Our Managing Director, Michelle du Plessis, recently visited Namibia with FGASA Assessor and Mentor, Mark Stravarkis. The purpose of this visit was to be present for the FGASA Professional Field Guide assessment of Francois du Plessis (N/a’an ku sê Ecotourism Collection), and the Track and Sign assessments for Francois du Plessis, Zane du Plessis (N/a’an ku sê Ecotourism Collection), and Tristan Lewis (TimBila Nature Reserve). To engage with the owners of the N/a’an ku sê Ecotourism Collection on establishing and supporting guide training in Namibia. The third part of the visit was to reaffirm FGASA’s relationship with the guiding and safari tourism industry and Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in Namibia.  

The trip went off without a hitch, Francois passed his Professional Field Guide assessment with flying colours and achieved his CyberTracker Track & Sign II, Tristan also achieved his CyberTracker Track & Sign II and Zane achieved her CyberTracker Track & Sign I. Huge congratulations to all three of you for your career achievements. All three of them show dedication and professional excellence in their approach to their careers, embodying the FGASA ethos and standing as praiseworthy examples of our Code of Conduct.   

Michelle had this to say; “ The warm Namibian people and the spectacular natural environment is the perfect welcoming backdrop for any visitor to Namibia.  Our hosts, the van Vuuren family, and management of N/a’an ku sê, went out of their way to provide an authentic experience during our visit. They strive for professionalism and excellence and are focussed on making a difference to their own team and local people. We look forward to supporting Namibia in their quest to raise guiding standards whilst making training more accessible. FGASA is also ever so grateful to Mark Stavrakis and Cameron Pearce, who volunteered their time during a very busy season.” 

Mark Stravarkis was the assessor for this trip and held each of the candidates to the highest of standards. Mark has been a stalwart in the guiding industry, with decades of experience and a clear understanding of the standards of professionalism and career commitment necessary to be successful as a field guide. Mark’s knowledge of Namibia, keen insight into the industry, and deep understanding of the guiding and tourism landscape in Southern Africa made him the ideal Assessor of choice.  

We are continually impressed by the guides in Namibia who are in pursuit of the highest standards of excellence. Not only are they warm, welcoming and generous with their time and knowledge, they are also effortless in their approach to showing true African hospitality, ethics and professionalism. We as FGASA are extremely proud of our members in Namibia and are looking forward to developing more guides within the country.