Field guides fly like butterflies
As part of the United Kingdom’s Africa Prosperity Fund Programme, the British High Commission donated N$94,359 to help improve the quality of Namibian field guides thereby boosting the tourism contribution to the economy. The funds were used to train field guides to officially become trainers and to construct facilities at the proposed centre which is run by African Monarch Training School.
Speaking at the event, British High Commissioner Marianne Young congratulated the first trainees and said, “Through enhancing the skills and abilities of Namibian field guides we strive to ensure a top notch experience for British and other visitors to this beautiful country”.
The training programme is based on the newly created Namibian Unit Standards. The students were taken through the knowledge and skills required for planning and conducting a guided excursion with tourists. The candidates were instructed about the guiding industry in Namibia and the legal framework within which it operates. They learnt about understanding the client and his needs, as well as culture and being sensitive to cultural differences. Learners were equipped with the understanding to deal with conflict, and ways to resolve conflict where it arises on a tour.
Much emphasis is placed on the skill of dealing with potentially dangerous animals, and the importance of guiding safety was drilled into the candidates. A significant component of the danger skill is the ability to approached potentially dangerous animals, view it safely and withdraw from the scene without the animal knowing that the tourists and their guide were there.
Field trainer, Johan Fourie said “knowing how the wind is blowing, looking at what lies beneath one’s feet, making use of the available cover and planning a stealthy withdrawal is all part of the skill that is required to make a successful approach.”