First Namibian field guides graduate

29 Jul 2013 14:20
WINDHOEK, 29 JUL (NAMPA) – The first-ever Namibian field/nature guides graduated here on Monday.
The four graduates are Edgar Naude, Felix Mbambo, JG Gericke and Listar Namangolwa.
They were trained by Johan Fourie of the Nature College - Wild Life Training of South Africa over four weeks at the Sijwa Camp site in the Caprivi Region’s Mayuni Constituency in July this year.
The Nature Guide - Dangerous Animals course covers all theory relating to the prescribed unit standards, ranging from client care and guiding principles to field knowledge, including handling of dangerous animals and basic tracking skills.
This training now enables the graduates to provide training in the same field to other aspiring field guides.
The course was offered by the African Monarch Training School, through sponsorship by the British High Commission in Namibia.
In a speech read on his behalf by Director of Tourism Sem Shikongo during the certificate handing-over ceremony here on Monday, Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga said he is pleased with the initiative of African Monarch to launch Namibia’s first field guiding school.
He said the issue of tour guides’ training and the career path of tour guides is one which his ministry supports fervently, since tour guides are a key ingredient of the tourism sector and the tourism product.
“It is their skill, commitment and acumen that make the experience of a tourist worth their while whilst visiting Namibia,” said the minister.
He expressed hope that the initiative will go stronger, and that many more Namibian field guides will be trained in the interest of promoting national tourism and development in line with the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).
The United Kingdom’s Africa Prosperity Fund Programme donated N.dollars 94 359 to the African Monarch Training School to help meet local training needs and improve the quality of education to students in the tourism sector.
Marianne Young, the British High Commissioner here, said through enhancing the skills and abilities of Namibian field guides, her office strives to ensure a top-notch experience for British and other visitors to Namibia.
“Well done to all who completed the first round of training – and let this just be the first step of many achievements to come. Dream big, achieve ambitious goals and help create a brighter future for yourselves and your communities,” she said.
On his part, Fourie said they have created a team of Namibian guides who are skilled, confident and ready to teach the next group what they have learned.
“The foundation of solid training, good skills and keen awareness of safety forms the cornerstone of a successful guiding operation. My wish is that this venture will grow to the benefit of Namibian tourism, which should always have a bright future. After all, it is the most fantastic tourism destination in the world,” said Fourie.
Danica Smith, the founder and director of African Monarch, said that for many years Namibia had to use trainers from foreign countries and had to send Namibian guides to neighbouring countries for training.
“But today, we present you with a Namibian Field Guiding School by Namibians for Namibians!” she said proudly, while thanking the graduates for their hard work.
The African Monarch Training School is affiliated to the Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality (NATH), focusing on lodge-based guiding, specialising in approaching dangerous game by vehicle, boat and on foot.
The beneficiaries were all very pleased with the opportunity to attend the course.
Namangolwa said he felt excited at graduating since the beginning of the course was tough, while Mbambo said he is happy to now be able to teach others what he has learned.
Naude said he hopes to make a difference in the local tour guiding community, and is happy that such training will now be provided by Namibians.