It takes a special kind of person to trade a secure job as an attorney in the city for one of climbing out of his sleeping bag from under his truck before sunrise to get the coffee brewing before sounding the wake-up call and preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner on a camp fire.
And of after a long day navigating a convoy through desert and wilderness, climbing back into his sleeping bag only when his inspired guests have had enough of the campfire, often in the early hours of the morning.
Growing up in Namibia, Johan Swanepoel was introduced to camping and to the treasures of the Namibian environment as a child. He soon realised that an office job, however lucrative, was not for him, and that his knowledge and professional training would serve him well in the tourism business.
For some time Johan did freelance work for tourism companies to gain exposure and experience in the different sectors of tourism, before going it alone in 2006. He registered Mondjila Adventures, because by then he knew that specialised safaris for small groups of adventurous guests wanting to enjoy the wilderness and willing to explore remote destinations, was what he wanted to do full-time. Fittingly, Mondjila is an Oshiwambo word meaning ‘to be on your way somewhere’ or ‘to be on the road’.
For Johan his off-the-beaten-track, tailor-made African adventures, are designed to be more than just visits to scenic places. By limiting the number of guests, he ensures personal attention. The journey, as they say, is the destination.
Interacting with nature
Mondjila Adventures operates from Outjo, a village en route to the Andersson Gate entry to the Etosha National Park. Safaris to the northern regions of Damaraland and Kaokoland start on a farm close to Etosha. A camping site with the necessary amenities will not only be used as a departure point for Mondjila Adventures, but will be available for self-drivers on camping safaris in that part of Namibia. Fully furnished en-suite tents are also available.
Johan has developed three exclusive safaris – Damaraland, Kaokoveld and one which includes Sossusvlei and the coastal region around Swakopmund, Namibia’s first World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein and Etosha.
Johan conducted desert safaris under contract for a concessionaire for several years. With Uri Adventures, he now offers six day-adventure safaris through the desert, south of Walvis Bay.
“We are passionate about Africa and our aim is to share our knowledge of the environment with our guests. We have designed our trips in such a way that we get the most out of the interaction with nature and the wild animals. We try to provide an insight into the lives and cultures of the people of Southern Africa. Our adventures are designed around the needs and expectations of our clients.
This article appeared in the April/May ‘08 edition of Travel News Namibia.