Wilderness Guide Development & Brand Manager – Europe
Passionate about protecting and expanding our iconic wild areas, Simon rejoined the Wilderness family in 2019. Alongside brand management, his responsibilities have grown to include guide training and development, where his focus is on skills, hospitality mentorship and guide evolution.
Simon grew up in Durban, South Africa where he spent his childhood barefoot, outdoors and on family trips to the country’s national parks. After high school he studied Lodge Management and Guiding, and guided for five years at Londolozi Game Reserve. Simon then explored Europe and North America, and spent a full year travelling in Mexico.
When Simon returned to Africa, he moved to a small village in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, where he trained community members in hospitality and tourism, while regularly sneaking into the forest to get his daily glimpse of birds and primates.
Simon joined Wilderness in 2009 as Explorations Manager, overseeing Explorations and Group Series. In 2014, he relocated to the Netherlands where he is still based. Here he joined Rewilding Europe to advance nature tourism experiences around newly rewilded areas across 10 countries, while stimulating the sustainable tourism movement in many other areas.
He felt like he was coming home to family when he re-joined Wilderness in 2019 as Brand Ambassador, supporting Sales and Marketing, as well as consumer events in Europe.
In 2023 Simon’s Wilderness role progressed to heading up the Group Guide Training team, alongside his Sales role.
Simon’s focus is on developing a group-wide Guide Development Strategy, which will improve standards and training for Wilderness guides. Working closely with Wilderness’ private guides and their partners, Simon will continue with the “Fireside” series focussing on reconnection, collaboration and motivating the guides to deliver the best possible wildlife experiences for their guests. He believes that the programme will raise the bar in Wilderness guiding standards, and give the team opportunities to learn and grow through their career in the business.
Simon is excited for his next Wilderness chapter, noting, “Wilderness is a dynamic business that has consistently grown and evolved, while maintaining its core focus to protect and expand our wild areas, as well as uplift communities and deliver life-changing guest experiences. Wilderness showcases the positive role of tourism in our areas of operation. I respect and relate to the dynamic, energetic and passionate people who work here and look forward to what the future holds for us”.