My Namibia – Q&A with Francois Gowaseb, guide with Ultimate Safaris

December 6th 2019  |   Interviews  |  by   Richard Smith
Elephants and zebra at a waterhole in Namibia

During part of a recent holiday in Namibia, Richard and his family spent a week exploring with Francois as their guide.  Rather than being based at one particular camp, Francois works for safari outfit Ultimate Safaris whose guides lead guests through various parts of this spectacular country.  He and Richard had a chat over a beer one evening.

Ultimate Safaris' guide Francois Gowaseb

Ultimate Safaris’ guide Francois Gowaseb

How long have you worked in travel?

Eleven years in the tourist industry, having started as a waiter at Andersson’s Camp in Ongava. Wilderness Safaris looked for potential and offered me the chance to train as a guide. I then worked at a variety of Wilderness Safaris’ camps before I resigned to complete my guiding qualification at Namibian Academy of Tourism and Hospitality in Windhoek.

Having qualified, I joined another safari company, Chameleon, as a mobile camping safaris guide, before becoming a freelance guide working in luxury camps and running mobiles for a variety of companies.

How long with Ultimate Safaris?

Three years, I joined in 2016. My uncle worked for them and made the introduction, but I still had to interview.

Top three destinations?

My most favourite is Sossusvlei for the space. The size of the dunes demands humility, and offers you the chance to challenge yourself, pushing on to make it to the top. Ongava is second. While Etosha is nice, Ongava has a better variety of wildlife. My third is the Kalahari. It’s little visited and the dunes aren’t as high as Sossusvlei, but the red sand makes the landscape very beautiful.

Magnificent scenery at Sossusvlei

Magnificent scenery at Sossusvlei

Favourite camp?

Easy, Desert Rhino Camp, a Wilderness Safaris’ camp. For me it’s all about the team and they make a stay like being with your own family. If I get a second choice, and this is for me and not guests, it’s anywhere in Swakopmund with good WiFi as I can catch up.

Tracking rhino at Desert Rhino Camp

Tracking rhino at Desert Rhino Camp

Changes seen?

Positive changes include the quality of guiding through NAT and vocational training through the Millennium Fund. The increase in the numbers of visitors is also good for the economy, but presents environmental and infrastructure challenges.

Predictions?

Investment in conservancies is great for communities through support for education and healthcare. This is likely to increase as people seek out more camps off the beaten track.

Let Aardvark Safaris help you plan a Namibian safari

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

Equally, we would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa and can help you plan a safari in Namibia. We can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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