“All that remains is for you to enjoy the people, the smell of dust, the sunsets, the wildlife and all the little things that have made us so passionate about Africa. May the magic of this continent find its way into your heart – if it has not done so already.”
I guess it is sometimes nice to attach a face to a name. More often than not in our business, we end up building a relationship with the client.
Sometimes a file can grow to a rather impressive heap of communication and the process of finalising an itinerary (because we always tailor the safari) can take weeks and even months.
So if you do have the pleasure of dealing a lot with any of our team members – here are their faces.
Leander was born in Swakopmund and studied BA Arts at the University of Stellenbosch. He is married with three children and now lives in Windhoek. Leander is the owner and managing director of Naturefriend Safaris; enjoys cycling, running, hiking, and swimming. A healthy lifestyle and plenty of adventure keep him charged. “Over the years I have cycled most parts of Namibia, also taken part in some stage races both in South Africa and Namibia. I have successfully completed the desert dash (longest single-stage mountain bike race 369km through the Namib Desert) as a solo rider in 2012 and walked from the Atlantic to Sossusvlei (60km) through the dunes unassisted in 2013.” I have an incredible passion for our business – the fact that we can be creative, make people happy, get involved in conservation and community work, traveling all over Africa, experiencing loads of fascinating product – and having the privilege to work with real tourism professionals not just within our own company but all over the world “.
Anne-Mari van Wyk
Product Manager & Director
Anne-Mari was born in Otjiwarongo and grew up on a farm in the area. She studied B Com Tourism Management at the University of Pretoria and has been with NatureFriend Safaris since 2001 “I am in the privileged position to be working from home which gives me the opportunity to spend time with my two boys, my most precious gifts. I love traveling and reading. The NamibRand Nature Reserve with its red sand dunes and spectacular sunsets is undoubtedly my favourite place in Namibia. The Okavango Delta with its lush green and abundance of water and wildlife is another destination at the top of my list.”
Mate was born and raised in Windhoek and completed her formal education in Cape Town by graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Travel & Tourism Management. She joined Naturefriend Safaris straight after completing her studies in 2003. “I have travelled extensively in Namibia and during the past 10 years gained widespread product knowledge of Southern Africa. I am very passionate about selling Namibia. Namibia is a real jewel; you have to experience it to understand its beauty. Pinpointing a favourite place in Namibia is not easy, but I must say the NamibRand Nature Reserve stands out, with the barren Damaraland a close second. Nothing beats the rewarding feeling of knowing that you have been part of helping people have the time of their lives while travelling in Namibia. In my free time I am working on a new interest in amateur photography and baking.”
Lee-Ann’s journey started right after school, when she decided to study tourism and was hooked from day one! Born and raised in Windhoek, she is an industry veteran as she has been in the industry for over 14 years. She has worked for several tour operators in Namibia and has joined Naturefriend Safaris as a senior tour consultant in Jan 2014. Through her love for the industry, she has even gone and married a tour guide. Lee-Ann is married to our in-house guide Nico. “I have travelled extensively in Southern Africa; Namibia taking the biggest part. I have also explored Europe; but definitely prefer this side of the world! One of the most memorable aspects of Namibia is the warm hospitality of its people. My favourite travel moment would have to be skiing in the Alps, coming from a Desert country and having never seen snow before in my life! I am a truly devoted mother to my son and daugther, but what defines me is my passion for my homeland. When planning a Namibian adventure there is no one better to have on your team as exceeding client expectations is my passion.”
Tour Consultant (NFS & NW)
Jennifer was born and raised in Swakopmund and completed her tertiary education in Windhoek. After graduating top of her class and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management, she fell in love with the tourism side of the industry. She joined the NatureFriend Safaris team in July 2016. She also deals with the bookings for the sister companies NatureWheels (car rental) and NatureWings (charter flights). “ I have not seen as much of Namibia as I want yet, but the lovely places I have seen and experienced, I would highly recommend to anyone. Namibia is unique and never ceases to amaze me with the beauty it has to offer. I enjoy the satisfactory feeling of being able to put together an unforgettable safari for clients and accept the challenges it sometimes brings as a continuous learning experience. The result of a tour should always be a happy traveler… and hopefully a return client.”
Katja was born in Windhoek and spend most of her time in Namibia. She completed her formal education in Cape Town by graduating with an International Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management. The past 11 years Katja spent working in different lodges and guesthouses, when she decided to change her career and joined the NatureFriend Safaris team in April 2018 as a tour consultant. “I cannot sit still when it comes to sport, I joined CrossFit 2 years ago. Not only do I love weightlifting, running and hiking but also seeking the adrenaline from time to time. I love traveling not only through Namibia but worldwide. I have seen some amazing places in Namibia but there are a few hidden gems which I have not yet explored in Namibia. I enjoy traveling to the desert, as it is so fascinating how animals and plants can survive in such a harsh but beautiful environment. The sunsets are spectacular in the desert. There are no words that can really describe how beautiful Namibia is. You have to travel and explore Namibia for yourself to see the landscape, animals, and people living here.”
Marketing & Website Content
Mirli was born in Germany but spent most of her childhood in Namibia. She studied International Management and Intercultural Communication (MA) by completing an international program taking her around the world to places like Germany, Poland, China and the United States. After 10 years abroad, she has come back to work as tour consultant and marketing manager at NatureFriend Safaris. “I have a great passion for travelling. In my time abroad, I have seen amazing places all over the world. However, Southern Africa –especially Namibia – to me is still the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Which is why I decided to move back for good. Working in the tourism industry gives me the great pleasure of sharing this beautiful country with like-minded travellers. It is the most rewarding job I have had so far, knowing that the product we are selling leaves our clients travelling back home with wonderful memories in their heart they will never forget.”
NatureWheels & Transfers
Born November 1985 in the Zambezi region (Katima Mulilo), Cliff joined us in 2013. He is currently studying towards completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management and is our in-house transfer representative. He also works closely with Malory with our Jeeps, making sure the operations side is running smoothly. “I enjoy listening to music all the time and am in love with gadgets. I enjoy meeting new people and socializing. The fun part of my job is definitely when I have to drive to all the beautiful places in Namibia.”
Born in Grootfontein and a mother of three adored daughters, Pauline joined us towards the start of 2013 to manage our accounts. Pauline makes sure all money matters are up to date. As an avid farmer, her spare time is spent at the family farm in the Grootfontein vicinity. She loves working in the tourism industry. “ I enjoy playing with figures, hate them to be inaccurate and always try to stick to my deadlines.”
Nico was born in the South-Eastern part, also known as the “sheep capital” of Namibia. His journey with Naturefriend Safaris started in 2007 when he moved back to Windhoek from Wolwedans where he concluded his in-house guide training. He has since led safaris through Namibia as well as into neighbouring Botswana and Zimbabwe. Nico’s knowledge of Namibia is exemplified by his qualifications with NATH (Namibia Academy of Tourism and Hospitality). He is currently busy completing his Level 3 badge which will have him become one of the best qualified guides in Namibia. “I have a love for outdoor life and especially enjoy the south of Namibia where I find my guiding skills tested. In my free time I keep active; if not in the gym I am out hiking. One of my other interests is reading up on Namibian history and I have collected quite a selection of history books.”