001 and embarked on his first prospected career path, that of information technology which he obtained a Diploma for in 2004. His first employment opportunity came from Impacto Amusement as a Technician.
2006 was a year that brought major opportunities and experiences for Sebastiaan. It was at this time in his life when he coincidentally saw an advert in the local newspaper to join a volunteer program in South Africa (Vredendal). There was a condition to this program though, a written essay stating reasons for being an ideal candidate. In the end he was successful and chosen as a candidate to participate in a 6-month exchange program. Upon return from his 6-month hiatus, he once again stumbled upon an advert by National Youth council to join on a training offered by wilderness Safaris for 1 full week. About 25 candidates went on this training and only 8 were successful. Sebastiaan was amongst the successful individuals and this is where his official journey in guiding with Wilderness Safaris started.
As it was busy season when he undertook this posting, he felt thrown in the deep end with only having 5 days to prepare for his own guided tours. Whilst employed by Wilderness Safaris Sebastiaan was also part of ‘Children in the Wilderness’ with a few other colleagues. He still found time with his intense schedule to further his studies through NATH, a local institute. Wilderness Safaris offered exposure to their staff through this, and it allowed him to work at various camps and regions across Namibia.
Guiding Experience: In 2009 Sebastiaan started at Doro Nawas as a Guide/Assistant Manager and after 4 years of service he decided to leave offered his services on a freelance basis as both a Guide and Assistant Manager. Throughout his time guiding Sebastiaan was able to travel all over Namibia ranging from Etosha, Kunene region and Hardap region.
Hilton Hotel Windhoek was his next endeavor in 2011 with its opening. He was appointed as the Executive supervisor and later Guest Relations Supervisor, and after yet again a short 3-year service ventured into the same field but with an airline. South African airways welcomed Sebastiaan aboard as a Customer Service agent.
Realisation finally hit in 2016 when he could not see himself fitting in or conforming to the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle anymore. His heart was in nature, his passion was the bush essentially and he could not be separated from it. Sebastiaan returned to the guiding scene in 2016 as a Freelance tour guide and worked for companies such as:
Namibia Tours and Safaris, African Eagle, Sense of Africa, Lark Journeys and many others running through most Southern African Countries.
Personal Interests: The global pandemic impacted everyone quite harshly, but this didn’t stop Sebastiaan and he took this disadvantageous moment to pursue his studies in Occupational health and Safety by starting the international general certificate on a distance basis. Whenever he is asked, “What is the one thing you would want to be aside from a tour guide?”. His response is always, ‘a Safety Officer for the Tourism industry.’
Why I enjoy guiding: Guiding allows me the opportunity to get out into the country I love and share my experiences with the guests that travel with me.
Background: Usko was born in the small town of Ohangwena in the northern part of Ovamboland (North Central Namibia), where his parents have resided for many years. His family are part of the Oshivambo tribe who are primarily farmers and fall under the Kwanjama sub tribe. As a boy, he helped his parents with crops, collecting livestock from the field and milking the cows. His mother was a manager at a local supermarket, but his dad had to travel away from the village as he worked at Transnamib, Namibia’s national transport company, and he was based in Otjiwarongo on the southern side of Etosha National Park.
Usko attended junior school in Grootfontein, and this was a major shock for him as he had never had running water, electricity or a TV before, and he enjoyed them all enormously. After Grootfontein he completed his primary schooling in Okahandja where he boarded for six years, starting at the very young age of six. During the school holidays he would either head back to the village or make his way to the capital to visit family. These latter visits helped him later on as he attended the Ella Du Plessis High School in Windhoek, close to where he had previously stayed with his family
After completing school, he worked as a graphic designer with his brother for over six years. Although this was a job that could sustain him for the rest of his life, he found he was not an office person and needed to spend more time outside. He was always finding new birds and trees to learn about, and he spent a lot of time looking for a job that would allow him to do that full time. He finally got his chance when offered a position as a trainee guide at Wolwedans on the Namib Rand Nature Reserve so that is where his guiding career started. He then went on to work at a number of other lodges throughout the country until he had gained enough experience to become a National Naturalist Guide
Usko went to Wolwedans in 2009 and quickly established himself as a popular guide. He was based there for three years and quickly mastered all aspects of desert guiding. He was also able to focus on the geology of the south, the small mammals and reptiles that inhabit the Namib Desert, and some of the rare and special bird species found in this area. His time here assisted him greatly when he moved further north in the Namib Desert to work at Damaraland Camp. This camp gave him his first encounter with large wildlife, mainly the desert-adapted elephants that roam through this area. He was still able to focus on the geology of the area as that is one of his passions, but he was also able to learn about these amazing large mammals and some of the fascinating details of their behavior.
When he finished his time in Damaraland he had become an accomplished off-road driver as the result of having to negotiate his way through this stark and mountainous terrain. He then moved even further north to Serra Cafema Camp on the bank of the Kunene River where it forms the northernmost point of Namibia.
Usko spent two years there and now also had to learn how to drive a boat, to improve his birding skills, and to have his first experience of ‘cultural’ guiding. He became a stalwart in the local guiding team and was also very popular amongst the people of the local Himba community who he visited on a regular basis with his guests. He mastered the Kunene River system, where there are no large mammals but there is an abundance of bird species to be found along the river. At the same time, he also managed to complete the majority of the required courses with the Namibia Academy of Tourism and Hospitality (NATH)
These NATH courses covered a wide variety of subjects such as ornithology, flora, fauna, politics and history. With these and the experience he had picked up over the last six years, he felt ready to start as a National guide and approached Ultimate Safaris where he was welcomed with enthusiasm. He has fitted in well as an enthusiastic member of the full time guiding team, and one who invariably gets fantastic reviews from his guests. Usko is a knowledgeable, personable and experienced guide, and he is a pleasure to travel with.
Geology, plants, birds and traveling in the areas where these are found.
Why I enjoy guiding
Guiding brings me closer to nature and it allows me to share my fascination over all aspects of with the guests who come out to visit. It also allows me to meet people from all around the world and learn more about them and where they come from
When I was working at Damaraland Camp, we went out early one morning for Rhino tracking at a place called Arikana. I had four guests with me and we were lucky enough to find three Black Rhino fairly quickly, so we settled down to watch them from the thin cover of a single medium seize commiphora tree. Unfortunately, the wind changed direction and the Rhino caught our scent and decided to investigate what was behind the bush that smelled so unusual. This was all a bit alarming and we were trying to work out how close we could let the Rhino get before having to break cover. The Rhino kept coming closer, but they were clearly as jumpy as we were, and not at all sure they wanted to know what was hiding behind the bush. I told everyone to remain quiet and not move a muscle even though the Rhino were close, but one of the guests lost his nerve and decided he had to get away. Fortunately, I didn’t have to try to stop him as this was at the same time the Rhino also decided they had had enough and needed to get away too. We could hear rocks cracking under their feet as they ran off, and I looked around to see genuine relief in the eyes of those around me as they all took a deep breath and said thank GOD! As we moved away, we found the guy who had run lying flat on the ground behind a Salvadora tree with his hands firmly over his eyes. At the end this thrilling adventure we were all happy and making fun of each other, and the other guests were particularly harsh with ‘the runner’. However, it was all taken in good heart and the important thing was that no one was hurt – despite what could have happened.
Growing up in a small farming and mining town in the heart of Zimbabwe and regular father-and-son fishing and camping trips fostered an early appreciation for nature and wildlife.
Being a people person, having an inquisitive nature and the desire to travel, a post-high school diploma in tourism & business studies was a natural choice for Wilson.
After completing his studies in Bulawayo, he moved to Victoria Falls, where he did ground handling for incoming groups and individuals and gained valuable experience as a sales and marketing representative.
His love for nature led him to become a river rafting and canoe guide, but after a few years, Wilson wanted to focus more on travelling and decided to join the biggest overlanding company in Africa. He travelled through Southern and Eastern Africa for 11 years before joining the marketing and sales team.
Furthermore, he earned his badge as a Cultural and Site Guide before joining the sales & marketing team of the top Zimbabwean Hotel Group.
After meeting his wife, he moved to Windhoek, Namibia and is now working for Ultimate Safaris. This has allowed him to share his passion for the African continent and contribute to conservation awareness & efforts by playing an active part as a member of the Ultimate Safaris team.
National Park ranger training in
Zambia (GreenPop Trees for Zambia Conservation Project). Wilson is very passionate about preserving the environment & offsetting our carbon footprints.
Guiding overland tours throughout Southern and Eastern Africa
Encountered and experienced different African cultures and speaks several indigenous languages.
As the son of an education inspector,
he was encouraged to read from an early age. As a result, he loves to expand
his knowledge in various fields.
He is an avid sportsman, but first and foremost, he enjoys road trips with his wife.
Why I enjoy guiding:
Africa is such a diverse and fascinating continent. Sharing my love for this continent and making sure that my clients have the best possible experience, meeting people from all walks of life, and expanding my knowledge continuously is immensely rewarding and satisfying.
While canoeing on the upper Zambezi we encountered elephants swimming across the river. We first saw trunks and had to pull up on a ‘safe riverbank’. We let the giants swim across in peace while we watched in awe, up to date, I haven’t encountered such an amazing sight.
Why travel with an Ultimate naturalist guide?
An Ultimate Safaris naturalist guide will quickly turn a normal safari into a life enriching journey, creating a deeper understanding and appreciation for the incredible places and people that we visit. The guides are the link between our guests and the intricacies of the natural world, sharing their knowledge with enthusiasm and humour. Guests are taken on a journey through some of the world’s most beautiful wild places, encountering wildlife spectacles and engaging with age-old authentic cultures while receiving detailed interpretation as offered by our highly trained naturalist guides. Throughout this experience, they are wrapped in the warm and caring hospitality that makes us Ultimate Safaris.
A guided safari offers our guests constant access to one or more of these exceptional guides who have an intimate knowledge of each camp/lodge and area we visit. This allows them to be able to expose the relevant highlights, adding continuity and depth to your safari, and effectively tailor-making your experience. It also means that they are able to take guests to stay at less sophisticated rural venues which might not otherwise be suitable for discerning visitors. The presence of our guide adds another level to the hospitality and service that can be offered there and thus ensures that we have the widest reach of options available to us while still maintaining the standards to which we aspire.
Our guides share in a philosophy that ensures they never cease adding to their encyclopedic knowledge and this makes them lifelong scholars in the fields of their expertise. Their infectious enthusiasm, dedication, character, and in-depth knowledge of the country ensure that guests are at the forefront of real, unique and authentic experiences throughout their journey. Being native to Namibia, our guides are welcomed as friends or family everywhere they go, thus ensuring authentic and life enriching journeys. These often result in guests becoming personal friends of both our guides and the people that they visit.
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.
Rare And Endangered Species Trust
Saving the ‘Forgotten Five’, Africa’s lesser known creatures!
Giraffe Conservation Foundation
Preventing a silent extinction of one of Africa’s most threatened species!
Conserving the world’s largest population of cheetah!
North West Human Wildlife Conflict Management Plan
Finding the balance for the sake man and beast!
Desert Lion Project
Protecting the world’s only growing lion population that lives outside of a National Park!
Rhino Ranger Programme
Empowering communities for conservation through rural employments and training!
Save The Rhino Trust
Conserving Africa’s only free-roaming population of black rhino!
Care for urban orphans in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city!
Self-help initiative for a marginalized desert community!
Grootberg Primary School
Development of future conservationists by supporting education!
Namib Tsaris Conservancy
Returning the land to nature!
Doro !Nawas Conservancy
Turning the tide on joint venture tourism by improving profits for land custodians!
Conservation Travel impacting on marginalized communities!
Using Conservation Travel partnerships to effect conservation change!
Pack For Conservation
The perfect gift/donation for guests to make when travelling to Namibia!