15 Questions with Wilderness Guide Abner Simeon

Where did you grow up?
I grew up about 280 km from Windhoek, or let me say in the central part of Namibia. I lived there for about 14 years.
How did your Wilderness Safaris journey begin?
It actually began in 2015. I wanted to do something new in my life. A friend of mine, who worked for Wilderness Safaris, recommended that I apply for a job with the company. I gave in my CV, was called for an interview, and that was that! I have always wanted to become a guide. Each year Amarula, Eco Training and FGASA sponsor 10 people in Namibia to take part in a guiding course. I had to write and pass a test and was selected as one of the 10 people in my year. This is how my guiding started. I was based mainly at Damaraland Camp but have also guided at Doro Nawas, Desert Rhino and Kulula Desert Lodge. I am now based at Hoanib.
What do you enjoy most about working as a guide for WS?
The thing I enjoy most is meeting different people and making our guests happy. I enjoy anything new that comes my way.
What is your most memorable wildlife experience?
There are quite a few! One that I will never forget is an elephant that came to smell me while on a game drive at Damaraland Camp. It even put its trunk around my neck and took off my hat! The elephant was not aggressive but rather very curious. I was very lucky to have had this experience.
What one thing do we we probably not know about you?
That I am actually also a musician and music producer. My music production is just a hobby. I make sounds that people can dance to! I love singing. I also enjoy just having fun with friends.
What makes Namibia so special?
Once you come to Namibia you will fall in love forever. It’s so different. You will also fall in love from the first minute you start exploring our camps. I have guests returning time and again to Namibia. They keep coming back.
What do you do in your spare time?
I help out with Children in the Wilderness. I am actually a CITW mentor and drive to the different schools to teach. I also work on my music and try catch up on my sleep!
Do you have a motto or life quote that speaks to you?
As long as you are happy I am happy too… This is my life motto.
Favourite time of day in the wilderness?
I love sundowner time! I enjoy the cool at this time of day and relaxing with my guests. I also enjoy stargazing and sitting around the campfire telling stories.
What lessons has guiding taught you?
Guiding is not only about showing our guests wildlife, it’s what you offer to the guests… I guide because I love it and I love being with people. I love going out into the wilderness and exploring. It’s all about teaching. I’m here to teach my guests and they are here to teach me.
Out of our four Wilderness values, which one resonates the most with you?
Mostly FUN! I like my guests to have fun, they must leave having had a real holiday! And RESPECT – everyone needs to respect one another regardless of whether you are young or old.
Do you have a favourite animal?
My favourite animal is the honey badger because honey badger doesn’t care! He fears nothing. I wish I had a heart like a honey badger ‘cause that guy fears nothing, not even lions or elephants. He is the boss.
If you could travel to any place in the world right now, where would you go?
I would like to go to the Amazon forest. I like to watch documentaries on National Geographic and see all the species and green vegetation there, it’s so different to Namibia. It would be fascinating to see the Amazon.
Three things guests should bring to Hoanib?
Your family. Your camera. And a lot of love (the most important thing)!
What adventure is next for you?
My goal is to become a Wilderness Safaris Explorations guide. I’ll get to guide guests throughout the duration of their trip and get to see more of my country…
Photographs by Kate Collins