DIVUNDU- Being a tour guide comes with responsibilities as it requires constant moving and talking to tourists from all over the world but this is not the case for Kobus Haimbondi (49) who has been in the tourism industry for more than 25 years and speaks 16 languages.
“I speak a lot of languages, I have mastered most Namibian languages. I don’t count English because it’s a mother tongue just like Afrikaans. The international languages I can speak are German and French but locally I know Khoe-Khoegowab, Otjiherero (mother tongue), Rukwangali, Mbukushu, Nyemba, Sifwe, Subia, Silozi and other Kavango and Zambezi lingos and some Oshiwambo vernaculars as well,” elaborated Haimbondi.
Haimbondi said from the age of three, he was taken in by a white farmer who exposed him to animals hence the love for them, tourism and learning new languages took him on a rollercoaster which later introduced him to different people from all walks of life and a bright future at the Namibian Wildlife Resort as a tour guide.
“It has always been my dream to work for the NWR. I have worked at other lodges before coming here five years ago because of my love for animals due to growing up at a farm with this father who taught me a lot of things about animals,” stated Haimbondi.
He brushed off the misconception about wild animals being dangerous and said there is no dangerous part about being a tour guide as long as people use their minds or brains. “Use your brain, it’s not difficult or dangerous. The moment you don’t use your mind, you put those you are guiding and yourself in grave danger,” explained Haimbondi as he was driving through a herd of elephants in the Mahango area.
He said as a tour guide, he has specialised in learning animal behaviours. “Elephants are smart creatures, if you don’t provoke them- they won’t do you any harm. The same applies with lions that I see here it’s simple, don’t provoke them. I drive around, touring with my guests, I stop close enough to where these animals are and I proceed, without causing any commotion,” whispered Haimbondi pointing at Cape Buffalos as they started galloping into the bushes.
What excites him about his job is contentment. “You have no idea but I am happy with my job. I am much happier in my guiding job than anywhere else and I am enjoying it just like it’s your birthday and you are eating a cake, it’s that exciting,” said the jolly tour guide wearing khaki attire with a safari hat to beat the scorching sun.
The father of seven has a daughter Jacqueline Kaveripura Kapitango who aspires to be a tour guide, just like her father.
“She told me that she has seen how much I enjoy this job and she contemplated on who else is willing to take tour guiding to greater heights with so much optimism and eventually decided to pursue a career in hospitality. I gave her all the necessary information and she got a level two certificate which will directly take her to job attachment, she could have been practising right now but Covid-19 came in between,” pressed Haimbondi, who added that just like him, his daughter’s dream and eyes are set on working for NWR.
Popa Falls Camp manager Sonja Mauha said Haimbondi is an active member of the team. “He is a good and brilliant team player, he is willing to learn even though he has so much working experience in the sector. He knows how to work around clients. The tone he has set gets us money. Having him around is an asset and his energy is out of this world,” said Mauha.