Wilderness Botswana Guides in Action

Our Wilderness guides were very busy during February, attending a guides’ training and refresher course in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. Gearing up for peak season, 58 Wilderness Private Guides and guides from a variety of camps, attended the training. Four groups at a time went into Linyanti Tented Camp for a week’s training. To ensure our Wilderness guides remain leaders in their field, the interactive training was a learning opportunity, sharing experiences and knowledge with each other. The training encouraged team-building, enhanced guest relations, and reignited their passion for guiding.

As part of our company rebrand in late 2022, Wilderness focused on what truly sets us apart – the out-of-camp experience that we deliver, with our guides being at the forefront of helping our guests discover the beating pulse of Earth’s ultimate, untamed places. One of our main experience pillars is to ensure we recruit and train the industry’s best guides, and to ensure they are experts at weaving experiences around what every unique guest wants to find and do. They create family-friendly adventures, teach guests how to track and understand the wildlife they love, and teach them how to photograph their safari. Wilderness is proud to offer this learning opportunity to our guides, and to ensure the ongoing training and upskilling of all staff across the business.    

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve provided an inspiring backdrop for learning in the pristine wilderness. Key highlights of the guiding refresher course included:

  • Updating guides’ skills and their guiding techniques. To make this extra special, we brought in a local guide from Makgadikgadi who specialises in “African night skies”, to share our African stories and traditional beliefs, thus ensuring cultural preservation.
  • Former Wilderness Guide Trainer from Zimbabwe, Benson Siyawareva, who is also now a private guide, motivated the guides and assisted with guiding techniques and ethical best practice, from his many years of experience in this field.
  • Attorney Vasco, Wilderness Botswana Sales and Private Guides Manager, covered the organisation’s marketing, and provided insight on the recent Wilderness rebrand, to ensure that everyone is in sync and understands what this means for where the company is going, and what is expected of our guides in this new era.
  • Dr Simon King and his team of medics led the First Responder training.
  • Airstrip protocols were also discussed, to ensure the safety of our guests and colleagues during landing and take-off.
  • The course also included presentations, walks and interpretation of tracks, medicinal values of plants, and grass identification.

The training course was a great success for Wilderness’ industry-leading guides, ensuring ongoing exceptional guest experiences, as well as the growth of our people.

On another exciting note, Wilderness is proud to announce an impactful guide exchange between Wilderness and BirdLife South Africa. Wilderness raised sufficient funds from their Birding Big Day in 2022 to host a guide from BirdLife South Africa on the guides’ course in Botswana.

Sifundo Gumbi from Richard’s Bay, who joined Birdlife South Africa in 2002 as a guide, travelled to Botswana to join the Wilderness guides’ course in February. He was very excited to improve his guiding skills and gain exposure to a new region. He was also interested to learn how other guides operate, and their marketing strategies. Learning about star gazing was incredible, and Sifundo is excited to share his new knowledge with guests when out at night searching for owls and nightjars.

Sifundo’s trip to Botswana was a career highlight, and he spotted over 23 new bird species. In conclusion he had this to say, “I received a warm welcome from the whole Wilderness team. I will cherish this experience for many years to come”.